How to Start a Butterfly Farm

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How to Start a Butterfly Farm
Start a Butterfly Farm

With butterfly populations shrinking, "growing" your own butterflies on a butterfly farm can be a fun outdoor project. It can also be a profitable and rewarding business. Butterfly releases are popular at weddings, funerals and other events. A butterfly farm doesn't cost much to start, but can be labor intensive.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Plant host plants appropriate for your area. Some host plants include milkweed, spicebush, paw-paw and parsley. Consult a regional gardening guide to find the best plants for your area. Look for eaten leaves to see if caterpillars are living on the leaves. You can also purchase a kit.

  2. 2

    Build homes for your caterpillars. Large jars and aquariums are appropriate housing for caterpillars. Give them sticks to pupate on. Keep them in a light space, but not in direct sunlight. Clean the cages every day.

  3. 3

    Feed the caterpillars with host plant cuttings. Supply fresh food daily or give them a live potted plant.

  4. 4

    Keep an eye on the caterpillars. When they build pupae, move it to a new container. Mist the pupae container daily. Make sure the pupae is high enough for the butterfly to fully extend its wings.

  5. 5

    Construct housing for butterflies if you plan to keep them. A greenhouse filled with plants is necessary for large scale butterfly farming. Feed the butterflies nectar and non-carbonated sports drink (like Gatorade).

  6. 6

    Get the appropriate permits if you plan to raise butterflies for commercial purposes. Talk to your municipality about zoning regulations and business licenses. Get a USDA permit.

  7. 7

    Develop a marketing plan. Take out ads in wedding magazines and websites. Go to bridal shows. Market your services to schools, museums and zoos

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