Monday, July 9, 2012

In the Pursuit of Caterpillars

So, my sister, Jessica, sent all her nephieces a butterfly kit last year like one she'd done and blogged about.  She thought it would be a fun and educational project for all of them to do together.  But life is ... life, and time got away from me last year and I never ordered the caterpillars.

Finding myself with a little more time this summer for some odd reason, I went to order the caterpillars with my coupon and they turned me down saying that it's too hot for them to deliver them to this region.  I even tried setting a date in the future in every single month (it snows here in the wintertime!) and it always gave the same response.

So this weekend when I went to the Butterfly Exhibit at the Botanic Gardens (I posted about that trip --with pictures -- separately), I asked them about where to get caterpillars for our project.  They suggested I visit Plants of the Southwest, because although they ordered most of their caterpillars from a place that provides them to various Butterfly Pavilions nationwide, they also found just buying some local plants provided them with abundant caterpillars (which come, for free!, with each plant).  They had been there just two days prior and were sure there would still be plenty for the taking there at the nursery.

Today, I hauled the kids over to Plants of the Southwest and we looked at all their dill and fennel plants (these were the suggested plants from the Botanic's staff) and there was not one caterpillar.  We even searched their onsite butterfly garden, but no.

So we purchased one dill and one fennel plant, which we'll plant in our backyard and hope and pray some butterflies find them and lay their eggs on them so that next year, maybe we'll have some natural and homegrown caterpillars!

In the meantime, I'm sending kids into the nearby arroyo to look at the local plant life and see if they can find some wild caterpillars for us.  I'll let you know if we find any!


  1. This is interesting and maybe others can give some advice! Or learn from your butterfly search. :) Thanks for the link!

    I was reading some places online and apparently butterflies can't be shipped over the continental divide (the Rockies, I guess), so you have to find a place on the west side to buy from. But then there's the temp aspect, like you mentioned.

    That's cool that you have a plant place with a butterfly garden! I want to go!

    Also, did you check out that site I mentioned? Wings of Enchantment, I think. It's a place in ABQ.

  2. Thank you for the reminder about Wings of Enchantment - I just checked online. It looks really cool. I'll need to give them a call, I think. Or go down, since you know how I feel about making phone calls (blehh). When you mentioned it earlier, I was in the middle of ... well, everything! So I didn't get a chance then. They appear to sell kits, so maybe they'll sell to me!

    Here's the URL if any of you are interested in checking out their site:

  3. And no. The kids did not find caterpillars in the arroyo today. :-/

  4. Well, maybe I can buy back your caterpillars that can't be sent to you? That way you can use that money toward others, if you find some to be bought. Or at least let me donate toward new caterpillars.. I feel like I've just put a burden on you. You don't have to get any, of course. :)

  5. Don't be silly, Jessica. :) I mean, if you want to do the project yourself, I can give you the code so that the coupon doesn't go to waste. But it's not like caterpillars are expensive. :)

    Besides, it gives me more blogging material. That's the attitude I'm taking with all "interesting" or "challenging" things these days ... at least it's new stuff to write about! Haha. Sick family, car troubles, no caterpillars ... we cover it all here at Mama Flock.

  6. Glad you found a possible solution for caterpillars! Jessica told me they wouldn't ship them to you. Who knew?