A Butterfly House That Actually Works!?

Butterfly houses make great homes…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.

Share the Joy of Butterflies

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  1. I need help in understanding how to use a butterfly house. I purchased one and don’t know where to put it or how to put it, if on a pole, post, building or just what and how to maintain it. Thanks

    1. Hi Melody, butterflies don’t use butterfly houses…they are garden decor.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    1. 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.

  4. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. We buy lizzard, chameleon cages..found on craigslist, close5,and offer up..the taller the better. And put 5gal milkweed..until chrystalsis wish I could send photos..

    2. Emk, my wife and I built a 3’x2’x3′ tall nursery. To get the nursery to the right level we used 6′ tall 2″x3″ corner posts and used 2×3 to support the 2’x3′ wood deck. The top framing is 1″x2″ lumber all glued and screwed. For the netting we purchased wedding veil material and stapled from outside. Our nursery is on the screened in porch out of the weather. Using the 2’x3’x6′ dimensions you can buy 8′ stock materials and not waste materials. We used Velcro to fasten the netting to the 3’x3′ front on both sides and bottom then roll it up to check out nursery for cleaning and swapping out plants. We have posted various pictures on Facebook to see! Good luck.

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