Butterfly Farming Checklist

Thinking about trying your hand at butterfly farming? Here are some items you’ll need before getting started.

by Dani Yokhna
Monarch butterfly on flower
Courtesy Comstock/Thinkstock
Butterfly farming requires both time and knowledge, so make sure you’re equipped with both before starting your venture.

1. Temperature- and humidity-controlled location.
This might be a room in your home strictly dedicated to raising butterflies.

2. Pesticide-free host plants.
Host plants will serve as the butterflies’ source of food. It’s important to have both the knowledge and space to grow them.

3. Supplies for raising butterflies from egg to adult.
Supplies will include caterpillar-raising containers, disinfectant, breeder cages, adult cages, netted tent or greenhouse for host plants, microscope, clip-on lights, ice packs, insulated shipping boxes, permits (if applicable) and start-up stock.

4. Computer and Internet service.
If you want to promote your butterfly-farming business, these tools are invaluable.

5. Knowledge.
Courses in raising butterflies are offered through the Association for Butterflies and come highly recommended to ensure business success. Raising butterflies can differ widely between people and locations, and simply following the advice or anecdotes of a fellow farmer is not enough.

6. Time.
Believe it or not, butterfly-farming can be an all-consuming venture. The season begins in early spring and lasts through late fall (not to mention the time needed for starting and maintaining host plants). Summer vacations will become a thing of the past; because in order to make this a successful business, you’ll want to raise during peak season. While you might think you could simply hire a neighbor to care for them in your absence, as mentioned, butterfly-farming requires knowledge. The last thing you want is to return from your vacation to find out that your business venture has died (literally).

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