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Insect Lore's Cup of Caterpillars is a live refill for your Original Butterfly Garden, the Giant Butterfly Garden or the Butterfly Pavilion. It includes caterpillars (larvae) and nutritious caterpillar food. If you are purchasing a Cup of Caterpillars, be sure to have a habitat ready for your butterflies!
Cup of Caterpillars Includes:
- A cup of 5 caterpillars with all the nutritious food they need to grow into lovable Painted Lady Butterflies. The Cup of Caterpillars is also known as a "live butterfly culture". 3 of the 5 caterpillars are guaranteed to develop into adult Painted Lady Butterflies.
- The Caterpillar Quick Guide. This is a brief overview to get you started. For in-depth instructions regarding caterpillar and butterfly care please see our Caterpillars to Butterflies Instruction Guide.
Watch Your Caterpillars Grow!
Your Cup of Caterpillars will arrive at your door in a clear plastic cup complete with nutritious food. This cup will house your caterpillars until they change into chrysalides, so be sure to keep it in a safe place away from direct sunlight or drafts. Everyone will marvel at how much caterpillars eat and how quickly they grow! Your children can document their caterpillars’ growth by drawing pictures, taking photos or making graphs. After seven to ten days, the caterpillars will stop eating and will climb to the top of the cup. Once there, they will attach themselves to the paper disk under the lid of the cup, hang upside down and transform into chrysalides.
The Miracle of Metamorphosis
Once your chrysalides have hardened, it’s time to move them into their butterfly habitat. Carefully remove the lid of the cup and pin the paper disk with the chrysalides attached to the lower inside of the habitat. For approximately seven to ten days, an amazing change takes place inside the chrysalides! The caterpillar parts inside the chrysalis gradually liquefy and reform into a beautiful butterfly.
After your butterflies have emerged, they will depend on you for their dinner! Place fresh flowers in the butterfly habitat for your butterflies to rest on while feeding. To make the nectar, thoroughly mix 3 teaspoons of sugar with 1 cup of water. Then sprinkle a few drops of this nectar on the blossoms daily. Children love to watch the butterflies unfurl their long proboscises to sip this sweet treat! Don’t forget to provide fresh slices of orange or watermelon for your butterflies as well.
Let Them Go!
Children often become attached to their butterfly friends but it is best to release them into the wild within a week of their emergence from the chrysalides. After you have watched and cared for your butterflies for a few days, take the habitat outdoors and let your children experience the special joy of setting them free.
Caterpillars shed their exoskeletons FIVE times before they pupate!
There’s so much more to learn about the metamorphosis of the Painted Lady Butterfly. Be sure to visit our Butterfly FAQ.
Shipping: Live caterpillars are shipped to destinations within the Continental USA and Alaska. We cannot ship live caterpillars to Hawaii.
Manufacturer Recommended Age: 4 and up with adult supervision
38 review(s) Add Your Review
- I will be ordering live larvae every year because it was such a great experience.
I purchased this to go along with our insect unit for pre-k students. It was very easy to do. The children really understood the life cycle so much better because they had their very own hands-on experience. We had a huge release party when it was time to let the butterflies go. It was awesome!
FYI: Never release your butterflies near your collard green garden. They laid eggs all over them and destroyed the entire crop overnight ;-)
- The entire journey of our pained ladies was fascinating!
The entire journey of our pained ladies will forever be in the memories of my toddlers (2 and 3 yr old) From the moment we received the cup of the very tiny caterpillars to them growing into a pupating stage to emerging from their shiny chrysalis into a beautiful butterfly!