butterfly house

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  • #15078

    YvonneWallis
    Participant

    This year it IS HAPPENING !!

    All info appreciated!!

    Is there a minimum height so they will be happy and mate?

    Will they over-winter in there and what plants are best for this?

    I am thinking I need an inside and outside layer so when one is damaged that can be replaced without letting in nasties. then I’ll need frost cloth again over tender feed plants.

    What is the minimum light required for butterflies,as some plastics let in less light than others? Hope to have monarchs,red & yellow admirals, magpie & cinnibar moths, common blue, coppers & tussock butterflies eventually.

    ALL ADVISE APPRECIATED as want to get as much right as I can.

    I intend to let out excess butterflies but keep some in the safe environment for breeding.

    What is the desired temperature range? summer and for over-wintering?

Viewing 24 replies - 1 through 24 (of 24 total)
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  • #29110

    YvonneWallis
    Participant

    Paul (hubby) says it will be a long job but I have my draw card..if I don’t see anything happen for too long I will threaten him with a CARPENTER.. LOL.. meanwhile I have found the chicken netting and some second hand Durolite on trade me that might do the trick..he has to suss out to make sure the same shape ridges as the existing iron as he is going to alternate iron with Duralite so it is still strong as a long area. Chicken netting on trade me as well but new and the company just around the road from Paul’s work..meant to be! 1800 wide which will be good as only need one join for the height. 1800 by 50m $329..I thought that wasn’t bad

    #29100

    Charlotte
    Participant

    LOL Oh Anna I love your ideas;-)

    Yes Norm your butterfly house is awesome;-)
    Hire a hubby Jacqui (only if they are cheap though. If you could get the wood cheap and have draw up a plan for your butterfly house, and then have the Hire a Hubby’s build it.
    Or a retired builder;-)who has time on his hands.

    #29097

    Anna
    Participant

    I think what would be great would be some enterprising person to come up with simple plans for a medium sized gazebo style butterfly enclosure, that wouldn’t cost the earth, so we could show some clever builder the plan, hand over a bit of money, and ye-ha…there it is.
    Surely if we can fly people to the moon, someone could russle up the plans.
    …fingers crossed…eh?

    #29096

    YvonneWallis
    Participant

    Don’t give up Jacqui..I was so discouraged with all the problems i had with the stable butterfly house but now I have new hope..we can rebuild it bigger & better than before…. LOL

    #29093

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Well I thought I finally had a butterfly house but now the zip has broken on the netting. I give up!

    Norm, how about some photos of yours? It’s so well made, well thought out. I bet we all wish we had a “Norm” around, or an “Al” to make us a butterfly house. (sigh).

    #29081

    YvonneWallis
    Participant

    yes..trouble is that swan plants and nettles die back because of weather conditions.when I have bought plants even though they look clean each one has come with a new meany..white fly one batch..last season yellow aphid this season a tiny black aphid which i had spent the morning squishing..and these are in the home I thought if i can prevent as much as possible it will make life a little easier 😀 I also had trouble with the seedlings grown in the home as they got some fungal thing..have since read they need rain down on them when small..hopefully the conditions will be better in the new improved butterfly house.

    #29068

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    “so you would still have problems with the aphids and white fly..” The answer is no I have no problem with aphids or whitefly. One advantage of a smaller enclosure is that I can keeep a close watch on the plants and deal with any aphids and whitefly by just squishing them before they get a chance to build in numbers. My aim is to replicate conditions of nature while controlling the insects that are a problem to the butterflies, so I still have the odd aphid or whitefly – no problem – vigilance is always a necessary requirement in breeding and rearing butterflies, but it not necessarily constant vigilance. There is no such thing as a maintenance – free butterfly house, and anyone that has one will tell you it IS time consuming.

    #29065

    YvonneWallis
    Participant

    Thanks for that Norm..have finally got the solution i think..see under my other post..”Butterfly house-The Plan”

    so you would still have problems with the aphids and white fly..was this constant vigilance or how do you overcome this problem?

    #29061

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    Hi Yvonne, sorry for the delay in answering, I have been away.
    The shade cloth keep nearly all the critters out, except for Pteromalus puparum, the pupal parasitoid. The wasp does not attack the larvae, only the freshly formed pupae, and the system I use is to place the larvae near to pupating on a potted hostplant and place both into a cage covered with very fine muslin, which sits on a shelf in the butterfly house. The larvae will climb to the top of the cage when ready and pupate safely on the inside top of the cage. When the butterfly emerges I can then observe it and record any data before releasing it, either into the butterfly house to mate or outside to the garden.
    If I had a bigger back yard I would have built a 3m x 2m butterfly house, but the 2m x 2m is adequate.

