Transferring Live Butterflies

Instructions for Transferring Live Butterflies for your Release…

    Your butterflies were shipped to you in individual envelopes to preserve their wing condition and to encourage them to enter a state of dormancy during shipping.  It is best to keep your butterflies in this sleep like state for as long as possible. 

    As you decide when to transfer your butterflies you should keep in mind that it is best to make the transfer in a small room with a low ceiling.  And that you should transfer the butterflies at the latest possible time that is convenient and free of stress. If transferring the butterflies into a cardboard butterfly release box or one of our “Easy Transfer” butterfly release boxes, you can do this the evening before if it is a morning Funeral or the day of the Funeral if it is later in the morning or the afternoon.  Once the butterflies are in the box, however, your must store them in a cool, dark place (such as a closet) until you are ready to transport them to your event.  Just prior to releasing, however, you do want them to be in temperatures of 65 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer, since they need to be warm to fly.
If you are transferring them into a net hanging cage, a tabletop cage or a sheer box, we recommend you do this an hour or two before the event begins, to prevent wing damage.  If the box is solid or covered, you may transfer them earlier.  Keeping the cage or sheer box in a cool, low light condition will help keep the butterflies calm.  When placing them outdoors do not place the butterflies in strong direct sunlight as this may make them too active. Dappled sunshine is the best or even shade.  However, try to release them in a sunny area so that they are encouraged to fly.  In a display cage, flowers, ferns, and stems with leaves will help provide some shade for them if they are outdoors.  The time of day will make a difference also.  Later in the day, temperatures are cooler so the sunshine will not stimulate them as much.

    Transfer Steps
Place the insulated butterfly box (the box that they were shipped in) with the butterflies still in the envelopes and the lid closed, into a normal household type refrigerator (NOT THE FREEZER) for 20 – 30minutes—just before you are ready to transfer them.
    2- Prepare the butterfly display cage, organza box or other container.  With a cardboard release box, you will need to line the box’s sides with paper toweling or tulle.  This will give the butterflies a place to perch themselves
    3- Ensure your hands are clean and dry.  Should you need to handle a butterfly, the oils from your skin will not affect the conditions of the wings.
    4- Remove the butterflies from the refrigerator and take them with the box or the cage into a small room with low ceilings (a bathroom is perfect) and shut the door while you are making the transfer. It is perfectly normal for them not to move when refrigerated. This is the Monarch hibernation response to cold weather.
    5- Pick up each envelope and hold it just inside the box or the cage, open/unfold the envelope and gently slide the butterfly onto the bottom of the box or cage.  As they warm up, the butterflies will slowly move their wings and. Again This is normal.  Keep up your work until all the butterflies are transferred, and then quickly close the lid of the box or netting.

Tip! Butterflies are attracted to light, so the Monarch will fly toward a window or other source of light in the room.  Simply pick it up with the wings closed, close to the body.  Alternately, you can cup your hands around the Monarch and place it back into the box/cage.

You should be able to transfer all the butterflies into your box or cage with no escapees.  However, should a butterfly escape during the transfer process, you will need to recapture it.  No problem.  Despite what you have always been told, handling a butterfly gently with your fingers will not harm it or affect the butterfly's flight. 

Instructions are available online 24/7 for download.



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