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How to care for your Painted Lady caterpillars

Each larva (caterpillar) comes in a one ounce and a quarter plastic individual clear container with a cover that holds a paper towell to control humidity and to serve as support when the larva hangs itself by the tail, head down when it will pupate (transform into a chrysalis). In the container with the larva, there is a spoonful of soya flour based artificiel diet.

You can leave the container on a shelf away from direct sunlight at all times and at room temperature. The caterpillar will manage alone and when it will be finished feeding, it will push away the frass, hang itself upside down and transform into a chrysalis or pupa without your help.


But you want to participate. So when the caterpillar has eaten most of the food you open the lid and discard the frass with a small paintbrush, put the larva back into the container that is still holding the rest of the food, then you put the lid back on without forgetting to replace the paper towell for humidity control.

Put the container back onto the shelf away from direct sunlight at all times and at room temperature.

The caterpillar will keep on feeding still for a few days and when you will see a red dejection (frass ball), it has finish eating and will hang itself up to transform into a chrysalis by sheading it's skin for the last time. When this happens do not disturd the caterpillar or pupa for 72 hours till it as dried, hardened and is solid. Only then can you manipulate it.

The pupa will have hung itself from the paper towell. You pull the paper towell from the container and pin it into a small flight cage, about three inches from the bottom. It is high enough for the butterfly to spread its wings completely and dry them when it emerges. If the pupa is pinned too high in the cage, the butterfly could fall and destroy itself. If the emerging butterfly falls from its chrysalis, it must be able to crawl up again in a hurry to dry its wing, so your flight cage must have ruff wall for it to crawl up. Slippery plactic or glass containers will not do the trick unless tou add a wooden branch or something.

In all, the pupa stage will last eight to ten days. When time comes, if you want to push back the emergence time a few days, you can refrigerate the chrysalis, say for the weekend. NOT FREEZE BUT REFRIGERATE. Then, just take out of the refrigerator and wait, still, you must never leave the insect in any form, under the direct sunlight.