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deadleaf's avatar

How do you feel about raising butterflies...?

Asked by deadleaf (212points) May 31st, 2010

…From a tv commercial? I have witnessed a commercial that advertises the sale of caterpillars (10 to be exact) so that you can raise them at home, watch them become a cocoon, and when they become butterflies, let them free. Is this a gimmick for kids or what? What do you think about this? Where is marketing and capitalizing headed?

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15 Answers

Ltryptophan's avatar

…from the dead? it’s alive

Silhouette's avatar

Probably more lucrative than raising sea monkeys. I loved the little girl sea monkey, the one with bows in her hair.

chels's avatar

Fuck that. I am ridiculously afraid of butterflies.

deadleaf's avatar

lmao, they are selling caterppilars with a container to raise them in (ALIVE) for something like $30!

eden2eve's avatar

It’s a very good way to teach children the amazing process. I love butterflies, and think it’s marvelous!

IMHO, this is a better usage of our discretionary dollars than buying… say…. a million Barbies.

HungryGuy's avatar

I did that as a kid. Didn’t even have to buy anything. Caterpillars are everywhere if you just look around out in the woods. I collected caterpilars one summer and put them in an empty aquarium, put some dirt and twigs in it and “fed” them. They turned into coccoons in the fall and I tossed them outside. Next spring, I couldn’t figure out why all those moths were frantically trying to get into my bedroom window. It wasn’t until a few years later that I figured out the connection…

casheroo's avatar

My friend just did that with her children, who are homeschooled. Her review of it is hysterical. I’ll try to find her blog about it.
But, basically..she said it was disgusting. The things apparently bleed a lot when changing, and it bled on her one daughter…lots of poop, and generally NOT fun.

Rufus_T_Firefly's avatar

As an amateur appreciator of butterflies, I thinks it’s a very intriguing idea. I don’t know how well they would sell or how much profit could be made, but it definitely sounds like an interesting enterprise.

Ltryptophan's avatar

Might I suggest a way you might style yourself…Adopter of Lepidoptera. Maybe if you become a boxer you could have them announce you as such…

deadleaf's avatar

@casheroo that sounds so disgusting lmao, but it’s a hilarious thought at the same time. the strange question to that would be, “Does it hurt to morph?”

Kraigmo's avatar

Every kid that I know of that gets a toy that involves live critters…. ends up with a bunch of dead critters within a few months, or weeks.

I don’t think it’s right, really.

MissAusten's avatar

@casheroo That red liquid isn’t blood, it’s extra fluid that builds up in the butterfly’s body, and has to be expelled after emerging from the chrysalis. However, they do poop a lot and it is disgusting. The painted lady caterpillars advertised on TV aren’t nearly as disgusting as the tobacco hornworm caterpillars we once raised. They turn into these very cool moths that fly and hover like hummingbirds. The company accidentally sent us way too many caterpillars, which grew to be four inches long and pooped like maniacs. So gross.

Anyway, we ordered that butterfly kit once and my kids really enjoyed it. Every caterpillar eventually turned into a butterfly, and in spite of the pooping they were easy to take care of. The kids had a lot of fun, and it’s even nice to let them go and see them flutter away. The caterpillars are raised in a sterile environment and have no risk of exposing wild butterflies to disease. That particular type of butterfly is also widespread, so not an invasive species. Unlike the tobacco hornworms we raised, which are tomato pests. We couldn’t release the moths, but had to let them live out their two week life span.

Since we now have the mesh butterfly habitat, we don’t bother with ordering the caterpillars again. We find them, collect leaves from the plant we find them on, and raise them. The mesh container is also good for observing a praying mantis for a couple of days, or safely housing a butterfly you catch and want to look at for a while.

If you want to raise caterpillars, really all you need are some plastic cups and coffee filters. Put a caterpillar in the cup, secure the coffee filter over the top with a rubber band, and give it a fresh supply of leaves each day. When the caterpillar is ready to form a chrysalis, it will hang from the coffee filter and do its thing. If the cup is big enough for a butterfly to spread its wings, you can leave it there. If not, remove the coffee filter and pin it to the lid of a larger container (like the mesh butterfly house!). The caterpillars will still poop a lot, but since their food is leaves, not a mushy artificial diet, the poop is dry and much easier to dump out of the container.

Another fun insect project is to order a praying mantis egg case. Each egg case produces over a hundred tiny mantids, each about the size of a mosquito. We let them go in our garden so they can eat all the pests. It’s crazy to see all the little buggers crawling out of that egg case though. They are also pretty cheap, only a few bucks, and you can order them from a lot of organic garden supply sites.

YARNLADY's avatar

I’m a basic do-it-your-selfer, so I can’t imagine paying for something like that. I agree with @Kraigmo that any live critter in the hands of children is likely to end up dead, and it would require a lot of supervision.

My grandson wants an egg hatcher, but I can’t imagine what we would do with the baby chick. I bought a couple of baby chicks when I was about 8 years old, but they died after a couple of days.

MissAusten's avatar

@YARNLADY Any time we take on a project that involves live creatures, whether they’re insects or tadpoles, I know I’ll be in charge of it from the start. Anyone who expects otherwise from young children is expecting too much (in most cases). If you keep that in mind, raising butterflies, or tadpoles, or a praying mantis can be a lot of fun and educational. We haven’t killed any critters yet! Now, the flowers around the house are another story entirely.

netgrrl's avatar

Consider a butterfly-friendly habitat in your yard or garden with many of the plants butterflies like. Just being able to observe them makes me happy.

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