butterfly house – the plan

  • This topic is empty.
  • Creator
    Topic
  • #15070

    YvonneWallis
    Participant

    after these extreme winds which caused me to realise any cheaper greenhouse would be destroyed I have revisited the original butterfly house idea. Original butterfly house was in old stables with bird netting on sun side.The problems were- birds picked holes and got in, parasitic wasps and pests (weren’t aware of the nasties to start with),not enough light in central house and frost getting in. Got hubby to build small enclosure inside around the native nettle but the wasps still got in and I couldn’t get them and the stagnant air in there I got problems with mildewy type fungi on plants.Rolled over frost cloth over stable door ways which was reasonably affective except wind would break support sticks.Wanted Paul(hubby to put plastic over the open side but he said it would be a big problem with wind in the U shaped barn and would create to much moisture and rot out barn. Suggest putting polycarbonate in the middle of each bay on the roof instead of the iron but that was a problem and would create leeks..WELL I have put my foot down and told him the plan and he has accepted..it is the most sensible and cheapest, strongest solution… Chicken netting on the open side on outside to stop the birds, Biomesh on the inside of that wall to stop the nasties,overlap on outside of door join. Polycarbonate will go in the roof, even if I have to pay for a carpenter to do it.Frost tender plants at the back and frost cloth put over them if required..YAY!

Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 53 total)
  • Author
    Replies
  • #29919

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    Conditions for hibernation include shortening daylight hours, temperature and other signals to the various animals that do hibernate, some of which we may be unaware of, so my preference is to let them decide themselves.
    With butterfly raising I must admit I prefer to keep conditions as close to nature as practical, but everyone has their own system.

    #29903

    Anna
    Participant

    I wonder when they start to hibernate? It would have to be a lot colder than it is at the moment wouldn’t it? I notice they have a feed then return to their roost. Would I be better to just leave them?

    #29893

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    Possibly Bernie was hinting that if the butterflies are taken down from their roosting position each afternoon to feed they will not go into hibernation and therefore not overwinter.

    #29892

    Anna
    Participant

    Yes Bernie, I’m hoping to overwinter some. I hope to get another generation after this one as well as some more larvae…fingers crossed though! (Last year I had Red Admiral butterflies till August, then let them go as we were heading away on holiday)

    #29891

    Bernie
    Participant

    Hi Anna
    Just a quick question.Are you planning for the adults to overwinter?The reason I ask is that for the past two years,I have overwintered larvae of our reds(v.atalanta) in GB as well as trying to get the adults through.I won’t be able to log in again for a week though.
    Bernie F.

    #29889

    Anna
    Participant

    I had been wondering how I’d be able to catch the Red Admirals that want to roost high up in the rafters as I make sure all have had a feed before dark…but I’ve now got it down to a fine art.
    I gently reach up with a broom, and they either step on it, or flutter down within easy reach and then I can put them on the nectar dishes. Its funny to see some circle the feeding table several times, then land, once they have learned to feed there, and their tongue unfurls as they head towards the dish!

    #29862

    Anna
    Participant

    Thanks Yvonne, I can take more photos and post them on here….but its pinging down with rain at the mo, so I’ll wait till its sunny again. (Much needed rain, so I dare not complain.)
    The beauty of a Gazebo is that if it ever ceases to be for butterflies, it would make a great BBQ, entertaining area etc. I will probably have to hunt out more substantial netting in the future, but its okay at the moment, and makes it really good to see through.

    #29857

    YvonneWallis
    Participant

    nice Anna, any chance of seeing more photo’s now it is completely set up??

    #29840

    Anna
    Participant

    They’ve started pairing now so they must feel settled in, so thats good.

    #29837

    Terry
    Participant

    Hi Anna

    Great news, it all seems to be working well for you!

