Butterflies, like bees, contribute to the pollination of plants. Farming butterflies is something of a growing occupation [source: Insect Lore]. Many species of butterfly can be raised on a butterfly farm.
An average butterfly farm is about 2,500 square yards (2,000 square meters). The area should be filled with many plants known to be favored by butterflies as food and for depositing their eggs on, and should be bordered by a thick hedge. The pupae are gathered and sold soon after reaching the pupal stage [source: AMNH]. Here's how to make a butterfly farm:
- Decide what type of butterflies you'd like to farm.
- Plant flowers and other plants that provide the kind of food the butterflies like to eat and lay their eggs on within the area of the farm. The foliage should be densely planted. You can also plant fruit trees, such as lemon trees, in your butterfly farm.
- Plant thick, flowering hedges along the perimeter of the farm. The hedge should have flowers that produce large amounts of nectar, such as hibiscus.
- Allow the female butterflies will lay eggs on the preferred plants when they are attracted to your farm.
- Allow the caterpillars that hatch from the eggs to feed on their favorite plants on your farm. The caterpillars will shed their skin and pupate.
- Keep the growing pupae safe from any predators, such as ants. You can do this by moving the eggs to a secure environment. For example, you can put them into little cages with legs, and then stand the cages in water.
- Spray a small amount of water on the pupae a few times a week to prevent them from getting too dry [source: UNESCO].
- Gather and sell the pupae. These butterflies are perfect for butterfly houses [source: AMNH].