How long to keep inside?

This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  jules 4 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #34943


    Hi everyone, I’m new to the Butterfly Trust and already learning heaps. This year I brought the last of my caterpillars inside as frosts began, most of them were just a few days off going into a chrysalis. They are now starting to emerge – 4 since yesterday and about 8 to go. I had planned to let them go outside as soon as the sun appeared but due to the horrendous forecast I’m reluctant to do so just yet. Meantime I’ve converted a large dog crate into a butterfly house! It’s covered over with bird netting from the garden and I’ve put all the remaining chrysalis’ plus the butterflies inside along with sponges soaked in honey water and a potted polyanthus for good measure. There are also various bits of tree and wood stakes the chrysalis’ are attached to.
    From what I’ve read here this is probably the wrong thing to do, and they are in my nice warm office rather than outside (what a joy watching them emerge). Should I shift the whole arrangement out onto a covered deck, keep it indoors but cover it up so it’s darker, or leave well enough alone?
    I’d be very grateful for any advise or help. Thanks.

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  • #44114


    thanks for that. I actually put them on the swan plants this afternoon as 2 males were scrapping with each other and one ripped the others wing with its spiky foot ? Never seen that behavior before lol.

    If it looks nasty over night I will go get them lol ! We only had 2 that had wing deformity out of all of the past couple of days , a lot are are a bit smaller than summer ones though. I am in Napier Caz



    Hello Jules

    I am reluctant to give you a number as you can’t measure something like this. Although they are relatively waterproof butterflies are less likely to endure wet, cold weather than they are a summer shower. I would not keep them in a dark, cool place for more than a week, but there must be plenty of places outside where there is some shelter from wind and rain.

    In the past I’ve even rigged up a temporary shelter by tieing an umbrella to a clothes line… but pergolas are suitable, and trees often give great shelter. After all, in the wild that’s where the butterflies would be today, in trees and out of the worst of it.



    Jan, Where are you? Great new, since this time of year many chrysalides do not produce healthy butterflies, even inside. Well done!



    How many days is it safe to do this for jacqui? I have 3 hatched yesterday and 2 today so far and another 9 due anytime today !
    The weather here is getting pretty blustery and we are due for a lot of rain.

    edited to add, yesterdays were sitting outdoors on the swan plants, but I still have one that has not left yet.



    Hello Jan

    Caterpillars and pupae / chrysalises are really “summer” stages for the Monarch, so having them in warm/bright is the best way to see them fulfil their metamorphosis.

    However, when the butterflies emerge they can cope with both seasons. If it’s warm/light/bright to them it’s “summery” and so they’ll want to find nectar-filled flowers and find a mate. If it’s cold, they’ll go into a sort of hibernation state, where they’ll reserve their energy waiting for it to be more summery. So because you don’t want them looking for flowers (they’re aren’t all that many) and using their energy, keep the cool and dark, giving them the message that this is NOT an appropriate time to be mating etc.

    Hope that makes sense.


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