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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Marbled White galathea 10 larvae
Availability: NOW

Marbled White Butterfly Melanargia galathea

A favourite from the chalk downlands of southern Britain. Young larvae which hibernate on potted coarse grasses and produce butterflies next year. To hibernate these larvae you need potted grass, securely contained in a netting sleeve.  Make sure you evict any spiders or other predatory creatures! Keep the pot outside in natural weather conditions.

In spring the larvae will stray and again in summer when they are ready to find a secluded place in which to hang and change to pupae, so make sure they are in a secure cage.

Brown Hairstreak T. betulae 20 eggs
Availability: NOW

Brown Hairstreak Thecla betulae

 Eggs of the Brown Hairstreak are available through autumn and winter. They are laid on Blackthorn twigs. Keep the eggs in a very cool place until the Blackthorn buds open in spring.The larvae hatch and quickly burrow into the opening buds to feed until they are much larger. It is best to keep them on growing foodplant.

White-letter Hairstreak Strymonidia w-album 10 eggs
Availability: September


White-letter Hairstreak Strymonidia w-album

Very seldom available. Winter is passed in the eggs stage.  Feed spring larvae on Elm and Wych Elm. Ideally sleeve outside, or pot foodplant to feed sleeved larvae indoors or outside. 

Wych Elm flower buds are breaking in early February, even in the north. These are sometimes on branches higher off the ground. Some even start as early as November in milder winters. Flowering trees need very little patience to search out.  

The larvae only require the buds to be “cracking open” for them to find a crevice to sit in and start burrowing further into the bud.

Deathshead Hawk Atropos 10 larvae
Availability: February/March

Deathshead Hawkmoth Acheronia atropos  

Everyone’s favourite. An extreme rarity, migrating to Britain from Africa. Occasionally the larvae are found in potato fields but that’s if you are lucky and these days with modern machinery the chances of larvae being found are even more remote.

The larvae feed on many plants in the potato family, Solanaceae, but you don’t have to have these to keep the larvae: they do well on Privet. They have also been found feeding on Buddleia, resulting in a pale coloured larva that matches the leaves, but this is not a recommended foodplant.

The duration of the egg stage is just a few days, and the larvae grow probably twice as fast as our native hawkmoth larvae, completing their life cycle in as little as 4-6 weeks in summer temperatures. These larvae will produce another generation of moths within weeks of pupation, but you can keep them cool in the winter months, and have them emerge in spring. 

The moth is just amazing to have alive on your hand! It is furry, and squeaks – almost like handling a little mammal. It also humps its back and displays the blue markings on the body, as well as the famous skull and crossbones on the thorax. The moth needs to feed, not from flowers but from a pad soaked in weak honey or sugar solution. Moths have been found inside beehives, attracted by the sweet smell of honey. 

In summer, the pupae will emerge within about 4 weeks.  In autumn, to overwinter, bury the pupae in light compost that is not too damp but not allowed to dry out. The top of each pupa should be just showing. Store in a cool place (10-15 degrees C) away from predadors. Bring into the warm in April ready for May emergence. 


Poplar Hawk Laothoe populi 15 eggs or 10 larvae according to availability.
Availability: July

Poplar Hawkmoth Laothoe populi 

Fast growing, the larvae feed on most Willows and Poplars. They do well in sleeves or caged.

This is one of the few hawkmoths that produce two broods of moths in the year.

The larvae become very fat and vary in both the ground colour, in shades of green or blue/green, and in their markings which often include red spots as well as the oblique stripes down the sides.

The larvae need to burrow into compost for pupation.


Lime Hawk tiliae 15 eggs
Availability: September

Lime Hawkmoth Mimas tiliae 

Extremely easy to rear on Lime or Elm. Other reported foodplants include Cherry, Alder, Birch, Oak, Hazel, Acer including Sycamore, Sorbus, Apple, Pear and Ash! In autumn the larvae will grow faster if kept warm.

The larvae do particularly well sleeved on growing foodplant but can be kept in plastic boxes or cages. Beautiful streamlined larvae. Larger larvae are often heavily marked with flame and scarlet spots and blotches. Very variable. They pupate underground. In captivity they will pupate amongst folds of cloth or absorbent tissue. Store pupae refrigerated for the winter. The moths normally emerge in May/June.


