Moths and Butterflies

Moths and Butterflies can be raised successfully indoors. Many types are not only fun and beneficial to raise, but can also produce a range of salable products.

You'll need a dedicated space to raise them. Caterpillars start out very small, and end up pretty big in comparison to their size at hatching. A single 1 quart plastic container will hold several dozen eggs and hatchlings, but will only be sufficient for a few caterpillars that are in the final growth phase prior to cocooning. Many people use gallon sized jars for the full sized caterpillars, with just a few per jar. Consider that when determining how much space you need, and how many you can raise at one time.

You do need a source of the food supply that they require. This usually means leaves from specific types of trees or plants for the caterpillars. Many adult moths do not eat, butterflies require nectar.

The great thing about raising moths and butterflies is that if you start with varieties that grow near you naturally (and which are not considered pests), you may be able to find them under lights, or in the garden and capture bred females. Eggs and cocoons are also available through many mail order sources (regulations prevent the transport of certain kinds, so be aware that many rare ones are not available).

Potential business lines include:

  • Eggs
  • Cocoons
  • Dead adults (as specimens, framed or unframed, in craft items, etc)
  • Instructional materials
  • Kits
  • Photos
  • Supplies (cages, containers, etc)

Like any other salable crop, the trick is in getting the customers when the product is ready. Eggs and cocoons have limited sale times, so customers need to be paid and waiting when eggs are laid, and available to purchase cocoons prior to the eclose period (cocoons sometimes winter over, and sometimes develop right through and eclose right away).

This is an option you might want to research if you have limited amounts of room, no ability to farm outside, and need an indoor income line.

Moths and butterflies can also be raised out of doors.


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