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How are butterflies raised at a butterfly farm?

Click on any photo to enlarge.
Tours; 10AM Friday and Saturday from March 21 - November 1. Ages 3 - 16 $3; 17+ $5 each.
To schedule a tour at any other time or on any other date, please phone 352-485-2458 or email the farm.

Please phone or email to schedule field trips and other group tours.
Welcome to Shady Oak Butterfly Farm!
Jonathan located a Gulf Fritillary caterpillar in the garden.
Behind the Garden
Lies The Farm
USDA Permits
Required for shipment of butterflies
across state line.
Inside the Office
Latoya, from Jamaica, interned at the farm.
Ester, Our Office Manager
Ester Poses for Wedding Butterfly Photos
Ester back in the office between photo shoots.
Videoing butterflies for educational videos.
An American Painted Lady enjoys fruit in the garden.
Inside the 'apartments', 12' x 12' screened outdoor rooms with nectar plants.
Julia butterfly eggs laid in the apartments.
Eastern Black Swallowtails laying eggs in the apartments.
Monarch nectaring on fruit in the apartments.
Monarchs nectaring on Gatorade in the apartments.
The boys enjoy the large butterfly apartment.
Charlotte explains about butterflies in the apartment to a field trip class.
Chad explains the lifecycle of butterflies to students in the large apartment.
Visitors watch Monarchs lay eggs.
Monarchs are eager to lay thousands of eggs!
Egg Laboratory
Monarch eggs are taken to the laboratory and sterilized.
Because scales and germs from the mom butterfly may be on th eggshell, they need to be sterilized.
Monarch eggs waiting for sterilization.
After sterilization, eggs are placed in sterile totes with fresh milkweed.
After growing for several days, the caterpillars are moved to the Larvae Room.
Stephen conducts a tour of the Larvae Laboratory.
Monarch caterpillar molt inside a rearing container.
Six greenhouses are full of various host plants to feed to the caterpillars.
Milkweed is cut and taken into the laboratory to feed to Monarch and Queen caterpillars.
Painted Lady caterpillars are raised in a separate laboratory.
Chrysalis are removed from the Larvae Laboratory several times a week.
Monarch chrysalises waiting to be graded, sorted, glued, and/or cooled.
Chrysalises are glued to a paper towel covered board.
After gluing, chrysalises wait in emerging containers until the adult butterfly emerges.
Adult butterflies emerging and drying their wings.
A few Monarch scales are removed to check for disease.
Charlotte checks the scales in a microscope.
Monarch chrysalises intended for breeding stock - glued and waiting to emerge.
Empty chrysalis shells are all that are left after butterflies emerge and are released.
Rearing butterflies in laboratories protects them from parasitiods like this tachinid fly.
Latoya releases Monarchs into the apartments.
Michelle collects a Monarch for shipment.
Timothy helps Mommy collect butterflies.
Glassine envelopes hold butterflies snugly against bumps and thumps of shipment.
Charlotte packs butterflies for shipment.
An Accordion Box packed with 24 Monarch butterflies are packed for shipment.
Michael 'helps' pack a shipment under Caden's supervision.
Butterfly Garden Baskets are shipped as a garden kit.
The grandchildren help Ernest to load butterflies into the UPS truck.
Field trips include an interactive presentation. Students see photos of hatching eggs, predators, stinging caterpillars, and more.