Butterfly Care Instructions
Complete Instructions for a Butterfly Release
The following links will open as PDF files for easy printing This links are specifically for "Warm Butterfly Release", "Cold Butterfly Release" instructions. You may also select the "Complete Instructions" PDF to print out everything on this page.
The Instructions Breakdown as Follows:
Butterfly Release Tips: PDF
Warm Weather Releases: PDF
Cold Weather Releases: PDF
Butterfly Transfer Instructions: PDF
Tips for a Successful Butterfly Release
All of our beautiful Monarch Butterflies are fed, misted and exercised prior to being placed in individual protective envelopes or boxes. Butterflies require minimal care if released within a day or so of arrival. They arrive ready to be released. Should you need to transfer them into a mass release container, you will have separate instructions to help you.
When you receive your butterflies, as a
precaution, please examine each Butterfly for damage that may have
occurred during shipping.
To check butterflies packaged in glassine envelopes; hold each glassine envelope up to a light and look for movement, once you see the butterfly kick his little feet or wiggle his antennae you know that he is fine and you can go on to examine the next, after you have checked all the Butterflies and they have been return to the insulated shipping box, place the lid back on the box and place the box in a cool dark place until needed.
To check butterflies packaged in individual boxes; hold each butterfly box up to your ear and listen closely for the pitter patter of tiny feet, once you hear movement you know that the butterfly is fine and you may go on the check the next butterfly, after you have checked all the Butterflies and they have been return to the insulated shipping box, place the lid back on the box and place the box in a cool dark place until needed.
Should a butterfly escape, it will fly to a light source such as a window. Pick up with folded wings and return to the envelope or box.
Your shipping container has been kept cool during the shipping process with ice packs. If it is an unusually hot day or your home is not air conditioned, we ask that you locate the “ice pack” re-freeze it and return it to its secure position in the insulated shipping cooler. Sometimes the “ice pack is located under a false bottom in the insulated shipping box. After that, keep at room temperature in a cool and dark part of your house.
Always transport your butterflies in the shipping box with a cold pack and keep from heat, direct sunlight and direct exposure to airflow from heating and cooling vents.
When it is time for the release, allow the butterflies to warm up by taking your butterflies out of the shipping box for 15-30 minutes, depending upon the outside temperature. Just bear in mind that the hotter it is, the less time they need to warm up—but in extremely hot weather, and they could get overheated. It needs to be at least 60 degrees F. for Monarchs Butterflies to fly out of their container.
If it is cooler that the above-mentioned temperatures, you may warm up the butterflies (in their box) by warming the box in a warm car or a warm room, —never apply heat directly on the envelopes. Just warm them up enough so there is movement and so that the box is warm. Butterflies are cold blooded and need to be warm to fly. THIS IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT!
If it is raining, do not release your butterflies but wait until the rain stops. A light mist is okay, though, as long as it is warm out. If you cannot release them within 24 hours because of inclement weather, please feed your butterflies using pesticide-free flowers, or cotton balls soaked in Gatorade, or cotton balls soaked in 1 part sugar to 9 parts water. Release your butterflies into a big box or container and make the container escape free by securing paper towels or netting over the top of the box. Feed by placing “nectar-soaked” cotton balls on the floor of the container. Also, lightly mist the butterflies through the netting several times a day or more if your house is dry because of heat or air conditioning. If they do not immediately feed, you can teach them to nectar on the cotton balls. Wait until a butterfly alights on an object with its wings closed. Gently pick up the butterfly between two fingers and hold its legs on the drenched cotton ball for 10 seconds or until it unrolls its proboscis and begin to drink. The butterfly tastes with its feet and drinks through this straw-like appendage.
