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Step 1

Get the individual containers ready. You can also choose to use several large containers where up to five larvae are kept. Use care not to over-crowd the caterpillars as you risk killing off all of the others in the container if one gets sick…illness in caterpillars can spread rapidly, leading to death.

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For the artificial food, smear the food along the edges and a bit along the bottom of the container.

For organic diets: Using scissors, cut toilet tissue to fit the bottom of the containers. The tissue will help to absorb moisture and will aid in cleaning frass (caterpillar poop). Place leaves (you can leave stems on) into the cup.

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Step 2

Use a paintbrush to carefully pick up each caterpillar. The paintbrush helps to lessen the chance for injury to the delicate young baby…You can coax the caterpillar onto the brush by simply placing the brush in front of the caterpillar and it will climb aboard!

Step 3

Place the caterpillar into the food-filled cup. If you are using larger containers, you can have up to five larvae in one cup. If you are using smaller containers, then one per container is best.


The caterpillars will need to be fed fresh food daily, particularly if you are feeding an organic diet.

Clean out the frass (the poop!) at least once a day. Despite the fact that instructions often accompanying purchased larvae will state "Do not open the container! The container is a sterile environment and opening it will introduce…yada yada yada…" Trust me on this…Permitting all that FRASS (poop) to remain is WAY worse than opening the container!!! Get the frass O-U-T each day. I'm sure you wouldn't want to live in your own excrement so why should a caterpillar?! Plus, think of it this way—what do you think may happen if you lived with your own poop for two weeks? hmm? Point taken.

A few things to absolutely remember:

1. Do NOT put your larvae in sunlight. Moisture + heat = is BAD news.
2. Water is NOT a necessity. Larvae will get their moisture directly from the leaves.
3. Living in poop is not a good thing. Clean out the frass at least once daily.


Heat = potential for viral/bacterial/fungal growth

Moisture + Heat = Lots of PROBLEMS!

Materials for raising caterpillars:

• individual containers (with lids)
• toilet tissue
• scissors
• paintbrush
• food (organic or artificial)
from Caterpillars to Butterflies...the steps
2010 Learn about Painted Ladies

Your Painted Ladies will be eating and pooping for about two weeks! In this time, they will undergo a number of 'molts' which means they will be shedding their skin and getting larger. Their appearance will change with each molt. Don't be alarmed if your caterpillar stops moving and eating…this indicates that a molt is about to occur. Leave the little guy alone as molting takes time. Think of it as time YOU take for getting ready to go out to a fancy dinner. The caterpillar will usually sort of hang around and rest, either on the top of the container or along the edge. It may remain motionless for hours on end. Soon, it will shed its outgrown skin, turn around and eat it, and then begin to munch leaves once again.

As it gets closer to the time for pupation, you will see a distinct change in the larva's appearance. This time, it will become much more bristle-y and a lot fatter. It will be longer in length as well. At this point, if you are raising the caterpillars in containers, it is time to get toilet tissue or paper towels or even a paper coffee filter ready.

Simply place the paper (toilet tissue, paper towel, coffee filter) over the top of the cup and then place the lid on top of the paper. That's it! The caterpillar will eventually, pupate onto the paper. This makes it much easier to transport the litte one MUCH easier (believe me) and gives you space to raise more caterpillars!

Once the pupa has hardened (the chrysalis will take several hours to harden completely) you can move the chrsyalis to a larger container whereby, in two weeks' time, a lovely butterfly will eclose.

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