We had a wonderful time watching caterpillars and butterflies again this year.
There's a good step by step description of raising catterpillars and butterflies with photos in the blog entries from last year.
The differences this year where that it felt much easier. It was easier to know how to care for the caterpillars and what to expect at each stage.
All our caterpillars where in the big habitat this year. We didn't keep any in the tiny containers they sent with the kit. We loved watching them explore their jungle gym (sticks in the terrarium) and we knew where to find lots of thistles. These caterpillars almost completely ignored the food dishes. They just wanted to eat leaves.
Here are some pictures of a butterfly crawling out of its chrysalis.
Many of the chrysalides where on sticks or thistle leaves this year. Last year most of them were on the ceiling. There were a couple that fell to the ground. I did some research and found out it is better for them to be hanging if they are going to live. Here's how to 'hang' a chrysalis.
Heat up your hot glue gun and get a small piece of paper. We used a paper like coffee filter paper. When the glue gun is hot, have someone who doesn't startle, gently pick up the chrysalis. Our chyrsalis all wiggled like crazy when they were picked up. It feels a bit weird but don't drop it!
Put a dab of glue on the paper. When it has cooled enough to touch, but not is not yet hard (about 10 seconds for my glue gun), stick the end of the chrysalis onto the paper. Tape the paper to the lid of your butterfly container.
Be sure you know which end is up for the chrysalis! Spend a few minutes looking at the ones that are hanging. We found that they hung from the end that was a tip, and the rounded end was always down.
The flowers in the wildflower meadow weren't blooming like last year. Spring is a bit later this year. We took the hatched butterflies to a local community garden. It is more sheltered, gets sun all day, and has lots and lots of flowers. It was the perfect spot to release the butterflies this year.
Read more about raising Painted Lady Butterflies.
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