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Welcome To Our General FAQs

Welcome to our FAQ page, where we provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about raising and releasing monarch butterflies. To help you find the information you need, we’ve organized our FAQs into specific categories related to our online store, products, and other services.

For more detailed information about each topic, be sure to visit our blog, where you’ll find a wealth of resources on butterfly care and conservation. And if you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, or have a question we haven’t addressed, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at We’re always happy to help!

How do you clean your cages?

Cleaning butterfly net cages after use is crucial to maintain a healthy and safe environment for the butterflies and other insects that may have been housed inside. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean a butterfly net cage:

  1. Remove Butterflies and Insects: If there are any butterflies, caterpillars, or insects inside the net cage, carefully and gently remove them and release them back into their natural habitat. Be cautious not to handle them too much or harm them during the process.
  2. Shake Off Loose Debris: Take the empty butterfly net cage outdoors and shake it gently to remove any loose debris, such as leaves, frass (caterpillar waste), or other particles.
  3. Wash with Mild Soap and Water: Fill a basin or bucket with warm water and add a small amount of mild, unscented soap. Dip a soft cloth or sponge into the soapy water and gently clean the netting, frame, and any other parts of the cage. Avoid using harsh chemicals or strong detergents that could harm the netting or any remaining residue.
  4. Rinse Thoroughly: After cleaning, rinse the butterfly net cage thoroughly with clean water to remove any soap residue. You can use a hose or a clean cloth dampened with water for this step.
  5. Air Dry: Allow the net cage to air dry completely. Hang it up or lay it flat on a clean surface in a well-ventilated area. Make sure it is completely dry before storing it to prevent mold or mildew growth.
  6. Inspect for Damage: While the net cage is drying, inspect it for any signs of damage, such as tears, holes, or bent frames. Repair or replace any damaged parts to ensure the cage remains effective and safe for future use.
  7. Store Properly: Once the net cage is dry and inspected, store it in a cool, dry place. Avoid storing it in direct sunlight or damp environments.

By following these cleaning steps, you’ll maintain a clean and hygienic environment for the next use of your butterfly net cage. Regular cleaning ensures the safety and well-being of both the butterflies and you as a caretaker.

Can the net cages be reused?

We are delighted to inform you that our butterfly net cages are designed for reuse, allowing you to enjoy countless butterfly watching experiences and contribute to conservation efforts.

To ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your butterfly net cage, we highly recommend following the provided cleaning instructions. Proper cleaning is essential to create a safe and healthy environment for the butterflies and insects that may inhabit the cage.

Here are the steps to clean your butterfly net cage:

  1. Remove Insects: Carefully remove any butterflies, caterpillars, or insects from the net cage and release them back into their natural habitat. Handle them gently and avoid causing any harm.
  2. Shake Off Debris: Take the empty butterfly net cage outdoors and gently shake it to remove any loose debris or organic matter.
  3. Clean with Mild Soap and Water: Fill a basin or bucket with warm water and add a small amount of mild, unscented soap. Use a soft cloth or sponge to clean the netting, frame, and other parts of the cage. Avoid harsh chemicals that could damage the netting.
  4. Thoroughly Rinse: After cleaning, rinse the butterfly net cage thoroughly with clean water to remove any soap residue.
  5. Air Dry Completely: Allow the net cage to air dry completely in a well-ventilated area. Ensure it is thoroughly dry before storing to prevent mold or mildew.
  6. Inspect for Damage: While the net cage is drying, inspect it for any signs of damage, such as tears or bent frames. Repair or replace any damaged parts to maintain the cage’s functionality.
How do you setup/open the net cage?

Unfolding a square zipper butterfly net cage is a simple process. Follow these steps to unfold and set up your square zipper butterfly net cage:

  1. Unpack the Cage: Begin by removing the butterfly net cage from its packaging and laying it out on a flat surface.
  2. Locate the Zipper: Identify the zipper closure on the net cage. The zipper is usually located on one side of the netting and serves as the entrance to the cage.
  3. Unzip the Cage: Start by unzipping the zipper fully. This will open up one side of the net cage and create the entrance.
  4. Unfold the Cage: Gently unfold the net cage along the creases. Most square butterfly net cages are designed to fold compactly for storage and shipping, so unfolding it should be relatively easy.
  5. Zipper Closure: If you wish to close the cage after observing butterflies or insects, zip up the zipper to secure the netting and keep the contents inside.

