When to Release butterflies after hatching is the culmination of a beautiful process that makes you appreciate these little creatures. After about 20 days, the larvae will have turned into a chrysalis and now a butterfly is about to emerge.
That means you should be ready to release the newly hatched butterflies. However, you don’t want to mess up at this stage. So, it’s best to know the right way to do it, to increase their chance of survival.
That’s what this article is all about. I will cover what you should do after hatching, how to handle the butterflies, and the right way to release them, especially if there are kids involved.
How long should I keep my butterflies before releasing them?
When a butterfly hatches, don’t touch, or interfere with it. Instead, just observe and let it stay for at least two hours to fully develop.
When a butterfly hatches, it’s weak with crumpled wings. It will then start swaying for blood to flow through the veins to the wings.
You may be interested in reading our Article on Facts about Butterfly Wings : Anatomy, Functions, Colors
Slowly, the shriveled wings will become bigger, stronger, and more beautiful.
During this time, the two separate tongues will coil and uncoil continuously until they form a connected tube. After these two processes, the butterfly is now ready to fly and feed.
Should you Feed the Young Butterflies?
It’s optional. You can decide to feed them or release them immediately. If you decide to feed them, it’s simple.
Things to feed the newly hatched butterflies include:
- Nectar-bearing flowers
- Overripe banana, a slice of orange or apple but make sure to scrub the cut surface to make it easy for the butterflies to sip.
- A mixture of water and sugar
- Soak a piece of cotton in Gatorade and place it inside the cage.
After feeding them, the next thing is checking the weather to make sure it’s the best time to release them.
When Should you Release Butterflies After Hatching?
After the newly hatched butterflies have stayed for at least 2 hours to fully develop, it’s now time to check the weather and make sure the conditions are right. Here are a few tips regarding the weather.
Don’t Release Butterflies if it’s Raining
If it’s raining, don’t release the butterflies. Instead, feed them and put them in a bigger cage, and wait for the rain to stop. Butterflies don’t fly when it’s raining, they hide and wait for the rain to stop. If a butterfly gets wet, it must wait until all the water evaporates.
If a butterfly is rained on, it gets cold making it weak. Secondly, the raindrops may also damage the wings, especially for newly hatched butterflies.
Release the Butterflies When There is Light and Warmth
Since butterflies are cold-blooded, they need heat to warm and activate their bodies to get the energy to fly. That’s why butterflies are active in the afternoon but disappear after sunset or if it’s cloudy.
Release butterflies only when the temperatures are between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, check the forecast and make sure it will be sunny for at least a few hours after the release to give the butterflies time to explore the garden.
Don’t Release When its Windy or at Night
Like most other small flying creatures, butterflies avoid flying when it’s windy. This is because it’s tiring and harder than flying when it’s warm and calm. Also, don’t release butterflies at night. It’s cold for butterflies to fly and it exposes them to predators. Butterflies need time and sunlight to find the perfect spot to roost.
If the weather is not ideal, wait until the next day but make sure the weather is friendly before releasing them. If they hatch at night, feed them, and release them in a bigger cage and wait till the following day.
How do you Release Butterflies?
Here comes the most important event, releasing the little beautiful creatures to where they belong. However, it’s key to make sure you are doing it right.
You don’t want to do all the hard work for the butterflies to end up not surviving.
First things first, make sure it’s sunny and warm.
Don’t release them if it’s raining, windy, or cold.
Also, make sure they have stayed for at least two hours after hatching for them to fully develop and gain the strength to fly.
1. Releasing the Butterflies Manually
This is the ideal way for those without a butterfly mesh cage. After the butterflies have hatched and stayed for more than 2 hours, stretch your fingers towards them to get a surface to crawl and hang. Make sure you are gentle and check if its fully off the chrysalis.
After landing on your hands use your other hand to cover it and make sure you are not pressing it. Then bring it outside but make sure the weather is friendly.
When it comes to releasing you, open your palms and let the butterfly rest as it enjoys the sunlight, then it will fly away when it’s ready.
The best method, however, is hanging the butterfly on a raised surface where it can receive direct sunlight. This can be on a tree branch, rope, or house plant. Any surface where the butterfly can hang from below. After some time, the butterfly will fly away.
2. Using a Butterfly Cage
Here you will need a cage where you will transfer the chrysalis when they are about to hatch. When the butterflies hatch, bring the cage outside, where it will rest for at least 2 hours for the butterflies to fully form.
Make sure you are gentle so that the butterflies don’t fall from their chrysalises.
Place the cage in an area with direct sunlight and make sure the door is closed and facing on top. You can hang the cage or place it on the ground. If it’s a bit windy, put a stone or a heavy object on the base to keep it stable to prevent it from being carried away by the wind.
Now give the butterflies at least 2 hours to fully develop – you can also feed them. If the weather is friendly after two hours, open the door and let the butterflies fly away.
You can help them by letting them rest on your fingers and releasing them or letting them find their way out.
3. Other Places to Release Butterflies
Apart from releasing the butterflies in your garden, you can release butterflies during any of these events or places.
- If there is an elementary school in your neighborhood, you can arrange and have the kids release the butterflies. Naturally, kids love butterflies because of how beautiful they are. They are calm and friendly, unlike most other insects. Children are also naturally curious.
- Another place where you can release butterflies is in a nursing home. Most seniors would love to have butterflies flying around, plus it makes the place feel peaceful. However, make sure there is a garden where butterflies can feed.
- During a wedding or burial. Many people say butterflies represent hope, peace, and comfort, making them ideal during weddings and burials. If a wedding or burial is happening in your area, ask the family members if they would love to participate in the release.
- Local Park. Another great home for the butterflies will be your local park. Since most local parts have all types of plants including flowers, butterflies will love such an ecosystem. You will also be contributing to the conservation and development of your local park.
- Other events where you can release butterflies include graduations, birthday parties, memorials, brand launches, etc.
What Happens After the Butterflies are Released?
After butterflies are released, they will fly and land on the nearest plant or flower. Depending on the weather they will either rest or keep hopping from one flower to another.
Frequently Asked Questions About Releasing Butterflies
What is the best time of the day to release butterflies?
The best time to release butterflies is any time when the weather is calm and sunny. Since butterflies are cold-blooded, they are not able to regulate their body temperatures. They rely on external sources of heat to warm their bodies.
The sun warms their body muscles enabling them to fly. Releasing the butterflies when it’s warm provides the energy to look for food and shelter and fly away from predators.
Can you release butterflies before it rains?
It’s not a good idea to release butterflies just when it’s about to rain. While rain does not harm butterflies, it’s harder for butterflies to fly when it’s raining, and the raindrops are heavy on them.
That’s why butterflies will find a place to hide when it’s raining and will only reappear when it’s calm and sunny.
How warm does it have to be to release butterflies?
Studies show that the ideal temperature for butterflies to fly and look for food is between 60 and 85 degrees. If it’s not warm enough, hold them longer until the temperatures are ideal.
Can you release butterflies in cold weather?
No, don’t release butterflies when it’s cold. The young butterflies won’t be able to fly around to look for food and shelter.
Releasing newly hatched butterflies requires utmost care to make sure the butterflies can survive. After butterfly’s hatch, give them at least 2 hours for them to gain strength and fully develop. After that, check the weather and if it’s friendly, release them.
Only release butterflies when it’s sunny and warm. Don’t release butterflies when it’s cold, raining, or extremely windy. If the weather is not friendly, let the butterflies rest and wait for the next day or until the weather is friendly. That’s why it’s a great idea to buy a butterfly cage.