I’m Ready to Adopt a Monarch

This is an opportunity for all ages.  Everyone can become a butterfly parent.  Kids under 12 will need some adult assistance.  It is quite easy to raise the Monarch species of butterfly.  Burpee is making it even easier for you.  Burpee will provide the larva and your habitat…and you will refresh the leaves (Milkweed) and clean out the habitat.  

Its FREE!

1.  Find Milkweed.

Before you bring you new baby home, take a quick drive about your area to spot some food sources.  Chance are you will quickly spy the purple flowers and green stalks growing along roadsides, near farms, bike paths and even highways.  Be sure to choose spots free of chemical sprays.  

2.  Stop by Burpee to pick up your larva

The eggs are hatched and we have lots of babies looking for homes.  Come on over and we will give you the larva and a habitat to take home for FREE.

Call for more information: 815-965-3433

 Your only commitment is to do your best to feed and care for your little guy and bring him back when it is a butterfly.  It will then become part of our Butterfly observation exhibit which you can visit anytime!  

3. Feed your Monarch Larva

Your little larva will want fresh milkweed.  If you have milkweed nearby, you can pick a fresh leaf or two every day.  If you don’t, cut a stalk with many leaves and put it in a vase with water (just like cut flowers) to have fresh leaves for many days.  You should wash leaves to be sure they are clean (and free of predators) and that will also provide extra hydration for your larva.  If you use the cheesecloth provided, you should not have to worry about mold inside the cage.

4. Clean the cage daily

A dirty, habitat filled with Monarch frass (poop) can cause many problems for your larva.  We have the best success cleaning by taking the larva out on his/her leaf, dumping the frass outside by shaking the container, and then placing the larva back inside the cage.  You don’t need to use any water or soap to clean the habitat during your larva’s stay in this habitat.  

5. Don’t make multiple age/size roommates

The tennis ball can habitats provide a great single occupancy size.  By the time the larva is full grown, he or she will need the space.  Additionally, the caterpillars will often eat smaller caterpillars as part of their milkweed meals.

6. Share your journey!

We can’t wait to hear about the growth of your baby Monarch.  Post to facebook and twitter and use hashtags to share with us!  You will be able to learn from other citizen scientists too!

#BurpeeMuseum #BurpeeMonarchProject 

7. Reunite your Monarchs

 

After your butterfly has emerged, you can carefully place it in a small shoe box, or other container to bring it back to Burpee.  We will reunite him or her with other Monarchs in the project.  If you want to learn about how to handle and tag the butterflies, stay tuned for Burpee Butterfly Education opportunities.

Common Milkweed is a broad leaf plant that is only plant these larva will eat.  Wash before using and keep fresh by wrapping the end in a wet paper towel.  If you are having trouble finding milkweed...imagine how it must feel to be a Monarch yourself!  Searching for Milkweed to lay your eggs.  This is why planting Milkweed is so important to the Monarch!

Finding Milkweed

Common Milkweed is a broad leaf plant that is only plant these larva will eat. Wash before using and keep fresh by wrapping the end in a wet paper towel. If you are having trouble finding milkweed…imagine how it must feel to be a Monarch yourself! Searching for Milkweed to lay your eggs. This is why planting Milkweed is so important to the Monarch!
You are now the proud caretaker of a young Monarch.  Handle it with care and keep a raising journal to reflect on how you are progressing.  Be careful of your other pets as many don't mix well with butterfly larva.

Congratulations!

You are now the proud caretaker of a young Monarch. Handle it with care and keep a raising journal to reflect on how you are progressing. Be careful of your other pets as many don’t mix well with butterfly larva.
The larva go through 5 phases each only lasting a few days.  This is a first instar larva.  They are very small and delicate if you bring them home in this stage.

Young Monarch Larva

The larva go through 5 phases each only lasting a few days. This is a first instar larva. They are very small and delicate if you bring them home in this stage.
They may start small, but as the larva grows through you will find a much bigger "baby" in only a few weeks!

Larva Growth

They may start small, but as the larva grows through you will find a much bigger “baby” in only a few weeks!
Don't be alarmed when your large larva spins a silky web and then hangs upside down in your habitat.  This is the last step before it sheds its skin a final time to reveal the pupa.  The larva in the pupa can still feel, so be gentle!

Hanging Upside Down!

Don’t be alarmed when your large larva spins a silky web and then hangs upside down in your habitat. This is the last step before it sheds its skin a final time to reveal the pupa. The larva in the pupa can still feel, so be gentle!
In suspense, we wait for the emergence of a butterfly.  Sometimes this stage can take as long as 2 weeks.  Once you can see dark color inside the chrysalis, the butterfly will emerge within 24 hours.

And now we wait...

In suspense, we wait for the emergence of a butterfly. Sometimes this stage can take as long as 2 weeks. Once you can see dark color inside the chrysalis, the butterfly will emerge within 24 hours.