How to Start Your Own Butterfly Farm

This is a magical activity to do with your kids and now is the perfect season in Israel.

Step 1: Find some baby caterpillars. In the photos, I show you how.

Look for leaves that have been munched. For example, I spotted this well-chewed nasturtium leaf. And then…
When I flip it over, Eureka! A brood of tiny caterpillars on its under side.

Step 2: Put them in a shoe box (or similar container) with lots of leaves from their host plant. You can try identify the butterfly based on its appearance or host plant, or just wait for a surprise!

Our caterpillar farm AKA an old plastic box. As they get bigger, add a lid with air holes. Otherwise they’ll crawl away.

Step 3. Feed them fresh leaves daily. Watch them eat and grow, eat and grow

Step 4. Read your kids “The Hungry Little Caterpillar” daily (optional)

Step 5. After about 2 weeks, they should be full grown. They will then spin their cocoons on the undersides of fresh leaves.

A Large White butterfly (לבנין הכרוב). This is the kind we’re growing. The photo is from Wikipedia because photographing butterflies is an art-form!

Step 6. After another 2 weeks, the butterflies will emerge from the cocoons.

Though caterpillars eat leaves, unless you have a major infestation it’s beneficial to your local ecosystem to breed butterflies.

They are food for birds and they are a important indicator of overall ecosystem balance.

Unfortunately, butterflies are declining and disappearing around the world.

Also, Butterflies!!!

Do we really need an excuse to want to be close to them?

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My name is Naomi and this is my tiny little farm in the heart of the rapidly growing city of Beit Shemesh, Israel. I enjoy growing, making and processing as much of my families own food and household essentials as possible, while nurturing a biodiverse ecosystem filled with beauty and life. 

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