Breeding Butterflies: Basic Tips and Advice

Butterflies are beautiful and fascinating creatures, but have you ever considered breeding them in captivity?
Breeding Butterflies: Basic Tips and Advice

Last update: 20 January, 2020

Butterflies are one of the insects we remember most fondly from our childhood. In fact, there are even many butterfly enthusiasts out there who enjoy breeding and keeping them at home. Are you one of them? Take a look at our basic advice for breeding butterflies.

As you already know, butterflies start off as caterpillars. So, if you want to breed butterflies, you’ll need to start by taking care of the caterpillars, to make sure they undergo metamorphosis. Want to know how? We’ll tell you everything you need to know.

Top tips for breeding butterflies

In this section, we’ll discuss the most important steps. If you’re thinking about breeding butterflies, these tips should be a great help.

A well-ventilated vivarium

Who didn’t try to keep caterpillars in a shoebox as a kid, and wait for them to turn into butterflies? Remember your mom making holes in the lid? This is because ventilation is extremely important for caterpillars to develop properly. However, if you want to create optimal conditions for your butterflies, you need to take things to the next level. A lid with holes in it just won’t cut it.

Holes don’t allow sufficient ventilation, and, besides, your caterpillars could get stuck in them. As well as providing ventilation, you’ll need to line the base with dirt and grass so that they have a safe place to pupate.

Breeding butterflies: make them feel at home

The best way to ensure the survival and development of your caterpillars is to make their environment as similar as possible to their natural habitat. To do this, place plenty of plants and greenery in the vivarium, and make sure not to pick them up by hand. They grip on tightly to surfaces as they walk, and you could easily hurt them. If you want to move them from one place to another, use a twig, and allow them to climb up and down by themselves.

Another thing you should do to make your caterpillars feel at home is to give them fresh plants on a daily basis, and place their vivarium out in the fresh air where they can get plenty of natural sunlight.

Take care of them

Check on the condition of your vivarium regularly, and clean out any mold or droppings every day. This is especially important when your caterpillars start to change color, as they may be about to undergo metamorphosis.

Once they reach this stage, they’ll no longer need food or water. However, you’ll need to spray the vivarium with water from time to time to ensure ideal humidity levels.

Breeding butterflies.

Breeding butterflies: keep a close eye on the chrysalis

When it comes to breeding butterflies, this is really important. Try to make sure that the chrysalis is in an open space where the butterfly can stretch its wings when it emerges from the cocoon. Otherwise, it could damage its wings, or even die. If necessary, move the branch the cocoon is attached to – but carefully, so as not to damage it.

When the butterfly emerges…

The butterfly won’t usually eat for several hours after emerging from the cocoon, as it will need to beat its wings until they’re dry. When they do start to eat, they’ll normally eat nectar, although there are some who also like sweet fruit.

Release them into the wild

If you like butterflies, then you probably know that some only live for a day, so if you want them to thrive, it’s best to release them into the wild. Wait for their wings to dry and then offer them a finger to climb onto. You can then carry them to a flower, and leave them to live their life.

Butterflies are delicate creatures that require very specific care. If you don’t want to release them, you must be prepared to buy them a large glass terrarium so they have plenty of space to develop and fly around. So, after reading all this, would you like to breed your own butterflies?

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