Butterflies are everywhere and I don’t just mean in the garden, I mean online too. I was watching the discussions about people getting butterfly caterpillars in the blogosphere and thought that this was something I most certainly wanted to try. While my daughters have both had caterpillars, and butterflies, in their classrooms I have never watched the magical transformation. So, we hopped online, thanks to a tip from Our Feminist Play School
, and ordered our very own home kit of painted lady caterpillars.
They arrived in about a weeks time. We were so excited! We had the perfect spot for them to sit. They were as tiny as an eyelash…really tiny. I could not believe that those little caterpillars would one day be a big butterfly.
In time they ate, they pooped, they practiced spinning webs…and they grew.
Until one day we noticed one hanging from the middle of their little cup building a chrysalis…remarkable! The first time we opened the cup and saw the chrysalis I couldn’t believe what that caterpillar had built.
There are so many moment in this process that I could share. Like the Saturday when the girls and I were in the backyard and my husband started yelling “A butterfly is being born, come quick!!” or the way the one chrysalis would dance around whenever a butterfly brushed it.
On the day that we decided to release a group of 5 butterflies was pretty funny. I carefully carried the butterfly house to the backyard, opened the door and they just sat there.
Then I noticed that two of the butterflies were mating!
One butterfly jumped up and flew away.
Two butterflies refused to leave. Even when we put them on our hands and took them outside…they didn’t want to go.
So, we went back inside with 2 maters and 2 scared butterflies. A very eventful experience.
We now have 2 chrysalises hanging in the butterfly house waiting to emerge.
Who knows if they will or they won’t. We have had a great time with this project. I asked my youngest daughter, “Why did we raise these butterflies? Why are butterflies important to the world we live in?” Her answer was, “They help flowers grow. When they land on a flower they get stuff (pollen) on their feet and then they take it to other plants and that helps them to grow.” That’s right. Butterflies are pollinators, just like bees. These tiny, delicate insects are a critical part of our environment. Without pollinators there would be no flowers, no trees, no food, no clean air…nothing. So, we released 8 healthy butterflies into the world, off to do their very important job. What incredible little creatures they truly are!