    #29818

    Anna
    Participant

    Hi Terry. Since taking the photo, I have varied the height of some of the plants… I also give the concrete floor, and plants a light spray with the hose to keep moisture levels up, and also at dusk make sure each butterfly has had a feed by placing them in the dishes of nectar. The hungry ones unfurl their tongues and start feeding, but I have noticed that once introduced to the nectar they tend to fly down and help themselves to it, as well as nectaring on the zinnias, and buddleia.

    #29816

    Terry
    Participant

    Sorry Jacqui! I think I am starting to get those senior moments as we call them over here. I clicked once and because it did not immediately enlarge I did not think to click a second time. I see now that it does indeed enlarge and I must say the Butterfly House looks even better than last time when I looked at the smaller picture. It is a very good design and solid construction. The only change I would make were it mine and this is not a criticism just a personal preference and from my experience of captive butterfly behaviour, is to put in benches around the inside, or part of, at waist height, to firstly make it easier to work in, and secondly I also find that butterflies when confined tend to stay in the upper part of the structure so they find the food-plants and nectar plants easier if they are at varying levels, so I would have plants on the floor and benches.

    #29809

    Anna
    Participant

    Thanks for posting the photos for me Jacqui.
    I am really pleased with the Gazebo so far. The Admirals have settled in, and today I have been watching one oviposit eggs on a chatham Island nettle. I hope they are fertile as they have been fairly shy about pairing.

    #29800

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Isn’t it fantastic. Just been taking another look – and they do enlarge for me, Terry. I clicked to select, then clicked again to enlarge it, then clicked again and it opened up in a new tab, with the option of clicking again to zoom in.

    A lot of clicking, but that’s the way the system works… and it works.

    #29799

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Wow Anna I love your butterfly house.

    #29792

    Terry
    Participant

    I have just looked at Anna’s photos of Gazebo/Butterfly House. I must say it appears very good. A pity picture does not enlarge when clicked on. I would like a closer look at netting and roof covering. Very sturdy looking and should last many years. I hope it is working well and you have lot’s of success.

    #29790

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Anna’s photos here now:

    Gazebo butterfly house…first day

    #29786

    YvonneWallis
    Participant

    Thanks again..I am thinking at the moment of another compromise..it wont be a house with lots of butterflies flying around though..keep stables for feed plants and have another box which I put a couple of plants in and is light for butterflies.If I put a couple of pairs of each sort in the lighter box then release when they have laid eggs and then take the caterpillars off to the caterpillar house where main food supply is, then when new batch emerge repeat the process, releasing the excess. I have these frames from Jacqui knight that although are not really for outside may last a couple of seasons. They are 4 wooden frames 1.2m x 2.4m with this clear plastic over. I can link them with biomesh and put biomesh on top and maybe put the biomesh over the plastic too, so I have a box 2.4 square and high and then when winter comes hopefully frost cloth over will protect the plants or I can take them back into the caterpillar house.

    #29773

    Terry
    Participant

    How strange! Anna must have been writing her post exactly the same time as I was, because I only just noticed her post that popped in just above mine answering the question I posed about Gazebo’s, so it looks like everything will work out in the end!

    Don’t give up Yvonne!

    #29772

    Anna
    Participant

    ps/ I did post photos…but they haven’t shown up unfortunatley.

    #29771

    YvonneWallis
    Participant

    thanks for all the support it is a major set back but will have a breather concentrate on the caterpillars and think about a future option since the compromise of the stables just didn’t work

    #29770

    Terry
    Participant

    Hi Bernie

    Thanks for you comment, I sometimes tend to over explain things and confuse people but at least I know that this time I was understood. Writing things down is harder than explaining face to face or better still being able to show someone on location, if that makes sense?

    If I lived in New Zealand I could have built a cage like my old Orange tip cage for Yvonne, (I enjoy projects like that) I don’t want to see anyone give up because of a setback like this one, It is so disheartening when you have high hopes and it all goes wrong. Anyway it’s impossible to build the cage for Yvonne seeing as I am on the other side of the world just like your good self.

