Probably the number 1 nature kit out there is the simple butterfly kit. It has a worldwide appeal and is extremely easy to set up and run. Once set up there is really nothing left to do other than watch – and be amazed.
There are a handful of different suppliers out there but generally, the butterfly kits with larvae are fundamentally the same. A means of raising caterpillars and then chrysalis and after, a means of observing the butterflies hatch in some sort of butterfly housing.
That’s it really. As I say, it’s a really simple kit and perhaps for that reason it’s very successful. There’s actually very little to go wrong, and the number of caterpillars supplied is usually sufficient to ensure you get some success with emerging butterflies.
I’ve used various butterfly kits a few times now and have never been disappointed. Let’s look at the butterfly kits that are currently available.
If you’ve ever seen a butterfly kit, it’s probably this one – Insect Lore’s Butterfly Kit. Easily the most popular out there and is most likely the one that’s been around the longest. However, don’t dismiss some of the other kits which have a different angle which you’ll see from my reviews. Insect Lore has a wide range of nature kits, many of which I’ll be reviewing.
The kit comes in 2 general sizes; small, suitable for home use, and what they sometimes call the ‘pavilion’ size, which is a butterfly kit for classroom situations as it can raise quite a few butterflies in a much larger butterfly housing. With either of these you’ll be able to keep the housing and either just buy in more caterpillars the next year, or even catch a few of your own caterpillars and do it for free.
The World Alive butterfly kit is probably not so well known. I liked this one as it bucked the trend somewhat and offered a different style of butterfly housing, but more importantly to me, it offered a different butterfly to everyone else.
Most butterfly kits provide caterpillars for the Painted Lady butterfly, but the World Alive kit provided Small White butterflies (for the European market only). That’s a very common butterfly which has a longer life span in the UK than the Painted Lady. So it was nice to see something different.
A recent introduction from the ever-widening My Living World range, featuring UK’s Nick Baker, is the Butterfly World kit. Nick Baker seems determined to introduce as much as possible from the ‘living world’, so it’s refreshing to see someone new attempting something different.
Read my Butterfly World kit review here…