I had an anonymous comment on yesterday's blog:
"where did you get the caterpillars? From your yard? I've never known anyone to do that. Please explain!"
I bought the entire Butterfly Pavilion from InsectLore.
Initially, I had ordered this:
And this came with the enclosure, 2 cups of caterpillars and whatever else was needed. (I can't remember all of it, this was a couple of years ago). However, we did keep the mesh enclosure and they do offer "refill" kits, so you can use the Butterfly Pavilion/Garden again.
Each cup had 5 live caterpillars in it. Once we transferred them to the mesh "garden" area, they transformed into chrysalis' and we watched them hatch a few weeks later. I know I took pictures of the whole deal, but I can't locate them right now. Perhaps we will get a "refill" and do our butterfly experiment again this Spring.
It was lots of fun. Out of the 10 caterpillars, we had 9 butterflies (they're called Painted Lady butterflies, so Powdergirl was close and that is an apple tree!)
We fed them orange slices and sugar water. We only lost one butterfly in the upbringing process, so we released 8 in late April.
I had my Canon Rebel XT on hand with the EF-S 55 - 250 mm IS lens to capture the release. They were slow to leave the mesh habitat, so I was able to get a few really great shots. One butterfly landed on Buddy's shoulder and hung out there a bit.
They seemed reluctant to leave us for a while. But, after a few minutes, they all flew in different directions and I hope onto happy little lives, free as the wind!