This is “fun science” and a great product. I bought this in Febuary from Amazon, and quickly received the caterpillar larvae from Insect Lore after submitting the coupon information and paying the shipping online. The caterpillars hatched about a week after the larvae arrived. A couple weeks after they hatched, they started making their chrysalides. A few weeks after that, they hatched into beautiful painted lady butterflies. The process occurred exactly as the directions and all those science classes you’ve had over the years said it would. Living it and watching the process in real life is much better than reading about it. We all loved having pet butterflies.
The whole process takes about two months, depending on how long you keep the butterflies in their cage before releasing them. The cage is a cheap Chinese made product that is adequate for the purpose but could probably be done better. We wished that we had a larger environment for the butterflies to fly around in. My sister vetoed my niece’s idea to let them fly around the house. I was in favor of the idea. All 5 of the larvae hatched into caterpillars, and in the long run resulted in 5 butterflies.
A lot of reviews on Amazon complain about the pricing of this product, but I think that it is fairly priced and actually a good deal if you do it through Amazon. Insect Lore is not a fly by night Internet company that is doing this to make a quick buck. They have been developing and selling these sorts of experiences since the late 1960s. Their model of selling the kit, and having their customers mail in for the larva may not seem optimized for the internet age, but considering the “shelf life” issues, and the fact that they started as a mail order operation makes it understandable. They have optimized the process somewhat by allowing the coupon information to be submitted online.
One word of caution, it may not be the best thing to get for Christmas since you may have to wait until spring to get your caterpillars. They will send them in the winter, but you don’t want the butterflies to die on you or freeze to death if you let them go.
The bottom line on this is that you should buy this kit and do it with your kids. Any way to encourage science and technology for our youth is a good idea in my book. You can click the order button below to get your Insect Lore from Amazon today….