Caterpillar House

If you catch and take good care of some caterpillars, you might be lucky enough to watch them turn into butterflies. When a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, it is called metamorphosis. Once you set the butterflies free, it's nice if there are lots of flowers in your garden to keep them happy, because butterflies eat nectar.Here's What You'll Need:
Chopping board, scissors, plant mister, paintbrush, caterpillar, leaves from the plants you found your caterpillars on, large rectangular plastic container, paper towels, a big piece of cheesecloth and some small twigs.

Here's What to Do:

  1. Ask a grown up to cut a big hole in the lid of your plastic container, leaving just a bit of lid inside the rim.
  2. With a grown-up's help, cut a piece of cheesecloth big enough to cover the container and hang over the edges all the way around.
  3. Line the inside of the container with layers of paper towel and spray them lightly with water.
  4. Lay the twigs and plenty of leaves inside the container, then gently pick up caterpillars with the paintbrush and lay them on the leaves.
  5. Lay cheesecloth over the top of the container and push the lid on to hold the cloth in place.

Taking Care of Your Caterpillars
If you keep your caterpillars well fed, you will be able to watch them change into chrysalises and then to butterflies. Keep you caterpillar house in a quiet place out of the sun, giving them fresh leaves from the plant you found them every day. Caterpillars are delicate creatures, so never poke at them. If you see them wriggle out of their skin, this is normal. Most caterpillars molt (shed old skin) several times before the metamorphosis to butterfly stage. Clean your caterpillar house by taking everything our, including the paper towels. Add new paper towels and spray them moist, just like the first time. Add fresh leaves, always from the same plant you found the caterpillars. Some caterpillars only eat one type of leaf?

The Chrysalis Stage
Once fully grown, a caterpillar will change into a chrysalis. You will see them hanging from the twigs or the sides of the container during this stage. Don't disturb or move the chrysalis. You may have to wait a long time before they butterfly comes out.

The Butterfly
When the butterfly first comes out, it will have folded up wings and may look a little strange to you. It will take several hours for the wings to dry and get hard enough for flight. Leave the butterfly alone, because it is too delicate to handle. Set it free on a sunny day.

Some Garden Flowers Your Butterflies Will Enjoy
Ajuga, aster, bee balm, eyed Susan, Buddleia, heliotrope, lavender, purple coneflower, sedums, thistles, and tick seed are good perennials for butterflies (perennials are flowers that bloom and grow year after year).