faq-tips

I would like my butterflies to emerge during a specific time frame. What ship date should I select for the caterpillars?
Although we cannot guarantee a specific date for the butterflies to emerge, we can offer some suggestions. Generally, you will have adult butterflies available within 2 weeks during warmer months and 3 weeks during colder months after you receive the caterpillars.  If you want to release the butterflies on a particular weekend, you would subtract 2-3 weeks (based upon temperature conditions) from that date and select the *Monday* of that week for the ship date. For example, if you wanted butterflies for Easter Sunday on April 16, 2017 (weather is cooler), you would select the caterpillar ship date of March 20, 2017.  Or, if you wanted butterflies for July 15, 2017 (weather is hotter), you would select the caterpillar ship date of June 26, 2017.

 

Where can I find the instructions for growing live butterflies with the ClearView Butterfly Zoo?

Instructions are included with all growing kits and can be found here:

     *Step 1 sheet: Download

     *Step 2 sheet: Download

 

What conditions are best for growing caterpillars?
Place your Clearview Butterfly Zoo in a location away from direct sunlight or air vent (such as air conditioner, swamp cooler, fan, etc). Room temperature (low to mid 70’s) is best for them to grow at a steady rate. If the indoor temperature greatly varies between day and night, then place a towel over the container for insulation.

 

Do my caterpillars need additional food or water?
No, the food the caterpillars come with is all they need.

 

Is there enough air for the caterpillars to breath in the container?
Yes, caterpillars need very little oxygen because they do not have lungs. They have “spiracles” which allow them to absorb oxygen through tiny holes in their sides.

 

Can I open the Caterpillar Growing House to put a wandering caterpillar back on the food?
No, once the container has been closed it should not be opened again until the caterpillars have pupated. It is perfectly normal for caterpillars to sometimes wander away from their food usually to shed their skin or pupate. They will eventually go back to the food if needed.

 

Can my Clearview Butterfly Zoo be reused?
The zoo can be reused, however all other materials must be discarded after use.

 

Since I already have a zoo, can I order only the caterpillars?

Yes, you may order a caterpillar refill kit by clicking here.

 

What is the best time of year to grow and release butterflies?
Every area is different, but a rule of thumb is that if the average high temp is at least 60 degrees in your area, then it is suitable to grow and release butterflies. 

 

Why does it look like the caterpillars are creating spider webs inside the container?
This is silk that the caterpillars create to help protect them from predators. They like to create little pockets they can hide in. Also, it helps them climb up the sides of a smooth wall. Finally, they use the silk to create a “button” they can attach themselves to for pupation.

 

What are the little brown balls that are appearing as the caterpillar grows?
This is called “frass,” which in common terms is also known as caterpillar poop. This is a good sign that your caterpillars are healthy and eating.

 

Why do some of my caterpillars walk away from the food and just sit there?
They are most likely in the process of shedding their skin, allowing them to continue to grow. Once they shed their skin they will walk back to the food to continue eating.

 

Why are my large caterpillars walking all around the container as if they want to get out?
They are likely in the process of searching for the best spot to pupate. They like to hang from a high spot that is away from the food. 

 

Why are my caterpillars hanging in the shape of “J?”
This means they are about to pupate and you will soon have a chrysalis.

 

One of my caterpillars pupated on the side of the lid instead of the top. Is this okay?
Yes, as long as they are hanging so the butterfly can emerge.

 

All of my caterpillars have pupated except for one - what should I do?
Not all caterpillars pupate at the same time, so the best thing to do is wait and let the caterpillar finish eating. However, if the caterpillar stops moving and never pupates, it is likely the caterpillar died. This is normal and also found in nature. 

 

My caterpillars pupated and some have a little black ball attached to it – is this okay?
Yes, this is the left over skin from the caterpillar. It will not affect the emergence of the butterfly.

 

Why do some of the chrysalises wiggle?
When they first pupate, they wiggle to get out of their skin. But when you see a developed chrysalis wiggle, this is a defensive mechanism to ward off predators.

 

One of my chrysalises fell off and is laying in the food - what should I do?
Be sure to follow the instruction sheet carefully. It is important to remove all leftover food and the food stand as this will spoil and become moldy. A plastic spoon is provided to scoop up any fallen chrysalises. The chrysalis can then be placed directly on the floor in the Butterfly Zoo (pop-up cage) where it will emerge as an adult butterfly. 

 

My caterpillars have pupated, but there is a lot of silk webbing surrounding them - will this harm the butterfly?
Yes, it is very important to use the wood stick provided to clear away the silk. The butterfly needs a clear path to break out of the chrysalis and a place to hang to dry its wings.

 

One of my butterflies has wrinkled wings - how did this happen?
Most likely the butterfly was trapped by silk. This is why it is very important to use the wood stick provided to clear away the silk.

 

My first butterfly has emerged and it looks like there is blood on the floor below the butterfly - is this okay?
Yes, this actually is not blood; it is meconium, the left over fluid that helped it become a butterfly.

 

One of my butterflies just emerged - how long does it take for the wings to dry and harden?
This usually takes several hours. If it can easily move around within the container, it is ready to be transferred to the Butterfly Zoo.

 

How do I feed my butterflies?
Butterflies like sugar! The best way for them to eat is to mix a small bottle of sugar water at the ratio of 3 teaspoons per 1 cup of water. Soak a cotton ball or wadded up paper towel in the sugar water and place on a small dish in the center of the zoo. As long as it stays moist, the butterflies will be able to feed.

 

Can I breed my Painted Ladies?
Yes, Painted Ladies are very prolific butterflies. As long as you have at least one male and one female together in the Butterfly Zoo, they will eventually pair (about 3-5 days after emergence). But, they will need a host plant to lay eggs on.

 

When should I release my butterflies?
It is best to release your butterflies within a week after emergence when the temperature is above 60 degrees Farenheit, and during the time of year when butterflies are naturally occurring in the wild.