Current EGGS and LARVAE

If you are a beginner and need information on rearing from small caterpillars, or hatching out pupae, please order the All Colour Paperback BUTTERFLIES. INSTRUCTIONS ARE NOT SENT WITH EACH SPECIES, you need to acquire basic skills and this book is a simple way of doing so.

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Clouded Yellow Crocea 10 Larvae
Availability: Later and new orders will be in late summer.

Clouded Yellow Butterfly Colias crocea 

A great favourite with entomologists and easy to rear on potted Clover. The easy way is to enclose the whole pot in a sleeve size 3. The larvae grow fast and will produce butterflies very quickly, particularly in warm conditions.

Peacock Butterfly Inachis io 10 larvae
Availability: NOW

Peacock Butterfly (Inachis io)
The Peacock Butterfly normally produces only one generation in Britain and northern Europe. In a good year it is sometimes possible to produce a second generation in August, and that is our hope and intention this season.

Take advantage of this good season and help native butterfly species. Have the fun of watching them develop, pupate and hatch. Then release the butterflies to enhance the local butterfly population.

Young larvae should be started on growing nettle tips where they live in a tight cluster. When the larvae are larger, keep them caged on cut stems of nettle in a jar of water. Pupae are formed in a matter of weeks, hanging from the cage top. Butterflies emerge in about 3 weeks.  They can be kept for a few days in a cage with flowers for nectar, then released into the wild.

Peaock larvae need fresh nettle, growing if possible. Below we suggest a possible alternative, but growing nettle is the strongly recommended rearing method.

If you wish to rear the larvae in plastic boxes, while they are small, they can be kept on a lining of absorbent paper, with a sizeable sprig of fresh, un-wilted nettle. The paper lining must be changed and fresh food given EVERY day (including weekends). Place the previous day’s food with larvae on the new paper liner, add a fresh and adequate sprig of nettle, and the larvae will transfer themselves to the new food. Give them entire nettle stems with leaves, not leaves alone. Close the lid and keep the box out of sunlight. The closed container keeps the foodplant fresh. No holes are needed because there is more than enough trapped air for larvae to breathe. Never allow excessive condensation, nor mould. The size of box should be chosen according to the size and number of larvae being reared. The size 5 box is large enough to house them once they have grown for a week or two. For smaller larvae the Size 8 is appropriate. Rearing in a plastic container is only a temporary measure. Before the larvae become too large for the box, they should be kept in a cage, with the nettle kept fresh in a jar of water and changed daily. The pupae are formed hanging from the top of the cage and the foodplant. Even better is to sleeve the larvae on growing nettle. Be ready to move them to fresh food as soon as half the food supply has been eaten. Never leave moving the sleeve until most of the food has been consumed.



Painted Lady cardui 10 larvae
Availability: NOW

Painted Lady Vanessa cardui
Orders will be sent feeding on diet instead of leaf. This means they travel better in the journey by post, and they can be changed to leaf on arrival.

POSTAL DELAYS At present Royal Mail is under pressure due to the Covid 19 crisis. Please be patient if your order takes more days than usual and please refrain from expressing anger if the delay has caused loss of livestock.     Everyone is doing their best!   Thank you.

The Painted Lady butterfly occurs in more continents of the world than any other butterfly. The larvae are easy to rear on Thistle (its preferred food plant), Burdock, Stinging Nettle, Mallow, Hollyhock and will often take other foodplants. 

Each larva lives solitarily from birth. It spins a protective silk cover, living at first off the leaf cuticle. When possible, keep the larvae on a growing foodplant, which enables the caterpillar to make its silk cover, and move on to fresh food when it requires. If kept on cut food, please ensure that the plant is kept fresh and changed before the quality of the food suffers. This of course applies to all species, but the method has to take into account the solitary habit of the larva, and its protective silk. The best way is to enclose pot and foodplant in a sleeve. The WWB zipped sleeves make this a very convenient rearing method.

Depending on temperature, the larvae pupate in a little over a month. Butterflies emerge in 2-3 weeks. The cycle continues throughout summer and several broods are possible in a season.

The butterflies can be kept with nectar flowers for some days, and then except in the colder months October to March, released to breed in the wild.

There may be a delay of a couple of weeks if larvae are not at the right size for sending. Can be ordered immediately.

Larvae are often quite small when sent. Too small  to be put into a cage or aquarium. They are best reared on growing foodplant, enclosed in a sleeve. Alternatively keep in a plastic box, lined with absorbent paper, and changed daily. For details see the All Colour Paperback BUTTERFLIES.

Silver-washed Fritillary paphia 10 larvae to hibernate.
Availability: Autumn

Silver-washed Fritillary Argynnis paphia


Very hard to obtain!  Easy to hibernate!

In the wild eggs are laid on tree bark. The larvae enter hibernation on a silken pad, without feeding. Keep the hatched larvae out of doors in a small sleeve containing rough bark, which the larvae like to hibernate on. In captivity you can keep the larvae on dried leaf litter, or artificial media, such as cloth, netting, or paper storing them in a plastic box in a cool place, even a fridge, until January when they need to be on a pot of growing violet, entirely enclosed in a sleeve. The WWB zipped Size 3 is ideal. As the larvae grow, they need extra food - they can be quite hungry!

Our largest and finest Fritillary. Many people have never seen one. Follow the above suggestions and produce your own Silver-washed Fritillaries next summer!

Feed larvae in spring on Violet or Pansy leaves – best kept on potted food.  Make sure that, if you buy potted foodplant, there had been no insecticide used  to produce them!

Pupae are formed in late spring, and the butterflies emerge in June and July.




False Heath Fritillary Melitaea diamina 10 larvae
Availability: Summer

False Heath Fritillary Melitaea diamina

A relative of the Heath Fritillary and the larva feeds likewise on Cow Wheat and Narrow-leaved Plantain. Usually single brooded but might be double brooded in captivity and warmer climated. The larvae hibernate nested at the base of the foodplant. 

Marsh Fritillary aurinia 50 larvae
Availability: NOW

Marsh Fritillary Eurodryas aurinia larvae

Marsh Fritillary post-hibernation larvae.  They feed low amongst the leaves of Devil’s Bit Scabioius, but will also eat Honeysuckle and Teasel. After waking in the spring the larvae grow fast, pupating in April and emerging as butterflies in May.



IRISH Marsh Fritillary aurinia Egg Batch
Availability: NOW

Irish Marsh Fritillary Eurodryas aurinia

Very hard to obtain: some available NOW!

We are taking orders now for whole egg batches of Irish Marsh Firtillary, for delivery in May/June. To rear these you need growing plants (potted or wild) of Devil’s Bit Scabious. The larvae also feed on Honeysuckle. Normally the larvae form a web in which they pass the winter. It may be possible to keep them warm and produce butterflies this year, but this should only be attempted by experienced breeders.

Purple Emperor Apatura iris 5 larvae
Availability: At last! August delivery!

Purple Emperor Apatura iris

This magnificent species has not been available for several years. This year we are expecting young larvae pre-hibernation. Booked orders will be supplied first.

IF there is any shortage of larvae in the autumn, orders received from 7th August will be booked for autumn 2020. It's too early to judge numbers in advance, and dispatch will be in date order.

The foodplant, Sallow Salix caprea  is best kept as a growing shrub, either potted or growing outside.  The young larvae should be kept in a sleeve where they will hibernate, but with some extra warmth, some may be persuaded to feed up and produce butterflies this year. Orders will be supplied in date seqence.

Larvae are sent at pre-hibernation state, September/October.



Small Purple Emperor Apatura ilia 5 larvae
Availability: NOW

Small Purple Emperor Apatura ilia
Rather similar to Apatura iris,  but a little smaller.  The form clytie has a delightful orange flush to a greater or lesser degree, on most specimens.

These larvae, which feed on Poplars and Aspen, will hibernate.  Sleeving is the recommended rearing method. They need little other attention other than ensuring they have sufficient fresh foodplant.

In spring the larvae grow and the pupae will be formed in the sleeve, dramatically camouflaged amongst the foliage.



Large Copper dispar batavus 10 larvae
Availability: August

Large Copper Butterfly Lycaena dispar batavus  Larvae

Now MOST DIFFICULT TO OBTAIN!  This is a rare opportunity!  Spring orders have been supplied. We are now booking for summer brood larvae.

This is the large and richly coloured Large Copper which originated from Freisland in Holland and is almost indistinguishable from the extinct British Large Copper Lycaena dispar dispar

Common Dock is an acceptable foodplant, though if you have their natural foodplant Great Water Dock Rumex hydropathalum, that is even better. They can be reared in plastic boxes on fresh foodplant that is changed daily, but they do best, and are less trouble if you can pot up young fresh plants and keep the larvae on these, either in cages or covered with a sleeve. The larvae grow fast.

Pupae are formed on the stems or sides of the cage. The first sight of the newly emerged butterflies is absolutely breath-taking! July larvae may produce another partial brood if kept warm. Otherwise they go into hibernation.

Adonis Blue bellargus 10 larvae
Availability: NOW

The Adonis Blue Lysandra bellargus


The intense blue iridescence of the male is unmatched in Europe. The female has a rich burnt umber colouring.  To raise the larvae you need Horseshoe vetch Hippocrepis comosa, a low-growing plant, covered with yellow flowers in May, requiring calcareous soil.  The larvae, which will also feed on Coronilla, feed rapidly and pupate among the base of the foodplant.  In Britain the Adonis is double brooded, the adults flying in June and August.


The larvae are very small. If you are not an experienced breeder it would be better to choose one of the easier species to rear.





Silver-striped Hawkmoth Hippotion celerio 15 eggs/10 larvae
Availability: NOW

SIlver-striped Hawkmoth Hippotion celerio 15 eggs or 10 larvae according to  availability.

Hardly ever do we have livestock of this rare migrant. The larvae have realistic eye-spots, and they come in shades of green and brown. They feed well on Fuchsia, Virginia Creeper and the common creeper Boston Ivy, but also a wide variety of other plants, many un-related. These are some recorded foodplants: Grape Vine, Parthenocissus, Willowherb, Impatiens, Mullein, Lilac, Dock, Sorrel, Begonia, Arum, Caladium, Bedstraw, Zantedeschia.

Fast growing if kept warm. They sometimes take little more than a month before pupation. Moths will emerge again this year and may produce multi generations.