CREATURE COMFORTS
COTTAGE
Fiber Art Studio Heritage Craft Gallery Educational Butterfly & Fiber Farm
ButterflyKit INSTRUCTIONS
INSTRUCTIONS FOR TEACHERS
 
So now you have the kit and the children are very excited .  There is very little to do but there are a few things to note and teachers always ask if instructions are written down.  There are some general instructions with kits.  But this is additional information that might be helpful.
 
The stage of the egg and first instar are very fragile and too tiny for the kits.  Generally you can expect to get the larvae in the second instar and sometimes the third.  
 
Included in your kit are containers with the larvae food and larvae, materials for observation and learning, butterfly food (sm container of gatorade), and a cage .  The replacement kits do not have a cage.  
 
 
LARVAE
 
The containers have the artifical diet mixed and just the right consistency and enough for 8 caterpillars in each container.  There is a filter at the top. 
 
The most important part of the larvae growth is to keep the container sterile so not to take the larvae out or remove the lid.  They have enough air and do not need holes poked.  This will dry out the food.  However, sometimes if the food is freshly made there can be a slight build up of moisture around the edge of the container for a couple of days.  So if this happens you can lift the lid slightly for about 20 - 30 minutes for it to clear .  Then close the lid.  The larvae will not escape in this time if you keep the filter in place.   Clearing the moisture helps to maintain the right consistency and level of moisturre that they need and prevent the food from getting mouldy.     DO NOT PUT THE LARVAE container IN the SUNLIGHT    This creates more moisture and mould and will cook the larvae. 
 
They will be in this environment for about 3 weeks depending on the size when you get them and the temperature.  They grow more quickly when it is warm.    Don't worry if they aren't moving .  They are just sleeping.  They get very fat and lazy.   The frass (droppings) does not need to be removed.  They usually eat from the center and do their droppings around the edge. 
 
When they are big and fat they will crawl to the top and hang upside down to form a J to make their chrysalis.   It is important not to disturb them at this time until the chrysalis is fully formed and dry.  It takes about 2 days once they start .  They are in the pupa stage as chrysalis for about 10 days.   Sometime after the chrysalis is fully formed and dry after the second day they need to be moved to the cage. 
CHRYSALIS
 
Take  the lid off the container and gently remove the filter with all the chrysalis.  You can roll it slightly to put it in the cage.  If you open up a paper clip it will have 2 hooks - one at each end.  Put one hook into the filter and hang the other end into the screen of the cage.  This time it will hang sideways instead of at the top as when it was in the container.  It doesn't matter.  Hang it so the chrysalids are facing into the cage so they won't be caught between the filter and screen.  You can clean off any silk or frass remaining so they are freely able to emerge.    
 
Put a paper towel at the bottom of the cage for any of the meconium dye they will emit when they emerge so it won't stain the cage.  You can also clean off any of the single chrysalis that may be at the bottom of the container, and put them gently on the paper towel.  It is best not to touch the chrysalis as they are VERY fragile and can get damaged easily.   You can clean them with a Q-tip and gently roll them out into the lid and place it onto the paper towel in the cage.  
 
So the only thing you have to do is to move the chrysalis from the container to the cage but this might help to do it without harming them.  
 
The chrysalis will turn black 24 hours before they emerge.  You will then know to watch for the emergence if they will let the children see it.   Most emerge at night. 
 
 
BUTTERFLIES 
 
Once they emerge as butterflies they will hang upside down to let their wings dry.  They rest for the first day.  You can put in the container of Gatorade.  Poke a hole in the top and put it in the cage on the paper towel.  You can also put in lilacs if they are out or fruit like cantelope or orange.    Now butterflies LOVE SUNLIGHT.  They will bask in it and exercise their wings, so you can put the cage with the butterflies into the sunlight.   You can keep them for a good 2 -4 days if it is rainy or too cold to release them.   After that their wings get chipped on the screen.  It is best them on the 2nd or 3rd day.   It must be at least 18C and not raining to release them.
 
Ask the children to wash their hands.  The butterflies will sit on their finger IF THE CHILDREN ARE VERY QUIET and not scared.  They need to be relaxed or the butterflies will fly.  They can get a turn to hold them in the classroom.  If they fly  they will go to the window and can easily be caught.  Later in the day, you can have a little ceremony with thre legend to release them outside.  
 
Have fun and enjoy your butterflies.