Step by Step Guides

How to raise a butterfly
Written by Andrea DeLong-Amaya photographs by In Churl Yo.
Adapted from Native Plants Magazine Summer 2005 VOL. 21, NO. 4.

Step 1

READ butterfly field guides to learn about native butterflies in your area and which plant species they use for caterpillar (or larval) food.


Step 2

LOOK for caterpillars on the plants in your garden. A few popular larval foods are milkweeds for monarchs and plants in the carrot family for certain swallowtails.


Step 3

PLACE a large tomato cage around the plant on which caterpillars are found, to act as a frame for your rearing cage. Make sure the cage is sturdy enough to hold up in the wind.


Step 4

WRAP screening material securely around the tomato cage so that the caterpillars are protected from predators like birds and wasps.


Step 5

OBSERVE your caterpillars as they continue to eat. If all foliage has been eaten, relocate them to a fresh plant of the same species.


Step 6

SOON your caterpillars will form a chrysalis inside the cage. Observe daily to see if your butterfly has emerged. Once itís ready, carefully remove the cage.

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