What time of year can I release butterflies? Butterflies can be released in Canada between May and October.
How warm does it need to be outside in order to release butterflies? It must be at least 16 degrees Celsius or 65 degrees Fahrenheit in order for the butterflies to fly. Anything cooler and the butterflies will want to sleep.
What kind of butterflies do you have available for release? We have Painted Ladies and Monarch butterflies. At certain times of the year we are also able to offer Red Admirals, Buckeyes and Swallowtail butterflies.
When should I order my butterflies? We like as much notice as possible! You can order any time up to thirty days before your event. We will not charge a deposit until closer to the event date. Sometimes you can get lucky and we can deliver on shorter notice.
How do I receive my butterflies? All our butterflies are shipped priority overnight courier. The Styrofoam shipping container has two ice packs inside to keep the butterflies in a dormant state for their journey. Once you receive the butterflies you will remove the lid and put the box in your refrigerator in order to keep them in a dormant state.
How old are the butterflies when I receive them? The butterflies we send are typically between three and seven day old adult butterflies.
Does releasing butterflies help replenish the butterfly population in our area? Yes, we sell only perfectly healthy, well fed butterflies. Your release group will contain both male and female butterflies that will breed naturally after being released.
When we ship Monarch butterflies to a different location do they get confused, or do they still migrate south? Scientists have studied Monarch releases for many years and in many parts of North America. By tagging Monarchs and tracking their movements, they know for sure that they still migrate on their intended route.
Why should I put my butterflies in the fridge? Putting the butterflies in the refrigerator NOT THE FREEZER ensures that the butterflies remain in a dormant state. This eliminates any undue stress to the butterflies. You will remove them about an hour before you release them to ensure that they wake up fully.
How are the butterflies packaged when I receive them? Inside the Styrofoam shipper, each butterfly is individually packaged in a triangular shaped release box.
How late in the day can I release my butterflies? Butterflies do not fly at night and should therefore be released no later than one hour before dusk. This will give them sufficient time to find a place to spend the night.
How long can I keep my butterflies in the fridge before I have to release them? Although a Monarch can stay in the fridge up to five days and a Painted Lady even longer, we recommend that they are not stored for longer than three days.
Will my butterflies remain in the area after they have been released? While we cannot predict where the butterflies will end up, when there are flowers close by, the butterflies have no reason to go far. Typically the butterflies stay in the immediate area long enough to have their pictures taken as you can see by the many beautiful pictures in our Gallery.
When will I receive my butterflies? Usually you will receive your butterflies on the day before your event, but in certain circumstances such as a Sunday release, you will receive them a day earlier. We will let you know prior to shipping the exact day that your butterflies will arrive.
I would like to release all the butterflies from one container. How can I do this? We don't recommend mass releases, but if you are going to release them from one container, the butterflies will need to be moved from their individual containers into the community container in a cool dark room. This transfer would take place one hour before their release. Also, it would be best to keep the butterflies in the dark until you release them as this will keep them calmer and will help to avoid having them flutter about and damage their wings against the container.
What kind of butterfly will the caterpillar become? They will become Painted Lady butterflies.
How long does the entire life cycle take? It takes approximately 30 days from the time the caterpillar emerges from the egg to the time they become an adult butterfly. The caterpillars your class will receive will be about five days old (in their second instar).
What is an instar? An instar is when a caterpillar sheds it's skin.
How many instars does a Painted Lady caterpillar go through? There are five instars the Painted Lady goes through, the last is when it forms its chrysalis.
What do Painted Lady caterpillars eat in the wild? Their preferred host plants are either Hollyhock or Thistle.
What is the food they come with made of? The food provided with your caterpillars is made from ground Hollyhock, Thistle, wheat germ and sugar.
How long will it take before the caterpillars go into chrysalis? It varies from one caterpillar to the next, but typically it takes between 17 and 20 days.
How long do they stay in chrysalis? They remain in chrysalis for approximately 10 to 12 days.