    Good luck with your Red Admirals (atalanta). I read (ELG newsletter I think it was?) you have found many over-wintering larvae

    #29769

    Terry
    Participant

    Hi Yvonne

    I have seen on the forum that some members of Monarch Trust have converted Gazebo type structures to house butterflies, It would not be too expensive I “guess” (Don’t know much about prices in NZ as I am in UK) to do a similar thing. Gazebo’s are normally quite sturdy and when wrapped in netting with a door added for entry and of course placed in a position for maximum sunlight I am sure it would prove successful. As I stated before, number 1 priority is always maximum sunlight mid summer, then worry about temperature extremes. I don’t know which part of New Zealand you are in and I do realise there is a wide range of weather zones, West coast wetter than East coast. North Island sub tropical South Island more temperate like England. I ask this because you mentioned Snow load and wondered how much you get over the winter season. But even a standard size gazebo structure would do the trick if placed correctly and of course you would then feel less disappointed over what has gone before. Maybe some other members who have tried and been successful with the gazebo type structures could help Yvonne out?
    I don’t know if you ever saw my portable cage on legs I used to have to breed my Orange Tip butterflies from year to year but something similar, or for Monarchs slightly larger would do the job adequately. It is not a replacement for a walk-in structure but is a good compromise and of course with two people one each end can be moved to different locations to maximise potential.

    https://picasaweb.google.com/trsmithers/ButterfliesByTheVanessaMan#5475976279388619106

    Sadly this is not the best picture for showing the whole cage but you can see it is an Oblong structure covered in ultrafine insect netting and had one zip sown in to the back panel netting for hand access and one end panel was removable to slide in pots and trays with food-plant in. It had four legs strengthened with cross beams and stood about 2ft high so I could sit next to it in the late spring and study the butterflies as they went about there breeding cycle. The cage lasted nearly 10 Years before starting to fall apart but by that time I was concentrating on my Yellow Admiral project so never repaired it.

    #29768

    Anna
    Participant

    Don’t give up Yvonne. I decided to get a kitset gazebo… (using money I had saved for a trip to visit a sister in the UK.)…and I am really pleased with the result.
    I went to http://www.gazebo.co.nz and looked at all the options, and the people there were fantastic. I told them I wanted it for a butterfly house. It is all up and running, and only took a few weeks. Once my Hubby realised I was serious, and the Gazebo was on its way, he pitched in with some of the practical stuff. We got a builder in to put it up, and everything was really straight forward.
    I was going to have a zip up door, but in the end decided to cover all the sides in mesh, and have a ranchslider on the southern side to make it easy to get in and out of, and to provide a bit of shelter from southerlies.
    I transferred all the Admirals from my temporary butterfly house, into this new one, and they are all doing well.
    Mine is a 4 metre Octagonal one as we have a big lawn, but you can get smaller versions if need be.
    I put wine barrel in the centre for a feeding table.
    I’ll post a couple of photos…it will look better once the plants get more established and the lawn grows back.
    The mesh is really fine…its black, and very see through…and may need replacing in time.
    I have two clear roof panels to let more light through.

    #29765

    YvonneWallis
    Participant

    Thanks Terry, but this unfortunately means that i wont be able to use these stables as a butterfly house. 🙁 Even if the hubby let me remove the back iron and put on duralite it would still be less bright than the from north facing sun side and i can’t put more roofing panels of duralite ,or polycarbonate if I suddenly came in to money, because of the problem with snow load. I put the white sheets up the top at the back thinking they would like the reflected light and sunbathing but obviously not enough..looks like it is back to a caterpillar shelter 🙁 I got 4 panels from Jacqui left over from the Christchurch displays but hubby informs me the platic is no good for outside…looks like my dream is gone again as the greenhouse ideas i was looking at was expensive and i thought the alterations to the stables might have been okay..back to scratch 🙁

Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 53 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.