SCHOOLS Recommended Livestock

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. Please read the Plastic Rearing Container section for advice on rearing young caterpillars which must have nursery treatment while they are not large enough to be kept in cages. This information is enlarged upon in the paperback guide referred to above.

We do not invoice: please use school or personal credit card to order on this website, and reclaim with the invoice printed from your account.Thank you.

 
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Artificial Mulberry Diet for 20 Silkworms
Availability: NOW


Artificial Mulberry Diet for 20 Silkworms

Until now it has not been possible to rear silkworms without their natural foodplant Mulberry. Mulberry is often difficult to find but we are now able to offer a very convenient artificial diet that can be used as a substitute food, in any part of the world and at almost any time of the year, providing you can keep the silkworms at 25-28 degrees C. Eggs supplied in November/December will need to be refrigerated for 8-12 weeks before incubation.

The diet is sent as a sachet of powder that is easily prepared in the kitchen. It comes in two sizes that give sufficient food for the entire life of the silkworms, enough for 20 and 50 Silkworms. The powder can be kept for a year or more in a fridge. Made up diet can be refrigerated and kept for some eight weeks. The life of a silkworm kept at the required temperature is about 5 weeks. (If you buy a collection of 6 named races please remember you need food for 6 times the number of eggs bought)

Artificial diet takes a lot less time and trouble than rearing on leaf.  More importantly this enables rearing when Mulberry cannot be obtained. Eggs supplied in November - January will need to be refrigerated for 8-12 weeks before incubation. Rearing Silkworms is very educational and suitable for schools and families.

£10.00
Pyjama Mini Cage 22 x 29 x 25cm high
Availability: NOW


Pyjama Mini Cage 22 x 29 x 25cm high

This popular cage has just got even better. Nearly a third larger, and much improved dimensions.

Ideal as a beginner's cage, but also for the busy breeder who wants separate small cages. Excellent as an emerging cage for chrysalides and cocoons, ideal for keeping small numbers of larvae or other insects, when large enough for cage rearing.

This cage is suitable for laying out small numbers of pupae to emerge. Also for rearing smaller numbers of larvae or smaller larvae. Baby larvae should be first reared in plastic rearing containers or kept covered on growing food. Please see the note on the page for plastic rearing containers. This cage will hold small covered pots of plant, and larger sizes of cage are available for larger subjects.

When necessary the netting cover can be slipped off for cleaning or replacement. The Pyjama Mini cage is assembled in minutes and easily packed flat for winter storage. As the interest grows there are larger sizes available. For the experienced breeder the Mini Cage has many uses where a series of smaller cages is needed for separating species and giving different treatment.

 

 

£22.95
Pyjama Cage Standard  40 x 30 cm  height 50
Availability: NOW


Pyjama Cage Standard  40 x 30 cm  height 50

Probably the most useful size as a general purpose cage. Suitable for breeding butterflies and moths, laying out pupae to emerge, keeping larvae that are large enough to cage, also for Stick insects and other creatures. Occupies little space. Can be stacked if required. This size is much lower in price and larger than the Flat-pack Wooden Framed Cage range, and much less costly to send.

 

 

 

£32.95
EARLY Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae 10 larvae
Availability: April 2020


EARLY Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae

One of the best species for young people and beginners. Larvae are sent in April/May. The best way to keep the young caterpillars is on potted nettles which should be prepared in early spring , regularly watered, and kept out of doors to make stocky growth. Prepare more than one pot of nettle. When the young larvae are received, bring the potted nettle indoors and place the young larvae on the foodplant, where they will look after themselves until they finish the food and are large enough to be kept in a cage on cut nettle in a jar of water. In a matter of weeks the pupae are formed hanging from the cage top, and the butterflies emerge in a little over a fortnight.
The butterflies can be kept in a cage for a few days, with plenty of flowers for nectar, and then released to help the wild populations. 

Keeping two species of larvae together on the same foodplant?  It is sometimes possible, but their way of life may differ and we recommend keeping them separately. 

 

£16.95
EARLY Peacock Butterfly Inachis io 10 larvae
Availability: May


EARLY Peacock Butterfly (Inachis io)
 

Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell populations are seriously depleted recently, due to the butterflies waking in the mild winter and dying of starvation. This is a a chance to help local Peacock populations.

The larvae live in tight clusters on the tips of nettle. Young larvae do best on potted nettle.  Keep the pots outside until needed indoors for the first larvae. 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.

Keeping two species of larvae together on the same foodplant?  It is sometimes possible, but their way of life may differ and we recommend keeping them separately. 

£19.95
Painted Lady cardui 10 larvae
Availability: April 2020


Painted Lady Vanessa cardui

No dispatches between 8th - 15th September. The end of September is the end of the season for this species. Later orders will be booked for spring 2020.
 

Orders to be sent internationally 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.

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.

£12.95
Painted Lady cardui  5 larvae in Pot on Diet
Availability: April 2020


Five Painted Lady larvae in Total Environment Pot

The end of September is the end of the season for this species. Later orders will be booked for spring 2020.

