September 21, 2012

Grow Your Own Butterflies At Home

We all know that butterflies aren't bugs, right? Well, okay technically they are, but they're just too dainty, pretty and sweet to be in the same class as spiders and other insects whose name I can't even type without getting squeamish.

Anyway, when I mentioned we'd be growing butterflies from their larvae stage, those who know about my bug phobia couldn't believe it. But alas, the things we do for our kids.

Since Miss O just started kindergarten, I thought the symbolism behind watching caterpillars spin their cocoons and then emerge as butterflies would encourage my own little darling to take flight into the great wide open. Sniff sniff. It worked like a charm.

We received a little tub of rather disgusting looking larvae in the mail, then we waited for the five  little critters to create their cocoons before moving them into their netted home. I put them up on a bookcase out of reach of Mr. A, because the directions said it would take them 10-14 days to become butterflies. Which meant too many opportunities for Mr. A to play Godzilla to a vulnerable city.

We must have gotten overachievers, or they must have wanted out of our LOUD house, because not even 3 days after they spun themselves into their cocoons, we had butterflies.

Of course, I wasn't prepared with the slice of watermelon or the orange wedge to feed our newborn winged friends. So we soaked a paper towel in sugar water for their first meal (yum! only the best in our house) and then ran to get said fruit.

Butterflies only live for 2 weeks... and I couldn't bear keeping them in this little net for Miss O to have them as "pets" knowing their lives were so very brief.

Besides, after just one night of being captive, I arose early to serve them fresh fruit and they were going ballistic in the net. Literally throwing themselves against the walls. Kamikaze butterflies on our watch. I knew it was time to set them free.

So we released Heart, Daffodil, Sally, Dandelion and Pinkalicious into our backyard.

And when Miss O had some trouble making the transition to kindergarten, my sister knowingly used the butterflies as a metaphor, encouraging her to spread her wings and fly away as well. This brought a knowing smile to her face and comfort to her heart.

All in all, growing butterflies was a cool experience, but I don't think I'll do it again. I was too disturbed by the fact that they spent even one moment of their life in a net and weren't born into freedom. That said, I also feel bad eating plants because I think they have feelings... so I'm probably not the best barometer for this activity.

If you want to grow your own butterflies at home, click on the link below. You receive the net kit and then you order the larvae online via the enclosed instructions when you're ready for some blossoming fun.

No comments: