"I saw your website, during lock-down. Raising butterflies has became a much loved hobby and I am keen to do it again this Summer (hopefully without a lock-down) but I want a butterfly castle. We have a terrible paper wasp problem in our area and last Summer it was a full time job trying to protect the caterpillars. I have looked at caterpillar castles on the Monarch Butterfly Trust website but even their jumbo castle is only 60cm x 60cm x 1m and I was hoping for something bigger.
Have you any suggestions? I could perhaps make something but prefer to buy one."
"There are a lot of people raising butterflies in small containers. I saw a lady in the States who lives in a small apartment. She had about 20 jumbo castles with Monarchs at all different stages. She laid all the castles on their sides, and set them on shelves all around one of her rooms. It was a real labour of love. She placed a few fresh milkweed leaves in each castle each day. She grew the plants outside and picked the leaves as she needed them for the caterpillars. She reportedly had raised 500 butterflies that season.
Sometimes you just have to be inventive for butterfly raising. Did you see on my website where I suspended a mosquito net over swan plants I had planted in pots. As the plants in each pot wast eaten, I would remove the pot and put in another plant.
On another occasion I draped the mosquito net over an old planter frame and set swan plants in pots under that. Even later I made a higher frame for the mosquito net, out of 4 tall wooden plant stakes that I bought at a large hardware store. I attached them to a plastic saucer from a pot plant, stood that up tall and supported the base of the stakes with rocks. Then I draped the mosquito net over the frame and set my milkweed plants in pots under that.
At one stage we did build a special butterfly house, however I gave it away in the end because too many spiders, cockroaches and earwigs crawled in and killed the caterpillars. To me, it was more trouble than it was worth."