Does temperature have any effect on the length of time it takes for a caterpillar to go into chrysalis? Yes, the warmer it is, the faster they will go through their life cycle.
What do they eat once they become butterflies? Butterflies will drink the nectar from a variety of flowers including: Lantana, Daisy, Salvia, Marigold, Buddleia (butterfly bush), Purple Coneflower, Verbena, Common Milkweed, Zinnia and dandelion. Do not buy flowers from any store as they will have been sprayed with a pesticide. We feed them orange Gatorade . They like the colour and it's composition is not far from that of flower nectar. Simply fill a shallow container with cotton balls and pour Gatorade on top to saturate the cotton balls. Place container at the bottom of the butterfly house.
What is the red liquid that comes out of a butterfly's abdomen after emergence? The red material that comes out of the abdomen after the butterfly's emergence is metabolic waste material left over from metamorphosis.
How long does a Painted Lady butterfly live? The Painted Lady will live for about two and a half months in the wild. If at all possible, we recommend keeping them indoors for a maximum of 3 days.
How many caterpillars come in a Painted Lady Educational Kit? There are twenty five caterpillars in a kit. Each caterpillar comes in its own cup with enough food to sustain it to the chrysalis state. The lid is lined with a piece of filter paper that makes it easier for the caterpillar to attach its chrysalis.
What is the webbing in some of the cups from? This is created by the caterpillar as a protected safe zone.
Scientists have recorded a tagged Monarch butterfly to have traveled over 280 miles (450 kilometres in one day!)
Monarchs make use of the jet stream. They fly high enough to catch the flow of air heading south and fly within it, thus increasing their speed and distance traveled.
At dusk butterflies look for shelter in bushes, small branches of trees and ground shrubs.
The Monarch caterpillar will only eat Milkweed leaves.
All butterflies taste with their feet.
The Painted Lady butterfly is the most prolific butterfly in the world covering North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. The main reason for this is the large number of host plants they will use. Painted Lady butterflies will lay eggs on Hollyhock, Thistle, Sunflower, Mallow, Malva and Canola.
The Painted Lady butterfly is also referred to as the Thistle butterfly.
The Painted Lady caterpillar eats continuously for up to ten days and can grow to as large as 1-1/4 inches (3 cm) long.
Another amazing fact about the Monarch Butterfly, has to do with their taste. The Monarch caterpillar will only eat the leaves from the milkweed plant. There's a chemical in the Milkweed called * Cardenolide Aglycones, which is a type of steroid. The caterpillar ingests this, and passes the chemical onto the adult butterfly. If a Monarch Butterfly is eaten by a bird, or any other predator, it will make them vomit. The bird will avoid all Monarchs after that. The Monarch advertises its foul taste with its bright orange colour. The bright orange colour, with black veins and outer margin, warns potential predators not only of its bad taste, but also that it will make them sick. This phenomenon is called * aposematism .
There are a couple of birds that are immune to Cardenolide Aglycones, they are the Black-backed Oriole, and the Black-headed Grosbeak, who account for up to 60% of all Monarchs killed by predators. Other predators include frogs, mice, and lizards.
The Monarch is the only butterfly that migrates both north and south, like birds do. There are four generations of Monarchs each year. The first three generations live for only about six weeks each, but the fourth generation can live for as long as six to eight months.
It's this fourth generation that migrates. Starting in late August and going to mid October millions of Monarchs start their long migration to the Mariposa Monarca Biosphere Reserve in Central Mexico, with the exception of Monarchs that are born on the west side of the Rocky Mountains. These will migrate to several spots in California. Most notably Pacific Grove, and Santa Cruz.
During the migration from the north to the south (southern Canada, and the northern U.S.), the Monarch goes into a phase of non-reproduction called Diapause.
During Diapause the Monarch butterfly will migrate to its over wintering spot. Diapause will last until February or March when the overwintering is complete. Reproduction and migration north will begin the next cycle.