As mentioned in my last blog post, I received a butterfly garden to raise my own butterflies through the miraculous wonder of metamorphosis. I'm happy to report that three of the five butterflies made it out and released to the world on Memorial Day - celebrating the land of the free!
I received my cup of caterpillars on May 10 and released them on May 29. That means in just 19 days I saw this transformation first hand. To say I enjoyed it would be an understatement. Aside from my 8-year-old tendencies at times, this seemed to satisfy my longing for a pet (even though you can't cuddle a caterpillar or butterfly) and was low maintenance. Plus, I feel like I contributed to nature by releasing them to do what they do for perfect balance in the way God created them.
Once the butterflies emerge from the cocoon, you have four days to nurture them and feed them sugar water, which is about the easiest thing to provide. I was so glad that all this happened over a long weekend because that meant I could watch them flutter in their habitat and feed them more often. After this experience, I think I'm going to do this all summer and just order more caterpillars. I'm not becoming old and a cat lady but old and a lepidopterist.
One small surprise during this process occurred Sunday evening. I went to refill the sugar water feeder and found a butterfly clung to the top of the habitat. Normally when I unzip it, they fly to the bottom. This time, they didn't. And I was missing a butterfly when I counted. I first thought this poor butterfly clinging to the roof of the netted habitat was dead. And then I looked closer. It appeared two butterflies had become one. And, were mating. Yep. Seriously. My butterfly garden had turned into the Love Shack. I googled "Butterflies mating" to ensure my guess was correct. And it was. I had already planned to release them the next day, but I really needed to do it the next day now because the next step in that parade is the female butterfly nesting and laying her 100 eggs. I enjoy raising butterflies...but not 100.
Not only have I become a lover of raising butterflies, I've become a butterfly matchmaker. My insects are getting more action than I am.