Last Christmas, Sadie wanted and received one of those insect kits to raise butterflies. We’ve been so busy traveling and visiting that we just haven’t used the voucher to order the larvae and start the process. She recently pulled the box out of her cubby and it seemed the perfect time. So we went to www.insectlore.com and used the voucher from our box to order the larvae. We paid only shipping because the kit included the voucher but you can order and pay for a variety of insects there without the kits as well. Sure enough, 2 days later we received 5 little black caterpillar-looking larvae.
They grew like mad! It seemed everytime we walked by their little cup, they were significantly bigger to the point that they ended up greenish, brownish, fat, fuzzy caterpillars. The cup had tiny air holes and included the food they needed to get to their chrysalid phase so we didn’t do anything but watch for about a week. They made silk strands criss cross the cup and walked around on them and one day one of them attached its rear end to the paper lid liner of the cup. The other four promptly followed. That was about a week ago. We watched them change from soft and squishy looking to covered in hard, dry casings that had iridescent gold spots on them. According to the instructions, we removed the paper lid liner from the cup and safety pinned it to the lower inside edge of the net butterfly house. In the process, one of the chrysalids fell off. Yikes! I was able to gently rub the silk remaining on the top against the cup and it stuck back on.
Sadie picked the heads off of two of her potted petunias, mixed the sugar water, and dropped a few droplets on the petals. We all watched this morning as our butterfly friend extended its proboscis and drank the sweet mixture. It was visibly disturbed by our hands, our presence, and household noises. Before our bumpy drive to Austin this morning, we decided to set this one free.
We have four other chrysalids remaining. In the process, the same chrysalid that had come detached before fell again. We picked it up and examined it and could see the butterfly wings inside!!! This time it would not stick back on. I took a piece of dental floss and tied it to the silk hanging off and tied the other end to the strap on the top of the net house then zipped the zipper closed over it.
Guess what?! As I’m typing this post, that butterfly has emerged! Phew. I was kind of worried about that guy.
We are all excited to observe other insects from http://www.insectlore.com. Having read just about everything about butterflies we have gotten our hands on, it’s positively awesome to watch their transition first hand. I think any other observations may have to wait until spring weather… The nights are getting chilly here in Texas already!