A Butterfly House That Actually Works!?

Butterfly houses are great…for bees, bats, and bugs. Butterflies don’t touch them as they’d rather sleep high up in trees, nestled in the safety of leaves.

If you raise butterflies that hatch in late afternoon, it’s better to keep them overnight so their wings can properly dry. You can use potted milkweed plants or cuttings for monarch butterfly beds. They will rest comfortably all night hanging from milkweed pods.

Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed) and Asclepias curassavica (tropical milkweed) are two milkweed species that work well for this:

swamp milkweed pods make much better butterfly houses than ones you can buy in stores
What’s Your Pod Number?

Have you ever had to keep monarch butterflies overnight? Where did yours sleep? Please post comments below.

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  1. emk says

    I rescue monarch eggs from outdoors by bringing in the milkweed leaf & often stalk. They go through the stages & then I release them.

    I replace the sides of plastic tubs or Costco size containers with screening material. But now I have the opportunity to have a bigger structure built–not huge but at least 3′ x 3′ x 3′. I envision a wood frame to support screening 4 sides & top with access from one side to change water & add fresh mweed and eventually release bflies.

    Have any of you built or found such a thing? suggestions? ideas?

    • says

      Whatever you decide to use, make sure it’s easy to clean out to avoid potential disease outbreaks. I’m not sure if wood is the best option for a cage that needs frequent cleaning.

      If it’s outdoors, also keep in mind that ants can access bottomless structures.

      I will be covering some cage options in future blog posts…there are LOTS of options.

  2. Randi VS says

    A super easy an inexpensive “cage” is a collapsible mesh laundry hamper. I use 18″x26″ from Walmart on-line. It has a zipper top and can hold a large milkweed plant and saucer. Place newspaper in layers on the bottom and remove a layer each time cleaning is needed. Have a couple to alternate-makes deep cleaning easier.

    • says

      Hi Randi, I think a few of those can be good options, but you need one with super small mesh holes to deter caterpillar escapes.

      I have a mesh cage designed for caterpillars and it’s still possible for the 1/2 day old cats to slip through. I will check out target/walmart to see what I can find though…thanks!

      PS…I realize this post was about butterflies, but it’s nice to be able to use it for dual purposes.

  3. Heather says

    When I first began to dabble, I covered an old dog crate with mesh screen material. I made it so I could still open the door and remove the metal tray to clean and move plants, etcetera. I have also made covers with metal coat hangers (from the dry cleaners) and net tulle so I could hang it above plants and draw it closed at the bottom. I was having a major problem with wasps harming my caterpillars at the time.

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