Your zipper butterfly net cage is now unfolded and ready to use! It provides a safe and enclosed space for observing and studying butterflies, caterpillars, and other insects up close.

When you’re finished using the cage, follow the provided instructions on how to properly fold and store it for future use.

What is the webbing in the painted lady kit cups?

The webbing observed in Painted Lady Butterfly Kit cups is a natural behavior of the caterpillars as they grow and develop. Painted Lady butterfly caterpillars (Vanessa Cardui) are known to produce silk-like threads, which they use to create webbing in their containers. This behavior is commonly observed in various butterfly species, and it serves several essential purposes:

  1. Anchoring: Caterpillars create webbing to anchor themselves to the sides of the container. This allows them to crawl upward, downward, or sideways without falling off or getting injured.
  2. Molting and Pupation: As caterpillars grow, they undergo several molting stages, shedding their old exoskeletons to accommodate their increasing size. The webbing provides a stable platform for the caterpillars to attach themselves securely during the molting process.
  3. Pupation Site: When the caterpillars are ready to pupate and form their chrysalis, they will attach themselves to a suitable surface using their silk threads. The webbing provides a strong foundation for the chrysalis to develop safely.
  4. Protection: Webbing can also offer some protection for the caterpillars against predators, as it creates a physical barrier around them.

If you have a Painted Lady Butterfly Kit, observing the caterpillars’ webbing is a natural and fascinating part of their development. It’s a sign that they are actively growing, molting, and preparing for their transformation into beautiful butterflies. The webbing is harmless and part of their natural behavior as they progress through their life cycle.

What are the yellow/brown balls in the cups with the painted lady caterpillars?

The yellow/brown balls you see in the cups with the Painted Lady caterpillars are likely the caterpillar’s frass, also known as caterpillar waste or poop. As caterpillars eat and consume plant material, they excrete waste in the form of small pellets or balls. The frass is usually a combination of undigested food and other waste materials expelled by the caterpillar’s digestive system.

Frass is a natural part of the caterpillar’s life cycle and is not harmful. In the wild, caterpillars disperse their frass on leaves and branches, contributing to the nutrient cycle in their ecosystem. In the rearing cups or containers provided in butterfly kits, the frass accumulates in one area, making it visible and easy to notice.

When caring for caterpillars, it’s essential to monitor their frass accumulation and clean the cups regularly to maintain a clean and hygienic environment for the caterpillars. Keeping the cups clean also helps prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that could affect the caterpillars’ health.

If you are using a Painted Lady Butterfly Kit, make sure to follow the provided care instructions to ensure the best conditions for the caterpillars’ growth and development. Monitoring the frass is one of the many aspects of caring for caterpillars and fostering a successful metamorphosis into adult butterflies.

How do you clean up after the caterpillars?

Cleaning up after the caterpillars is essential to maintain a healthy and sanitary environment for their growth and development. Following the instructions provided in the Painted Lady kit is crucial for the well-being of the caterpillars.

To clean up after the caterpillars in a Painted Lady kit:

  1. Use the Brush Provided: In your kit, you should have a brush specifically designed for cleaning the cups or containers. Use this brush to gently remove the frass (yellow/brown balls), their black shed skin, and any webbing that may have accumulated.
  2. Clean Every 2 to 3 Days: Cleaning the cups should be done every 2 to 3 days, or as necessary depending on the level of waste and debris present. Regular cleaning helps keep the habitat clean and prevents any buildup of waste that could potentially harm the caterpillars.
  3. Follow Detailed Instructions: Refer to the Painted Lady Kit instructions that came with your kit. They will provide specific details and guidance on how to perform the cleaning process effectively and safely.
  4. Monitor Caterpillar Health: While cleaning, also take the opportunity to observe the caterpillars’ health and behavior. Look for any signs of distress, illness, or abnormalities, and address any concerns promptly.
  5. Proper Disposal of Waste: Dispose of the removed frass, shed skin, and webbing properly. If possible, compost the frass, and dispose of any other waste in the trash.
  6. Wash Hands: After handling the caterpillars or cleaning their habitat, remember to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

Cleaning up after the caterpillars is an important aspect of caring for them during their development. Following the provided instructions ensures a successful and rewarding experience as you witness the caterpillars’ transformation into beautiful butterflies.

When should I release my butterflies?

