Well, here we are with probably the best-known, and most widely used kit out there – the live butterfly garden kit. It is hugely popular around the world and for good reason – it’s been very successful and it’s really easy to raise butterflies with this.
Generally speaking, most butterfly kits come in 2 parts, the butterfly habitat and the caterpillars. You need to allow roughly a month from start to finish to enjoy the whole experience.
There are a number of suppliers out there who provide a butterfly kit, but the biggest seller is probably Insect Lore. They provide the Kit to the USA, UK and most of Europe, but not to anywhere else including Canada (you can buy the kit but not the caterpillars – you have been warned).
Here’s the short summary of the process:
- You receive butterfly habitat shortly after ordering
- You use the voucher you received with the kit to order the caterpillars at a suitable period
- You receive caterpillars and simply watch amazed as they quickly grow in the supplied pot with food
- Once they’ve turned into a chrysalis, transfer them to the butterfly habitat
- Wait until they ‘hatch’ and once more be amazed as the butterflies emerge
- Wait a couple of days and then release them into the wild
I’ve used various different butterfly kits, including the Insect Lore version, several times over and have always been successful every time. There’s little to go wrong and plenty to enjoy, so you can relax in the knowledge that if you buy this for children, you’re pretty well assured of a successful event. The kids will get a lot of enjoyment out of this and I know the adults love it too (as I do every time)!
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Here’s the long review version for those of you who want the detail, taken from my main butterfly site:
A Look at the Contents of Insect Lore’s Live Butterfly Garden Kit
A butterfly kit is a simple collection of items that will allow people at home, at school or anywhere else, to ‘grow’ a caterpillar into a butterfly. All you need do is supply a sugar solution to feed the emerging butterflies and a few twigs and greenery. That’s it. You get supplied with everything else you need including the caterpillars. Most butterfly kits contain caterpillars for the Painted Lady butterfly, and Insect Lore’s Butterfly Garden Kit is no exception.
Releasing Painted Lady butterflies in the USA, UK or Europe is not harmful to the environment or a threat to other butterflies since they regularly appear naturally in all these places.
What Does This Butterfly Kit Offer?
- You get an Insect Lore certificate or voucher, for ordering your caterpillars when you want them. In the UK and Northern Europe, this will generally be March to September when the climate is warmer. In other countries, you may have a little more freedom in the times you choose to raise the butterflies. Whichever country you’re in, you’ll receive 5 caterpillars with a guarantee that at least 3 will turn into butterflies.
- You get a set of instructions, in English, German, French, Swedish, Netherlands, Danish, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Norwegian. There are also 3 pages of activities for the younger user.
- You get a butterfly feeder which is basically a dropper or pipette. You will use this to distribute your sugar solution onto fresh flowers etc.
- You get the butterfly habitat, sometimes referred to as the butterfly house or ‘butterfly cage’. This is a mesh enclosure which measures approximately 25cm wide (10 inches) by 30cm tall (12 inches). The top is clear plastic with a zip for accessing the inside and for butterfly release.
Please note that when you come to redeem your Insect Lore voucher or coupon to receive the caterpillars, you’ll need to pay for shipping. This is normal practice because you can’t store caterpillars in retail boxes for months on end in the hope they will be bought! So caterpillars are sent separately when you decide you want them.
So you can redeem the coupon now, but specify a date some weeks or even months ahead. The shipping costs, payable at the time of application, are as follows :
Here’s a roundup of what you receive in the Insect Lore Butterfly Garden Kit on the following video I made:
You can also see this video of the live butterfly kit on YouTube.
What happened next? Did I receive the caterpillars OK? Did they all survive in my little pot? Read the next section to find out how my caterpillars grew.
How To Order Your Caterpillars
Using the Caterpillar Certificate or Voucher you received in the Insect Lore Butterfly Garden Kit, you can either:
- Send the Certificate or Voucher to the address shown on the certificate, enclosing your shipping payment of [UK: £2.99 or Europe: €3.49 or USA: $5.00], or
- Use the easy online form, including your ‘Caterpillar Code’, and pay by credit/debit card or PayPal. Prices are the same as the above. If ordering online, use one of the following 2 websites depending on where you live:
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Within a couple of days of your specified date, you will receive your caterpillars in a pot which has appropriate caterpillar food in it (you do not need to provide any food or water at this stage). Inside the pot, you’ll find 5 very tiny caterpillars, and often they are very tiny! So small in fact that you may not recognise them as caterpillars, so look closely!
Here’s a video taken after receiving the caterpillars in the post:
How To Care For Your Caterpillars
Well, caring for your caterpillars is really easy you’ll be glad to hear. All you need to do during this time is watch their growth! Keep them out of direct sunlight though, but otherwise, you can just observe how quickly these caterpillars grow – great for children who ‘just can’t wait’. If the room they are in gets cold at night, cover them over so the temperature doesn’t too much inside the pot. Watch how the caterpillars develop in the 10 days I had mine:
How To Move Your Chrysalides To The Butterfly Habitat
After 7 to 10 days, you should see the caterpillars migrate to the top of the pot where they attach themselves to the special mat that is inside the lid, and turn into a chrysalis. Wait for a day or two until after the last caterpillar has turned into a chrysalis and then it will be safe to remove the lid and the circular mat that is inside the lid and transfer the mat to the butterfly habitat or butterfly cage.
You need to remove all the silk that is attached to any of the chrysalides otherwise the emerging butterflies could get tangled in it after emerging. Then remove the mat from the lid.
Pin the circular mat onto the side of the butterfly habitat, around 4″ or 10cm from the bottom of the habitat. Now it’s another waiting game, but it’s quite exciting coming downstairs in the morning to see if any butterflies have emerged! On average it takes around 10 to 14 days for butterflies to emerge. Watch how I transfer the chrysalides to the butterfly habitat in the following video:
I always buy my kits from Amazon whenever I can. I’ve never been let down – the service is quick, products always arrive in one piece and the price is always very difficult to match elsewhere. So these are my recommendation. See below for country-specific products:
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