Dryas julia from Central America 10 larvae
Availability: Summer

Dryas julia from Central America

Slender wings and vitality characterise this attractive butterfly, related to the Heliconius species, and normally breeds as easily.

 The larvae feed on Passiflora.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Willowherb Hawkmoth Proserpinus proserpina Pupae
Availability: NOW

Willowherb Hawkmoth Proserpinus proserpina

SCARCE! Only a few pupae available. Lower price this year!

This rather rare Hawkmoth is a gem, seldom encountered, though it lives throughout much of western and central Europe, eastwards into Russia.  

The larva is rather like a grey form of Small Elephant Hawk. The foodplant is Rosebay Willowherb Epilobium, Evening Primrose Oenothera and Purple Loosetrife Lythrum. The pretty little green moth has prominent egg-yolk coloured hindwings.  The normal flight period is June and July.

Oleander Hawk nerii 15 eggs or 10 larvae according to availability
Availability: January

Oleander Hawk Daphnis nerii 

One of the finest of all Hawkmoths. The larvae are very fast growing indeed and they consume a lot of food. It is often possible to have the larvae from hatching to pupation in little more than a month.

Larvae thrive on Privet and can be reared on Periwinkle Vinca. Suitable for winter or summer rearing. Oleander Nerium is a natural foodplant but it is often tough and leathery, so the alternives are usually better than Oleander.


Convolvulous Hawk convolvuli 10 larvae
Availability: September/October

Convolvulous Hawkmoth Herse convolvuli 

The moths have started breeding. Larvae will follow next month.  Not available every year: these are very special! 

Huge caterpillars: fascinating to rear.  The pupa has a curious proboscis, like a jug handle. Feeds at dusk, Tobacco plants, Petunia, Lillies and Phlox.

Larval Foodplants: Convolvulus, Field Bindweed, Hedge Bindweed, some Morning Glories.

Best reared in Plastic Rearing Containers: see the advice at the heading of that section of the WWB website. Keep at about 25 degrees C. The paper lining and food must be changed EVERY day. Food needs to be very fresh at all times. When larger the larvae may need this change twice a day, due to their productivity!

Vapourer Moth antiqua eggs.
Availability: NOW

Vapourer Moth Orgyia antiqua

 Eggs are laid by the wingless female in a batch on the cocoon, where they pass the winter and hatch in spring. 

Very interesting both for its moth and its very attractive and colourful caterpillar. Winter eggs are supplied for storage in the cool until spring. The larvae normally hatch in May/June or later, and feed on a wide variety of trees, which include Hawthorn, Willows and Sallows, most fruit trees, Hazel, Rose, Lime and Oak. The larvae are beautifully patterned and coloured, and decorated by prominent shaving brush-like tufts. The cocoon is spun amongst the foodplant.

The male moth is delicate, chestnut brown, with prominent feathered antennae, which are used to detect the wingless female, who emerges from the cocoon and rests on it, calling for a male. She lays her egg batch all over the cocoon where the eggs remain through the winter ready to start off the next generation.


Lackey Moth Malacasoma neustria 50 eggs
Availability: Autumn 2018

Lackey Moth Malacasoma neustria 

Not a rare species but not previously offered by WWB. Although considered common, the Lackey Moth is found much more rarely than 20 years ago and it is one that can be encouraged so easily. 

The overwintering eggs are laid in tight bands on the bark of the foodplant. Resulting larvae are gregarious until much larger.  They become amazingly beautiful, striped from head to tail with contrasting hues of orange and blue. The head is sky blue, with two prominent black spots, looking like eyes.

The most used foodplants are Hawthorn and Blackthorn, and the larvae also feed on Plum, Apple, Oak, Rose, Bramble, Willows and Sallows. Try them on alternatives, you may discover new foodplants.

The white silken cocoons contain a curious sulphur-like powder, produced by the caterpillar as it pupates.

The female is a small, quite stocky Eggar Moth. Males are less heavily built and very agile. Pairing is easy.  Provide thin branches for the females to lay their bands of eggs, which should be stored cold from November to April. When leaves are produced in spring, let the eggs hatch in the ambient temperature.