Hatching Butterflies to pass the time

Posted 4/11/20

Raising butterflies is a unique and educational experience that every child, and even adults, can enjoy. Around the world, people view the butterfly as representing endurance, change, hope, and life. …

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Hatching Butterflies to pass the time

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Raising butterflies is a unique and educational experience that every child, and even adults, can enjoy. Around the world, people view the butterfly as representing endurance, change, hope, and life. Not to mention that butterfly metamorphosis is a truly incredible transformation to behold, no matter what age you are. It’s also a timely activity that might come in handy for the many of us who are doing our part to flatten the curve and complying with the current stay at home orders.

Truthfully, while I had collected hundreds of butterfly eggs and caterpillars as a kid, the idea of starting butterfly hatching projects was absolutely non-exsistent, especially during my current stress-filled weeks of endless work from home while entertaining a precocious toddler.

That is, until I heard that a neighbor, who is a butterfly farmer, had many cancellations of shipments of their caterpillars due to the COVID-19 crisis. They raise butterflies for use in wedding or party releases, educational projects, and zoological exhibits. With all the cancellations, they began giving out the extras to the neighbor children who were stuck at home due to school closures, so they could watch the magic unfold.

“A baby butterfly,” my daughter could hardly contain herself, “I can’t wait until it hatches, mommy!”

We received a small green Monarch chrysalis, from, the Butterfly Farmers, last week, and my daughter was beyond thrilled. We watched it closely, making careful observations about size and color, and noting any movement- several times a day. After just a few days, the butterfly broke open the chrysalis and crawled out. Its wings were wet and folded up, and it had to pump fluids into the wings to expand them before it could fly. Then it flew off into the tree in the front yard.

“There goes the baby butterfly!” my daughter screeched with excitement.

The Butterfly Farmers have been butterfly breeders since 1993, supplying pupae and adult butterflies to butterfly exhibitions across the country. Their location, here in Hendry County, allows them to raise a large variety of butterfly species that can be bred all year round. But currently, the pandemic has put business on hold. They’ve given out the extras that they had, making quite a few local kids happy.
Our neighbors have been planting milkweed with the hope that the monarchs feel at home home outside their children’s bedroom windows. They have been journaling, drawing, and even pretending to be butterflies. Absolutely priceless moments that have come from a terrible tragedy.

If you’re hoping to try out raising some butterflies, there are countless online resources for butterfly hatching projects. Resources are available for collecting and raising local wild caterpillars and even ordering them online. Some companies are still able to ship caterpillars, even now. If you have any questions, you can visit the Butterfly Farmers at www.butterflyfarmers.com

Caloosa Belle/Danika J. Fornear: Reporter, Danika J. Fornear’s daughter, with her newly hatched Monarch butterfly.
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