For the last few years, we have been raising butterflies.  We started out with some Painted Ladies that we had ordered. They were fun, but the caterpillar’s food was premade and they were supposed to stay in the little container they came in until they formed chrysalises.

We learned how to raise monarchs and have raised them from eggs for years. Some years we have raised over a hundred while last year we only raised a few because we could not find eggs or caterpillars.

Audrey decided it was time to do more.  Last year she collected any caterpillar she could find and learned what she could about it.  She discovered the Eastern Black Swallowtail.

Butterfly on daffadilWe learned more than expected.  Ichneumon Wasps will lay their eggs in the caterpillar.  They are parasites and will feed on the caterpillar.  You will not discover the problem until you have a wasp emerge instead of a butterfly from the chrysalis.

A much more fun lesson is that these butterflies overwinter. If put in a safe place during the winter, they will emerge in early spring.  Audrey put some in the garage this winter. After bringing them inside in April, they are starting to emerge!