How to Build a Butterfly House

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How to Build a Butterfly House

 

Butterfly watching is the fastest growing hobby in North America! We thought it’d be an excellent idea to help out our fellow lepidopterist. If you’re looking for a great outdoor activity for you and the kids this weekend, consider building your very own butterfly house!

But first, let’s learn a little bit more about our fluttery little friends:

Did you learn something? Great! Now, let’s build ourselves a butterfly house!

The following information is taking from the Andy Camper website:

Making a butterfly house that is safe for butterflies is easy to do with stuff you can find around the house or cottage. You may need to purchase a couple of inexpensive things at your local department store. But with a little effort you’ll have a cool pad to watch your butterflies and keep them safe!

What you’ll need:

• 2 yards (6 feet) of bridal netting with a width of 36-48 ins. (bigger is better).
• About 2 feet of ribbon or string.
• 2 circles cut from corrugated cardboard about 14 inches wide.
• An old tree branch (try to find one on the ground rather than break one off a tree).
• A small, shallow plastic dish or bowl.
• A new plastic pot scrubber (Do not use a scrubber that has ever been used with any cleaning soaps or chemicals).

How to make it:

Step 1: Fold your bridal netting into thirds (as shown at Andy Camper Butterflies) to make a rectangle.
Step 2: Tie one end of your netting closed using a short piece (6 inches or so) of string or ribbon. Be sure to tie the knot securely! If this knot comes loose, you will lose your butterflies!
Step 3: Tie the other open end with the longer piece of string. With the loose ends of this string, tie a loop from which you could hang your butterfly house.
Step 4: Your tube of bridal netting should now be securely tied on both ends, and the only opening into this tube of netting is between the overlapped ends of the netting.
Step 5: Place the circle of cardboard in the bottom of the hanging netting to form the floor.  Just slip it in between overlapping layers of netting. The cardboard will help expand the tube and tighten the overlapping layers of netting.
Step 6: Place the second circle of cardboard in the end of the netting from which the house will hang. Secure it with a few spots of glue to the netting above the cardboard.
Step 7: Place an old branch in the butterfly house, which will give your butterfly a place to perch.
Step 8: Hang the butterfly house from a hook in the ceiling, from the roof of your tent or a tree branch.
Step 9: Put butterflies into the cage by carefully slipping them between the overlapping sections of netting. You could also hang pupae in the cage and watch butterflies emerge inside the house. It’s easier and safer for the butterfly to hang pupae than trying to move an adult one.

How to keep a butterfly in its new butterfly house:

Step 1: Place a new, plastic pot scrubber in a small dish. The dish should be about as high as the pot scrubber is tall when sitting in the dish.
Step 2: Mix a solution of sugar and water (one part sugar to four parts water). It is best to boil this solution when you make it in order to dissolve the sugar completely and kill any bacteria that may be present.
Step 3: Pour the sugar solution into the dish with the pot scrubber. Use enough sugar solution to fill the dish about half the height of the pot scrubber. Refrigerate any extra sugar water for later use.
Step 4: Place the dish with sugar water in the base of the butterfly house so the butterfly can drink. Change the sugar water daily to prevent mold and bacterial growth.
Step 5: Be sure to release your butterfly within a few days so it can fly freely and find a mate!

For some more great resources on butterflies, check out these websites:

The Butterfly Website
The Children’s Butterfly Website
Butterflies of Canada

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