4 Caring for Adult Butterflies

 What are ‘adult’ butterflies?

Adult butterflies are the fourth and final life stage of a butterfly’s life cycle. They begin as eggs; unborn butterflies. Caterpillars hatch from the eggs; child butterflies. Caterpillars pupate into chrysalises or pupae; teenager butterflies. Winged butterflies emerge from the chrysalises; adult butterflies.

monarch lifecycle

Monarch butterfly life cycle

If an adult butterfly emerges from a chrysalis and the weather isn’t conductive for release (too cold or rainy), you can keep them indoors for a day without feeding them. They rarely eat the first day.  It is best not to mess with their instinct the first day and do not feed them.  After the first day, you can feed them although they do well without food the second day.  We do not encourage keeping butterflies indoors when it is safe to release them outdoors.

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We encourage misting adult butterflies just as you would mist chrysalises.  Air conditioners and heaters dehydrate the air, removing some of the moisture that is necessary for their survival.  Most of the time both chrysalises and adults are fine without misting but there is a small percentage that will survive if they are misted.  If the room is humid, they’ll be fine without misting.  The humidity outdoors isn’t the deciding factor.  It’s the indoor humidity that matters.

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If butterflies are active enough to damage their wings, place them in a cool dark area.  This will calm them.  At the very least, their habitat can be covered with a dark cloth.