Frequently Asked Questions on Butterfly Raising Kits

Here are the answers to the commonly asked questions we’ve received over the years. Most of your questions will be below with a brief answer. However, for a more in depth understanding of these topics, please visit our blog. If a question is missing, or there is something you’d like to add, please let us know at info@monarchbutterflies.ca and we’ll be sure to add it. 

We have broken down the FAQs into specific categories based on our online store, products, and other services.

The season for painted lady kit begins at the end of April or May weather and season permitting. We begin sending out monarch kits at the end of July – September each year. 

The caterpillar food is made from ground Hollyhock, Thistle, wheat germ sugar and water.

Yes, we take pre-orders up to 1 year  in advance. You can place the order online and Contact Us and let us know when you would like to receive your order for.

Click here to visit our blog to find the instructions and in depth information on how to raise them. They can also be found on the ordering page, on our blog and are emailed to you once you place an order with us.

Our milkweed seeds have already gone through the cold stratification process so they are ready to be planted.

There are many factors throughout the life cycle process that we would love to assist you with. We go over this information depth in our blog which is broken down in categories. If there is anything that you do not see that answers your concerns, please email us at info@monarchbutterflies.ca and we will be sure to add this information on our blog.

Please click here to see the instructions on how to set up the painted lady kit. Please also visit our blog with a step by step guide on how to do so

When butterflies emerge from the pupa, the butterfly will pump a fluid called meconium. This liquid is stored in the intestine of the butterfly. When the butterfly has completed pumping the liquid into its wings, the excess is expelled. The red liquid is a natural occurrence and is part of the butterflies hatching process. 

This is normal and happens when the pupa is trying to ward off any predators or intruders that are near them. The wiggling and shaking does not harm them.

No, it is not recommended to do so. As opening the cups may introduce the sterile cups to bacteria and if hand handled the oil and salts could harm your caterpillars. We only recommend opening the cups to clean the caterpillars frass. Once they fully pupate and form the chrysalides to transfer them into the butterfly habitat.

No, the artificial diet will dry out resulting in the food not being edible. Keeping the caterpillars in their cups protects them from bacteria. If by any chance one caterpillar is sick and they are all one one cup, it will spread to the others. For the highest success rate we have placed the caterpillars in individual cups.

The entire process from egg to caterpillars takes about 4 weeks. When you receive your kit the painted lady caterpillars take about 2 weeks to reach the butterfly stage. The pupae take about 5 to 8 days to hatch.

The monarch caterpillars eat milkweed and the painted lady caterpillars feed on thistle and hollyhock. The food provided in the painted lady kit is an artificial diet

Yes, there is enough air in the cups. There are tiny holes on the lid of the cup.

When you see red frass balls, the caterpillars have finished eating and now are ready to pupate. The caterpillars will soon attach themselves to the paper lining (without your help) Do not disturb, move the cups during this delicate process for at least 48 hours to ensure the pupa have dried and hardened.

The painted lady caterpillar goes through 5 instars. Each instar it goes through the caterpillar will shed its skin. The black balls that are found in the cups are the shed skin of the caterpillar.

When the butterflies emerge and have completed pumping meconium into their wings, the excess is pumped out their abdomen. The red liquid will drip on the side and bottom of the cage. Placing a paper towel will ensure the space will not get stained with the liquid.

We recommend releasing the butterflies within 2 to 3 days after they have emerged weather permitting.

Using the brush provided in your kit, Remove the frass (yellow/brown balls) , their black shed skin and webbing in the cups every 2 to 3 days as necessary. Please see the painted lady kit instructions that go over this step in detail.

This is the caterpillars’ waste from digestion and they produce a material known as frass. Please clean the cups every 2 to 3 days as necessary.

The caterpillars produce webbing to stick themselves, or move from one area to another. In the wild they use this webbing to protect themselves from danger and to stick on their host plants. As heavy winds could easily blow them off.

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