Tips for your photographer
As always, we are certainly available to speak to your photographer about the best way to capture your butterfly release on film. However, here are some specific techniques that should help. Try to capture a specific moment and a specific butterfly. Get as close to your subject as possible. Do not try to capture the butterflies against the sky as it will be very difficult to see the butterflies in flight; they will appear very small and in some cases be impossible to see. Since butterflies will fly towards bright objects, including flowers, wait for one to land and photograph it. You may want to reserve a few butterflies specifically for photography purposes. These can be placed in a refrigerator within their insulated box (not near the freezer) for about 20-30 minutes. When you remove them from the refrigerator, they will be cool and will not fly for some time. Carefully pick them up with wings folded between your second and third fingers. Place them where you want them and shoot. In the sun, the wings will act as solar panels and as they begin to warm up, they will become more active and will soon take flight. Before that time, however, there should be time enough to take some pictures!
Please print out the instructions that you may need.
The instructions are available 24/7 online for download.
Instructions for Warm Weather Butterfly Releases
Congratulations on your purchase of our beautiful Live Monarch Butterflies!
We know you're eager and excited to explore this box and maybe have a peak at your butterflies, but first we ask that you read these few but valuable instructions.
Locate the Freeze Pack. You may need to remove or disassemble any shipping materials (popcorn, etc.). It is important that the shipping materials
be put back after.
Next: Check the Freeze Pack. It will likely be thawed. Place the Freeze Pack in the freezer. Keep the butterflies at room temperature. Once it is refrozen (2-3 hours), return it to the shipping container with the butterflies.
Last: Continue to store in a room set at a normal room temperature, approximately 72ºF or less. For very hot or humid weather, try the basement, a wine cellar, tile or linoleum floors, or even inside a dry bathtub!
Caution: Do not refrigerate. Do not freeze to keep cool.
Now that you have inspected and attended to the Freeze Pack, you will at some point the next day need to recheck the pack to insure it is still cold. Refreeze if necessary. You can be assured your lovely butterflies are resting safely inside their boxes, tucked securely in our Original Shipping Container.
Listen to the weather Forecast for the day of the release. If the forecast is to be 90ºF or warmer, then proceed to refreeze the pack the night before and replace it in the morning.
Traveling? Then transport your butterflies in the Original Shipping Container. If travel is long, or the ceremony/party is not until the afternoon or evening of the next day, then refreeze the pack the night before and replace it in the morning. Avoid leaving your butterflies in direct sunlight or prolonged exposure to high heat. (No parked cars or hot door steps please!)
The time is drawing near to set your butterflies free! So, 1-2 hours prior
to the Release time, remove the little butterfly triangles from the
Original Shipping Container and display them in a basket, or in your own
way. At this time, you may hear a bit of movement, do not be alarmed, they
are living creatures and this is perfectly normal. Be sure to keep your
butterflies in the shade until you are ready to set them free. Do not set
in direct sunlight or extreme heat!
Ideas, Suggestions! If you want to place a butterfly anywhere, for photos, for the first kiss, the announcement of Husband and Wife, or "Happy Birthday!" on your flowers or gift boxes, or even place them in a larger box for a mass release, simply place the desired number of butterflies (kept in their original boxes) into the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes. This brings down their body temperature. You will have approximately 30 seconds before each butterfly warms up enough to take flight!
Instructions are available online 24/7 for download.
Instructions for Cold Weather Butterfly Releases
Locate the Freeze Pack. You may need to remove or disassemble any shipping materials, (popcorn, etc.). It is important that the shipping materials be put back after.
Check the Freeze Pack. If it is not cool, then place the Freeze Pack in the freezer. Times may vary. Once it is refrozen, return it to the shipping container.
Store in a room set at approximately 72ºF. In very cool or rainy weather, store them in a room with a closed door, or on carpet, but do not directly heat them in any way!
Caution: Do not heat them. Do not apply direct heat.
Now that you have inspected and attended to the Freeze Pack, you will at some point in the day need to recheck the pack to insure it is still cold. Refreeze if necessary. However, if the weather forecast is predicting cool weather, see the below sections. Traveling? Then transport your butterflies in the Original Shipping Container. If travel is long, or the ceremony/party is in the afternoon or evening of the next day, then refreeze the pack the night before and replace it in the morning. Avoid leaving your butterflies in direct sunlight or prolonged exposure to high heat.
Do not leave your butterflies in a hot car or door step!
