Monday 27 June 2011

Raising butterflies!

A couple weeks ago, after seeing most of the plants a bit down because of the change of season, I decided on renewing the plants on the flower boxes, but, when I was about to take away the pansies, I noticed it had four caterpillars living happily and eating all. I had no heart to kill them, and after a bit of thought I decided to keep them until they change to butterflies. I think it will be fun to see them grow.


Some small caterpillars from my garden

Back at my country I used to have a small "ranch" of swallowtails. Every year for sure, a bunch of butterflies used to lay eggs on the orange tree at the back yard. I would collect the newborns and bring them inside to a netting box I made, there I kept on feeding them until they turn to pupa and eventually to butterflies. Once they had become butterflies I had them in the house for a bit and then I release them in the yard. It was a small but very prolific farm were I got to have up to 32 butterflies growing at once.


These caterpillars eat pansies like crazy

I had to stop having that small swallowtail butterfly farm some years ago because I didn't have time to keep them and also because after some ants established in that tree the baby caterpillars didn't had a chance to be born there anymore. But, I enjoyed those times a lot, and I had always wanted to try again. Maybe with these caterpillars I will be able to start a new little farm. It is really cool having them growing and flying around.


Here they are on their first small feeding box

I had them on a small box and feed them the pansies on my garden, but they soon outgrow that and now I have made them a cage of their own. I also have been picking out some more caterpillars from around and now they are 15 of them. I hope most of them will make it to butterfly form. Back when I had the swallowtails I had a success rate of 100% with every small caterpillar eventually turning to butterfly, but I am not sure if these ones will do as good.


This is one of the swallowtails from back home

To be honest, I am not sure what kind they are, or even if they are butterflies at all. For all I knew they can be moths or even some crazy beetle. They do look like leopard butterflies (Argyreus hyperbius), but I can only know for sure once they hatch. Hopefully they are something nice, and I will have the chance to keep growing them every year. Any idea what they might be?


  1. I'm so impressed! I've never had good luck raising butterflies. You must be a very special person to be able to see them through their life cycle. I can't wait to see what yours will be.

  2. I have no idea what species your caterpillars might be but I think it is wonderful that you are raising them instead of throwing them out with the plants. More of us should be like you... :)

  3. I am interested to see what your caterpillars become. My day raised butterflies and moths, too, as a kid. He was very young and it was such an odd hobby that he was written up in the local news paper. There is a certain weed that I allow in my garden for one reason: the beautiful monarch lays her eggs on the milk weed. Doesn't happen often, but when it does, I have great fun watching the process. Keep us posted.

  4. A wonderful venture! I wish you 100% success and hoping they will be butterflies.

  5. Fer; you are always doing something new! Maybe you should fit mesh screens all round your balcony and make it all into a butterfly farm?

    Being a Nature lover is a compromise: I love seeing butterflies, but to me caterpillars mean damage to my crops, so I have to decide which I love most.

  6. They sell butterfly rearing kits for children here. It's magical thinking that a caterpillar canbecome a butterfly

  7. Thank you very much! I hope they grow well. I have never raised this kind before

    ann ~ It is quite a fun hobby. Back at home everybody always wondered when they went into the house and see the box full of butterflies

    Mark ~ It will be so cool to have a butterfly balcony, maybe i will try some day. I think I got lucky because they were eating the pansy that I was about to take out anyway. I don't think I would have been as understanding if they were in a different plant.
    Just the other day I got rid of some green caterpillars that ravaged all my komatsuna seedlings. Though I knew those were just dark brown moths, so I didn't care as much.

  8. Gratuluje pomysłu i życzę powodzenia. Myślę, że będą same piękne motyle. Pozdrawiam

  9. Hi. The one in the photo looks like some kind of swallowtail to me. It seems to have the right shape. We have swallowtails here too. The ones I see are primarily yellow with black stripes, the opposite of yours.

  10. Rearing catterpillars? Wow!
    I kill each of them,.....sigh....i'm not kind like you.....

  11. I love your attitude! Instead of seeing the destruction and thinking you need to throw everything out, you see the opportunity to move in a new direction. Good luck with the butterflies!

  12. This is so cute :-) Can't wait to see what kind of butterflies your caterpillars will turn into.

  13. I'm so glad you saved them!! It will be interesting to see what kind of butterflies they turn into. If you post a close up of one of the caterpillars, everyone can help you identify them. :o)

  14. Thank you very much! The butterflies are doing great, a bunch of them are all ready to go now.

    Patty ~ the one in the photo is a swallowtail. That one is from back home. The ones I have now are different

  15. That's a beautiful idea! I'm tempted to try it; thanks.


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