Monarch butterfly larvae kits may be purchased several ways, depending on whether your purpose is a classroom science project, a family educational project or an individual pastime. Educational science websites as well as area high school or college science departments may help you determine what type of monarch butterfly larvae kit you will need.
Additional resources include toy stores and local garden nurseries that sell beneficial insects. Kits purchased from toy stores include all elements except the larvae. A form included with the kit must be completed and mailed, after which the larvae will be shipped directly to you.
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What Kit To Purchase
Several websites like Educational Science that may help you to identify the monarch butterfly larvae growing kit you will need. For instance, if you are a classroom science teacher you may want a kit that contains a large emergence cage along with a variety of other insects, such as the painted lady caterpillars (larvae), silkworms, and hummingbird hawkmoths. The variety will allow you to help your students understand how monarch butterflies interact with other insects.
Your monarch larvae kit should include the pop-up butterfly cage, milkweed plant and at least two to four monarch larvae. The kit should also contain a larvae brush, forceps, a feeding kit and milkweed seeds, the website Educational Science suggests.
Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle
"The four stages of the monarch butterfly life cycle are the egg, the larvae (caterpillar), the pupa (chrysalis), and the adult butterfly," the website Monarch Butterfly notes. The four-stage life cycle is repeated four times in a single year. Stage 1 of the first generation begins in March; the fourth generation emerges in September or October.
The one key step to rearing monarchs keeping the container clean. The larvae need plenty of fresh milkweed plants to eat. Keep the leaves moist. Monarch Watch website suggests that you wrap the milkweed leaves in a damp paper towel enclosed in a plastic bag and refrigerated. "When larvae are ready to pupate, they crawl to the top of their cage, attach themselves with silken thread, and form a prepupal "J" before shedding their skin for the last time," according to Monarch Watch. The adult Monarch will emerge in approximately 10 to 14 days.
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