Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Butterfly House is open for business

This is the new Butterfly House that my husband, Jim, built me.  It has a much smaller footprint and holds the Giant Milkweed. I had 60 caterpillars on this plant last fall. They ate it down to the last leaf. It came back better than ever.

butterfly house 4.4.11 004cs

I find it much cheaper to grow them on this plant. The Tropical Milkweed disappears in days.

I picked up a couple of Milkweed plants to collect caterpillars from. I have several in the ground but the  eggs disappear from them. One or two caterpillars survive but most of the eggs become food for something else. They don’t seem to bother the eggs on the plants in the pots as much.

I have one chrysalis in the top. It pupated on 3.29.11. A Monarch should emerge in a few days.

 butterfly house 4.4.11 006cs 

There are 9 tiny caterpillars on the Giant Milkweed.  I bring them in when ever I find one on the outside plants. Can’t believe the last 2 survived the hard rain we had a couple of days ago.

This one is just over a 1/4 inch long. You can see how much leaf it has eaten. These leaves are thick and fleshy and support a larger number of caterpillars.

butterfly house 4.4.11 007cs

I haven’t seen a Monarch in here since the female came in and laid it’s eggs. I was thrilled there were so many.  When I went back a few days later they were almost all gone. That is why I bring the caterpillars inside. 7 of the 9 that are on the plant now are eggs that I brought in…let hatch and then placed them on the plant.


  1. This butterfly house is a Big improvement. Hope you're going to tag them this year.

  2. Oh wow, how exciting. Spring is such a great time isn't it? I love all of the babies everywhere and watching them grow :o)

  3. That's amazing to me. How do you learn to do all these things? I'm sending much admiration your way.--Inger

  4. This is very interesting. That was nice of hubby to build that Butterfly house for you. Very neat.Helen

  5. Very interesting! Never heard of it before
    Cruise Picture

  6. Carol,
    Pretty cool butterfly house. Been seeing Monachs here for about a week. We grow Black Swallowtails on fennel, they never eat it all down. Last year Meg
    s second graders had 3 cages of them in the classroom.

  7. Hi Carol, That is the coolest most fabulous hobby I've ever seen! What I wouldn't give to be able to raise butterflies. Especially the Monarchs, saw so few last summer and they used to be so abundant. How does one go about raising butterflies? I would love to do that. Something to do between caring for my bees.
    ~Patricia H.

    1. If you have access to lots of milkweed...dig some up and put it in pots..once the Monarchs lay eggs on it put it in a cage similar to what I have....during the summer it takes about 9 days from egg to chrysalis...another 9 to emerge. The main this is to have plenty of milkweed for the caterpillars.


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