    #29038

    YvonneWallis
    Participant

    yes..a tough decision..if I won lotto the decision would be much easier..have to get a few prices now and decide the best way to go,,the biggest i can go without feeling too guilty money wise 🙂

    #29031

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Your welcome Yvonne. You will decide what you want and how big you want it;-)

    #29019

    YvonneWallis
    Participant

    …And great looking houses Char, thanks for sharing and thanks for posting Jacqui

    #29014

    YvonneWallis
    Participant

    Some great stuff thanks, Norm & Charlotte..
    Norm, what do you do to stop the little parasitic wasps and pests ? Is it just constant vigilance? So it sounds like you don’t need a big area for them to breed successfully then? So it wouldn’t have to be the size that Clinton was saying for them to breed. Yes, Charlotte, ideally I would love it if I could sit in there on occasion and wallow in their wonderfulness. i was hoping if they breed in the enclosure,layed eggs and i released excess i would always have more coming on and not have to try to transfer the caterpillars in to the safe environment as they would always be there.Norm there is a biomesh that even keeps out white fly and I thought if I had a separate entrance with plants in this to deter nasties it might help.Also if I was going for an expensive option they can have an annex with a fan that sucks the air out as you enter this. I was thinking the plastic cover which rolls up on sides and has the biomesh on the inside..roof vents with biomesh too. was thinking frost cloth on the inside but perhaps a more rigid roof like the polycarbonate corrugated roofing would be better.If I was going smaller i could do what you do Norm and remove plastic cover in summer..then I could have the biomesh on the inside. Would there be a problem with stagnant air and fungis/moulds in winter without the ventilation though? if it was the bigger one I was thinking large plastic coke drums filled with water as a heat retainer for more even temperature. Jane, I checked with the council today and anything over 10sqm does require a permit, even though carport don’t at 20sqm because they have 3 open walls. I was hoping to have it big enough for nectar plants and them to fly around happy and introduce feed plants as required and not to depletion.I could have biomesh cover walkway between nectar butterfly area and feed plant area but 10 sqm doesn’t sound very bis for the butterflies to be happy in since I would be wanting to retain some in there. I might have to do small hog and wait for lotto for the full hog….thanks for the imput and keep it coming

    #29003

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Charlotte’s photographs are here:

    Butterfly/caterpillar house

    Other butterfly house

    #29001

    Charlotte
    Participant

    With the glass butterfly house all Al did was screw the ranch sliders to the frame work of the deck.

    Yvonne we never tired to breed in this butterfly house. I guess they would have if we had tried.

    In our other butterfly enclosure (netted one)we breed very successfully in this one. We usually just put a female and a male in and wait a few days and then the plants are covered with eggs. Then we let the male go and just keep the female for a few more days to capture more eggs. Then we let her go as well.

    If you live in cooler regions then I would do what Norm has done and put up removable plastic sides for the winter. Then in the summer you can remove these.

    If you live in a hotter climate then I would just go for a mesh butterfly house. It depends on BUDGET and size as to what you want to achieve.

    Yvonne do you want to be able to sit inside your butterfly house and enjoy the butterflies flying around? but like Norm says be prepared for lots of hours to look after the venture.
    As we only do this on a small scale and just with Monarchs at present and it takes up a fair bit of time with us both working.

    #28999

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    Hi Yvonne,
    Well obviously a boat is more important than butterflies LOL. You may have to compromise between the ideal set-up and what is affordable and practical. A butterfly house with heating or some form of temperature control, lighting, and an overhead watering system will handle most of your needs, but will be expensive (sell the boat). A pest free environment is unlikely as a winged aphid or whitefly can and will hitch a ride in to the enclosure on clothing, however with a sharp eye they can be controlled before reaching a problem stage. My butterfly house is a mere 2m x 2m x 2m high covered with shade cloth with no heating or lighting facility, but is wrapped in horticultural grade clear plastic film each winter to keep temeratures up, and removed early summer to prevent the enclosure getting too hot. The structure is roofed over the shade cloth with corrugated clear plastic sheets which protects from frosts and heavy downpours. This enables me breed Yellow Admirals throughout the year, Red Admirals, Common Blue, Long Tailed Blue and Common copper, although not necessarily all together, as each species can have different requirements. Red Admirals, Blues and Coppers are seasonal, with Blues and Coppers only having a life of about 7-10 days, with 2 or 3 broods per year. The Yellow Admirals will breed throughout the year given moderately warm temperatures, whereas the Monarchs and Red Admiral needs colder conditions to overwinter.
    Be prepared for lots of hours to look after the venture.