Releasing your butterflies after hatching is a critical step in their life cycle and conservation efforts. The timing of the release depends on a few factors, including the species of butterfly and the weather conditions in your area. Here are some general guidelines for when to release your butterflies:

  1. Wait for Wings to Dry: After the butterflies emerge from their chrysalides, they need time for their wings to dry and harden. This process usually takes a few hours, during which the butterflies may rest on a flat surface or hang from their chrysalides.
  2. Check Weather Conditions: Choose a day for the release ( 1 to 3 days) when the weather conditions are suitable for the butterflies. Avoid releasing them during heavy rain, strong winds, or extreme temperatures. Ideally, a calm and mild day with temperatures above 60°F (15°C) is best.
  3. Morning or Late Afternoon: The best time to release butterflies is in the morning or late afternoon. During these times, the temperatures are usually moderate, and the butterflies have a better chance of finding food and shelter.
  4. Provide Nectar Sources: Before the release, make sure there are nectar sources available nearby. Flowers with sweet nectar will provide essential nourishment for the butterflies as they begin their journey.
  5. Choose a Suitable Location: Select a suitable location for the release, preferably an area with plenty of flowers and vegetation where the butterflies can find food and potential mates.
  6. Gently Release the Butterflies: To release the butterflies, gently place them on your hand or a nearby surface. They may take a moment to adjust before flying away. Avoid touching their wings, as they are delicate and easily damaged.
  7. Observe from a Distance: After releasing the butterflies, observe them from a distance to ensure they fly away safely and don’t encounter any immediate threats.

Releasing butterflies is a beautiful and rewarding experience that allows these magnificent creatures to continue their life cycle in the wild. It also contributes to butterfly conservation efforts and helps maintain healthy populations.

Why do I need to place a paper towel at the bottom of the net cage?

Placing a paper towel at the bottom of the butterfly net cage serves several important purposes in the care of butterflies and caterpillars:

  1. Absorb Moisture: Butterflies and caterpillars excrete liquid waste along with their frass (solid waste). The paper towel absorbs this moisture, helping to keep the habitat cleaner and drier. Excessive moisture can lead to mold growth, which can be harmful to the caterpillars and butterflies.
  2. Easy Cleanup: The paper towel makes it easier to clean the cage by trapping the caterpillar waste and preventing it from sticking to the cage’s surface. Regularly changing the paper towel helps maintain a clean and hygienic environment for the butterflies and caterpillars.
  3. Provide Traction: The paper towel provides a textured surface that helps the caterpillars move and crawl more easily. Smooth surfaces may make it challenging for the caterpillars to navigate and climb.
  4. Visual Contrast: A light-colored paper towel can create a visual contrast, making it easier to spot caterpillar waste (frass) and identify potential issues with caterpillar health.
  5. Temporary Food Source: For some caterpillar species, like the Painted Lady butterflies, the paper towel can serve as a temporary food source. Painted Lady caterpillars may eat the paper towel along with their primary food source until they transition to a chrysalis. However, it’s crucial to ensure they have access to their specific caterpillar food to meet their nutritional needs.

When using a paper towel in the butterfly net cage, make sure it is clean and free of any chemicals or additives that could be harmful to the butterflies and caterpillars. Regularly replace the paper towel as needed to maintain a clean and healthy environment for the insects.

Remember to follow the specific care instructions provided with your butterfly kit for the best results in raising and caring for the caterpillars and butterflies.


What are the black balls?

The black balls in the Painted Lady kit cup are the shedded or molted skin of the caterpillars during their various instar stages. Painted Lady caterpillars go through 5 instars as they grow and develop. During each instar, they outgrow their current exoskeleton, and to accommodate their increasing size, they shed their old skin.

The shedded or molted skin appears as small black balls in the cup, and you may notice multiple of these as the caterpillars progress through their instars. This shedding process is a natural and necessary part of their growth, allowing them to continue to grow and develop until they reach the final instar before pupating.

As the caterpillars shed their skin, they reveal a new, larger exoskeleton underneath, which is soft and pliable at first but hardens as it dries. This process is crucial for the caterpillars to accommodate their increasing size during their rapid growth phases.

What are the red balls in the caterpillar cup?

The red frass balls in the caterpillar cup are a clear indication that the caterpillars have completed their feeding stage and are now preparing to pupate. Pupation is the transformative process where the caterpillars metamorphose into pupae before becoming adult butterflies.

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