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.
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.