The five Painted Lady caterpillars live their whole life inside the see-through pot which contains all they need from birth to pupating. You need add no food. You don’t even clean them out and they look after themselves over weekends!

The larvae grow quite quickly in summer indoor conditions (never keep them in direct sunshine).  The container is easily passed round a group without disturbance to the larvae.
During skin change the larvae do not move or eat This may last a day or two.

Don't be alarmed by this: it is a natural stage in their development.

When the larvae have finished eating, they suspend themselves from a silk pad spun on special absorbent paper in the lid. Here they cast their caterpillar skin.  If you are lucky and look at the right moment you can see the actual moment of change from caterpillar to chrysalis.

Let the chrysalis harden for a couple of days, then hang the paper pinned inside a cage for the butterflies to emerge.

You can keep the butterflies for a few days in a cage with nectar flowers. Then, except in the colder months October to March, release them into the wild where they may breed naturally in your area. Please keep the larvae and pupae in an even room temperature (around 18-22º) day and night. Keep away from direct sunlight or a direct heat source such as a radiator.

The instructions are printed above - please note them for the arrival of the larvae which are not sent with further instructions. If you are sending larvae as a present, please remember the recipient will not have these instructions, unless you copy them to the recipient.

 

Can be ordered in advance. During the season there may be a delay of a couple of weeks or more if larvae are not currently at the size for sending. 


One pot of 5 Painted Lady caterpillars £13.95         Six pots of 5 Painted Lady caterpillars for group study (one supplied free!) for only £69.75

 

Comma larvae c-album 10 larvae
Availability: Spring 2020


Comma Butterfly Polygonia c-album   

Fascinating larvae with curious half and half markings in black, brown and white, mimicking a bird dropping. The larvae feed on Stinging Nettle, Elm and Hop. Also Sallow, Osier Willow Salix viminalis, and sometimes other Willows. They live singly. Fast growing.

Young larvae will succeed best if placed on growing foodplant. Enclose plant and pot in a netting sleeve, tied at both ends: size 3 is ideal. Otherwise you can sleeve Comma larvae on branches of Elm, Sallow and Willows, including Osier. Good ventilation is required. Cut food is not recommended at least until the larvae are nearly half grown. Comma larvae do not like crowding, and do best kept so that each caterpillar can get away and live on its own. Disease can occur if conditions are not perfect. If it does, it helps that the larvae live separately. Any infected or dead larvae should be removed and disinfection should be carried out, lightly spraying 10% bleach solution, which will not affect healthy larvae, but does help prevent the spread of disease.

This garden butterfly is capable of re-colonising places where it used to be. In autumn the butterflies are very partial to fallen fruit. With some help this butterfly could be encouraged to spread.

Keeping two species of larvae together on the same foodplant?  It is sometimes possible, but their way of life may differ and we recommend keeping them separately.  Comma larvae live solitary lives and should be reared in their own enclosure.

 

 

 

£12.95
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.


 

£11.50
Eyed Hawk ocellata eggs SPECIAL PRICES
Availability: Spring


Eyed Hawk Smerinthus ocellata  

Fascinatingly camouflaged larvae which exactly match their leafy background. Easy to breed.

The larvae feed on Apple, Willows, Poplars. Other reported foodplants are Lime, Privet, Alder, Birch, Plum, Blackthorn, some Viburnums, Various Prunus, Laurel.

At pupation time, provide a container of compost to a depth of about 10cm, with a lid. The larvae burrow to pupate.  The moths, with vivid eye-spots, emerge the following spring.

 

 

Puss Moth vinula 15 eggs
Availability: May/Jun 2020


Puss Moth Cerura vinula 

An ideal beginner's species and an old favourite for the connoisseur. Larvae change frequently and become one of the strangest creatures. Curious forked tail with long red flagellae when disturbed. Foodplants are Poplars and Willows.

The caterpillar spins a concrete-hard cocoon of chewed bark, mixed into its own silk, producing a cocoon that is so camouflaged that it is very hard to see - see the picture - VERY hard to see! 

£16.95
Emperor Moth pavonia 15 eggs
Availability: Spring 2020


Emperor Moth Saturnia pavoni

Britain’s only Silkmoth. The male and female have similar markings, but the female is larger, and the male is more brightly coloured. The Emperor Moth occurs in many rural areas but is particularly found on heaths, where they breed on Heathers. Eggs are laid in clusters on the heather, looking just like the dead flowerheads from last year.

The larvae feed on a variety of plants, including Bramble, Raspberry, Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Apple, Plum, Blackthorn, Oak, Hornbeam, Birch, Heathers and Heaths, Blueberry, Meadowsweet, Wild Rose, Sea Buckthorn, Purple Loosestrife, Willows especially Osier Salix viminalis, Pussy Willow (Sallow). 

The caterpillars cluster in the early instars, eventually spreading out and becoming brightly coloured, as beautiful as such exotics as the Indian Moon Moth. The cocoon is spun in the foodplant. This is the stage that passes the winter.  An interesting construction with a neck and open end, through which the adult emerges in spring.  This is one of the fun species to rear.


 
 

 

£12.95