Like most parents, we are constantly on the look out for new activities to help not only entertain our curious little monkey but also to help him learn about the world around him. He already has a large soft spot for anything not human including chimpanzees, tigers and his number one pet of choice….rocks. So when we came across Insect Lore we jumped at the chance to show Gabriel how caterpillars turn in to Butterflies and it turned into a thrilling few weeks for the whole family.
Hungry, Hungry Caterpillars
Once we received our butterfly home and station we were given a voucher to reclaim our cup of caterpillars. The cup contained 5 small caterpillars including a thick layer of food. Enough to last them until they were ready to make their transformation. We watched them intently for a few days as they grew rapidly. Talk about the very hungry caterpillar! These guys ate none stop and tripled their size in only a few days. Watching Gabriel’s face of wonder as he watched the caterpillars grow and insisting on reading the very hungry caterpillar over and over was heartwarming.
Chrysalides or Cocoons
Once they had filled their tummies, and then some more. They worked their way to the top of the lid and hung upside down to form into Chrysalides. We had to try and explain this to Gabriel and make sure he didn’t knock them over. He quickly learnt the word cocoon and would show everyone who entered our house. Once all the caterpillars had turned into chrysalides we then opened the cup and transferred the lid into the butterfly net.
A few days of watching the chrysalides harden and change colour, one by one the butterflies broke free. It was a huge surprise as one minute the chrysalides were hanging on the lid and the next there was a butterfly in the net. You need to be really vigilant to see them break out. We missed seeing all 5 of the butterflies emerge despite keeping a watchful eye. We fed the butterflies oranges and a water and sugar solution that was suggested by Insect Lore.
Setting them Free
After 2 to 4 days it is required to release them before they start mating and laying eggs. So we sat out in our garden and slowly opened the net to set then free. This part was the most rewarding as we were able to hold the butterflies on our fingers. It was a memorable and rewarding moment for our son and something we will definitely be doing again next summer!
If you would like to grow you own butterflies then check out InsectLore.co.uk