Make a Butterfly House
While caterpillars are eating and growing, you’ll need to create a butterfly house. You can make one out of almost any type of container: a cardboard box, a big glass jar, a plastic tub, an empty aquarium. Look around your house or classroom to see what can be used.
GLASS OR PLASTIC
If you’re using a glass container or clear plastic tub , you’ll need to make a cover for it. The cover should let air in, but keep your new butterflies from flying out. Cut a piece of cheesecloth or wire screen so it’s larger than the top of your glass container. Secure it in place with tape, string, or a rubber band, or by bending wire screen into shape.
TRY THIS: Decorate your butterfly house with pictures and drawings of things that butterflies like. Do you know what butterflies like? Find out!
If you’re using a cardboard box, create a “window” by using some clear plastic wrap. Cut a piece of plastic wrap larger than the box top and secure in place with tape. Now turn your box so the clear “window” becomes a wall instead.
Use a pen or pencil to poke lots of air holes in the roof and remaining walls. Cut a flap on one of the walls large enough for your hand to fit through. You’ll use it to place the butterflies and their food in the box.
GOOD TO KNOW
- Frass, the little balls that will begin to appear all over the cup, is caterpillar excrement.
• Caterpillars shed their exoskeletons several times. You may see small black balls of exoskeleton in the cup or attached to the end of the chrysalis.
• Caterpillar webs are sticky and dense. They help caterpillars hang onto leaves in windy weather and protect them from predators.
• The chrysalis may quiver or tremble. This action discourages predators.
• Meconium is the reddish fluid that butterflies expel when they emerge from their chrysalises. It’s left over from metamorphosis and is not blood.
• If you have both males and females, females may lay eggs before release. When eggs hatch, try feeding the caterpillars thistle, parsley, or hollyhock leaves.