    #28998

    YvonneWallis
    Participant

    Hi Char,
    I think I have seen photo’s of this in the past..By memory, it didn’t have anything to stop the wee pests getting in through the roof..so that and the frosts would also have to be a consideration..Do your butterflies mate in there or is it for the raring? if i have to rely on the hubby to do it it just wont get done as he is busy building a boat..half of me is trying to be economical but I don’t want to go to the trouble getting something that doesn’t work properly and i spend the rest of my natural days crushing small parastic wasps/white fly/aphids and transferring the eggs and caterpillars before they get got from outside..I was hoping if I had it right they would breed, lay eggs and I would let go the surplus adults

    #28995

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hi Charlotte – that sounds great! Could you post photographs here for others to see, please? You could send them to photos@monarch.org.nz

    How much did the total cost work out at?

    Anything you’d suggest others could “improve on” if they were in a cooler region – or hotter climate too?

    #28993

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Hi Yvonne,

    We purchased 2 ranch sliders and a door off Trade Me for $100.
    This was a bargain Yvonne. The butterfly house is only a small house, but big enough for what we want to achieve. I would LOVE a BIG butterfly house, but I think this wont happen;-( (too much work for Al to do). We have bird netting on the inside for the caterpillars to climb up and pupate. It has one window that stays open in Summer and has shade cloth down it. The roof is made of shade cloth. I can send you some photos if you like?

    Yes I agree Heather the WET windy north island;-)

    #28987

    YvonneWallis
    Participant

    thanks hshingles 🙂 That’s a thought Jane I think it is anything over 10sqm and it might make a difference if it is wooden foundations rather than concrete..will do some more inquiring.

    #28985

    Jane
    Participant

    In some councils, the permit rules don’t apply if the floor is soil rather than concrete.

    #28984

    hshingles
    Participant

    Char will look in, I will tell her 🙂
    Al and Char have a set up that you could follow , but of course we are in the wet windy north island, we don’t get snow , very often!!

    #28971

    YvonneWallis
    Participant

    Hi Clinton,
    I am near Christchurch not far from Banks Penisula where the tussock butterflies are.
    Shade cloth wont do for the walls as that will allow the entry of the parasitic wasps that attack the Admirals as well as aphids,white fly and ants. There is a biomesh thatr is small enough to stop all of these. I need it to be warm enough in winter as we get cold temperatures here so was thinking plastic and an inside frost cloth may stop the feed plants from dying. I don’t want to take plants into the sterile enviroment incase there are some aphids/white fly hiding was going to be patient and grow feed plants by seed once set up, although some small buddleias that don’t seem to have the above pests might be ok. The size of 8 x 3 metre means a permit 🙁 I thought i might be able to avoid this by have two 3×3 metre with a link and having nectar plants in one and feed plants in the other introducing a potted food plant as required and taking back to feed area then tranferring large pupae back to nectar house on potted plants when due to crysallise. Would this are not be enough? I was originally looking at a large tunnel house of 7.5m x 12m but was trying to get something more budget friendly but might have to get something bigger then. You say wouldn’t frame..is the powder coated metal pipes they have in tunnel houses unsuitable? I was trying to avoid the build you own alternative as the hubby just doesn’t have the time and i want it done, but sounds like I might have to go to my original pyramid design the I planned myself anbd get a carpenter in.

    #28966

    clinton9
    Participant

    You need least a 8 X 3 metres cool hothouse, with height 3 metres.

    Use the shade clothes for walls, with wooden posts for frames

    Before you build the butterfly house, you need to have lot of potted foodplants for caterpillars and buddleias for butterflies.

    Ideal temperature : Around 20oC-25oC.

    You have to be careful not to let insects come in to eat the caterpillars. Clever & cruel Asian wasps will try to get in to murder the caterpillars.

    Floor of butterfly house, may have to be cement or sandy.

    Forget about tussock butterflies as they live in South Island only and are very difficult to find and collect.

Viewing 24 replies - 1 through 24 (of 24 total)

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