When buying butterflies (visit us at www.thelittlecaterpillar.com), they have typically been frozen and dried out to prevent dermestids. As a result, they will nearly always have to be re-hydrated.
A re-hydrating chamber does not require any special material and can be easily created with items found around your house.
YOUR WILL NEED:
- Damp paper towels
- a small Tupperware container
- a piece of sponge
- butterfly inside glassine paper
That's it! Not a lot of materials, but you will need some knowledge about how long to re-hydrate specific insects. Luckily, we at LITTLE CATERPILLAR are ready to share with you the knowledge we have gained from years of working with insects.
Simply take the Tupperware container with a lid, and put a sponge soaked with hot water in the bottom. Cut the corners of the glassine envelope off (this will be the triangle shaped waxy paper your butterfly is in), but leave the butterfly inside. Then wrap each glassine envelope in a damp paper towel. Depending on your climate you may need to add something to prevent mold growth inside, many things from Windex to Dawn soap will help with this.
The amount of time you leave your specimen in the re-hydrating chamber will vary depending on the size of your butterfly, for medium or small butterflies two days will generally be enough, for larger ones (such as Morphos and Birdwings), three days is usually required. If left in any longer they will usually begin to fall apart.
After you believe your specimen is ready gently test the wings by rolling the tip of your finger where the wings meet the thorax. If it is ready the wings should show signs of opening. If not you may need to put it back in the chamber, or you can use a hypodermic needle to inject boiling water into the butterflies thorax to speed the process.
Along with this blog, be sure to check out more videos and tutorials on our HOW TO PIN A BUTTERFLY page!