The quantity of food is sufficient for the number of larvae specified in the set. If you wish to maintain additional larvae, you should purchase additional food. In the wild, adult painted lady butterflies feed on nectar produced by flowering host plants. They need the sugar in the nectar to power their flight muscles. They do not require other food. In lieu of a sugar-water solution, you can also offer sports drink as a feeding solution. Painted ladies will also feed on slices of fresh fruit, such as oranges.
Students often enjoy watching the butterflies extend their proboscis to collect nectar from the fruit slices. Do not put an open container of liquid food in your butterfly habitat. A simple feeder can be constructed using a shallow dish containing some cotton balls or crumpled paper towels. Pour the feeding solution over the cotton balls or paper towels.
This gives the butterflies a place to land so they will not fall into the feeding solution and drown. Keep feeding solutions refrigerated when not in use. Replace feeding solution and the cotton balls or paper towels every other day. With proper nutrition, adult butterflies generally live for 1 to 2 weeks, sometimes as long as 3 weeks. Keep the hatching cups out of direct sunlight, which can cause overheating and kill the eggs.
Keep at room temperature. Larvae will hatch in 3 to 5 days.
10 Fascinating Facts About Painted Lady Butterflies
Newly emerged larvae are fragile. We recommend waiting to transfer them into new containers until they are 5 to 6 days old. Keep the cups out of direct sunlight, which can cause overheating and kill the larvae. The cups should not be shaken or disturbed if possible. Larvae will mature in 5 to 10 days.
To pupate, larvae will climb to the top of the cup and attach themselves to the tissue paper cover.
They will undergo their final molt and form a chrysalis. We recommend that the teacher or other adult prepare the cups before they are distributed to students. Wash your hands well and dry them before beginning. Use a clean plastic spoon to transfer 1 level tsp of food into each 1-oz cup. Lightly press the food to the bottom to create a good seal.
If you overfill the cups, you will run out of food, or there will not be enough space for the larvae to pupate. Use a small brush to transfer 1 larvae to each cup. If you have extra larvae that you would like to keep, cups can accommodate a maximum of 2 larvae if prepared under the conditions described above. Place a piece of tissue paper over the mouth of the cup and snap on the lid. Trim the excess paper. Larvae mature in 5 to 10 days.
Keep the chrysalides out of direct sunlight, which can cause overheating and kill the organisms. The chrysalides should not be shaken or disturbed. Adult butterflies should emerge in 7 to 10 days.
Your female butterflies may lay eggs 5 to 7 days after emerging. Look for pinhead-sized, mint-green dots. If you place a potted plant in the cage, the females will deposit most of their eggs onto the leaves. Fertile eggs hatch in 3 to 5 days. Painted lady eggs can be collected with a soft brush. We do not advocate the release of organisms into the environment.
Please contact your local state Department of Agriculture for any restrictions on release of organisms. As a last resort, place unwanted organisms in a sealable container and freeze for 48 hours.
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Dispose of the organisms in the regular solid waste. Wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling living organisms.
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Probably not. Caterpillars often rest for hours at a time, especially just before molting. To see if a caterpillar is alive, open the cup and gently touch the caterpillar with the tip of a soft brush. This should cause the caterpillar to move, if only slightly. It is best not to open the cup until you are ready to move the chrysalides into the flight cage.
Harmful salts and oils from your hands can transfer to the caterpillars during handling.
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Opening the cup can also allow bacteria or mold to enter, which could spoil the food. There are several possibilities; the most common is low temperature at night and over the weekend. Also, the caterpillars may be preparing to molt. The caterpillars have a bacterial infection that will kill them. Contact Carolina Customer Service Discard all infected caterpillars. Also discard equipment that had contact with them or treat the equipment with a bleach solution 1 part bleach in 9 parts water and rinse well before reusing.
The caterpillars are so hungry that they are eating away the paper at the top of the cup. The caterpillars chew the paper to move beyond the cup because they are responding to an instinctive urge to disperse before molting into a chrysalis. Few caterpillars engage in this interesting behavior pattern. If it becomes a problem, clean and dry your hands, then remove the old paper and replace it with a fresh piece of tissue paper.
Avoid papers that contain perfumes or lotions.
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You will not have to replace the paper again; the caterpillars are too close to molting to eat through another piece. There should be some tiny holes punched in it. If not, punch 3 to 5 holes in it with a push pin. The caterpillars do not need much air. In fact, too much air causes their food to become dry and inedible. My butterflies just emerged and there is red liquid all over.
Painted lady show points to a glorious late summer
Is it blood? Are my butterflies OK? Your butterflies are fine. The red liquid is not blood. It is meconium—liquid waste mixed with extra pigment left over from wing formation.