Cold is considered less than 60F (15.6 Celsius) or Rainy. Keep the
butterflies in a warm room (70-72F) while the ceremony or party is taking
place for as long as possible. If you need to, a space heater in a closed
room will be sufficient to bring the room temperature to about 75-80F. So,
If you are comfortable, they are comfortable.
Fly Away…! The time draws near! So, 1-2 hours prior to the Release time, remove the butterfly triangles from the Original Shipping Container. Display them in a basket. Or be creative! You may hear a bit of movement, do not be alarmed, they are living creatures and this is perfectly normal.
Ideas, Suggestions! If you want to position a butterfly for close-up photos of your choice, or even place them in a larger box for a mass release, simply place the desired number of butterflies (kept in their original boxes) into the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes. This brings down their body temperature. You will have approximately 30 seconds before each butterfly warms up enough to take flight!
The instructions are available 24/7 online for download.
Instructions for Transferring Live Butterflies for your Release…
Your butterflies were shipped to you in individual envelopes to preserve their wing condition and to encourage them to enter a state of dormancy during shipping. It is best to keep your butterflies in this sleep like state for as long as possible.
As you decide when to transfer your
butterflies you should keep in mind that it is best to make the transfer
in a small room with a low ceiling. And that you should transfer the
butterflies at the latest possible time that is convenient and free of
stress. If transferring the butterflies into a cardboard butterfly release box or
one of our “Easy Transfer” butterfly release boxes, you can do this the
evening before if it is a morning Funeral or the day of the Funeral if it
is later in the morning or the afternoon. Once the butterflies are in the
box, however, your must store them in a cool, dark place (such as a
closet) until you are ready to transport them to your event. Just prior
to releasing, however, you do want them to be in temperatures of 65
degrees Fahrenheit or warmer, since they need to be warm to fly.
If you are transferring them into a net hanging cage, a tabletop cage or a sheer box, we recommend you do this an hour or two before the event begins, to prevent wing damage. If the box is solid or covered, you may transfer them earlier. Keeping the cage or sheer box in a cool, low light condition will help keep the butterflies calm. When placing them outdoors do not place the butterflies in strong direct sunlight as this may make them too active. Dappled sunshine is the best or even shade. However, try to release them in a sunny area so that they are encouraged to fly. In a display cage, flowers, ferns, and stems with leaves will help provide some shade for them if they are outdoors. The time of day will make a difference also. Later in the day, temperatures are cooler so the sunshine will not stimulate them as much.
1- Place the insulated butterfly box (the box that they were shipped in) with the butterflies still in the envelopes and the lid closed, into a normal household type refrigerator (NOT THE FREEZER) for 20 – 30minutes—just before you are ready to transfer them.
2- Prepare the butterfly display cage, organza box or other container. With a cardboard release box, you will need to line the box’s sides with paper toweling or tulle. This will give the butterflies a place to perch themselves
3- Ensure your hands are clean and dry. Should you need to handle a butterfly, the oils from your skin will not affect the conditions of the wings.
4- Remove the butterflies from the refrigerator and take them with the box or the cage into a small room with low ceilings (a bathroom is perfect) and shut the door while you are making the transfer. It is perfectly normal for them not to move when refrigerated. This is the Monarch hibernation response to cold weather.
5- Pick up each envelope and hold it just inside the box or the cage, open/unfold the envelope and gently slide the butterfly onto the bottom of the box or cage. As they warm up, the butterflies will slowly move their wings and. Again This is normal. Keep up your work until all the butterflies are transferred, and then quickly close the lid of the box or netting.
Tip! Butterflies are attracted to light, so the Monarch will fly toward a window or other source of light in the room. Simply pick it up with the wings closed, close to the body. Alternately, you can cup your hands around the Monarch and place it back into the box/cage.
You should be able to transfer all the butterflies into your box or cage with no escapees. However, should a butterfly escape during the transfer process, you will need to recapture it. No problem. Despite what you have always been told, handling a butterfly gently with your fingers will not harm it or affect the butterfly's flight.