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This Monarch Rearing Kit contains fourteen to sixteen first to third instar monarch larvae (caterpillars) and rearing instructions. The larvae arrive in small cups and must be transferred to milkweed plants or leaves to feed.
Please make sure you have fresh milkweed available before your caterpillars arrive. Each caterpillar generally needs 18 inches of milkweed to pupate. Pupation will occur in about 10 days and adults will emerge 10-14 days after pupation.
These butterflies can be used for classroom instruction, student projects or to start a classroom breeding population.
Ordering Your Monarch Rearing Kits
- We are able to fit up to 4 kits per box. Select the number of kits from the 'Size' drop-down.
- Please ensure your requested ship week is shown on your order form and/or PO or your order will be delayed.
- If you are a school or organization that needs to use a purchase order click here to go to our order forms and contact information. If paying by check, click here.
Shipping Monarch Rearing Kits
- Shipping costs $26 per box and we are able to fit up to 4 kits per box. All Rearing Kits are shipped via UPS Next Day Air to minimize the amount of time the caterpillars are in transit.
- Please provide an appropriate UPS delivery address and make arrangements for someone to accept your package.
- We are not responsible for packages that are delivered to receiving departments, delayed in delivery to the intended recipient, or are left unattended at a residence.
- Kits are shipped Monday through Thursday via UPS Next Day Air for delivery Tuesday through Friday.
- We cannot guarantee a specific delivery date. However, we do our best to fill all of the orders each week.
- If for any reason there is a chance your kit(s) will not be delivered the week you requested you will be notified via email (if provided) by Friday of the requested week. Your kit(s) will roll over to the next available ship week unless you contact us to select a new ship week.
- We only ship larvae to areas within the United States, east of the continental divide due to federal regulations.
Receiving & Caring for Your Caterpillars
- You must have fresh milkweed for your caterpillars. Please make sure you have a fresh, uncontaminated source before your caterpillars are shipped.
- We are not responsible for caterpillar mortality due to inappropriate or contaminated food sources.
- Click here for to learn about rearing your caterpillars and how to care for them at various stages.
- Click here for ideas on how to make a cage for your monarchs.
If the majority of your caterpillars do not arrive alive or perish within 48 hours of their arrival, we will replace the caterpillars or credit your account. Unfortunately, some caterpillars die due to shipping and handling. We have included a few extra caterpillars to increase the likelihood you will have a successful experience.
Monarchs require special care and we cannot guarantee that all of your caterpillars will become butterflies. In the wild, only a small percentage of the larvae survive disease, parasites, and predation to become adults. If you follow the directions included with your kit, the majority of your caterpillars should become butterflies.
We have many quality control checks before we ship any caterpillars. A few of the precautions we use are washing all milkweed before monarchs lay eggs on them or before the caterpillars are fed, testing for OE, carefully moving the caterpillars to the shipping cups one at a time with a paintbrush, and checking the cups before shipping to ensure all caterpillars are healthy.
You must notify us within 72 hours of your package delivery (including weekends) if you experienced caterpillar mortality problems. Use one of the methods below and include as much information as possible.
- Please fill out this form. Select "Rearing Kit Issue" from the "Monarch Watch Question Type" drop-down box and the rearing kit specific questions will appear.
- You may also call 1(800)780-9986 or email us at email@example.com. Please include:
- Your name
- Order number
- The date you received your shipment
- A description of the condition of the diet, caterpillars, and the shipping package
- A description of the rearing conditions including your source of milkweed used to feed the larvae.
We cannot be held responsible for packages and caterpillars left unattended, the use of inappropriate food plants, or rearing conditions. After this 72-hour period, we reserve the right to deny your request for replacements or credit.
There are two geographically distinct Monarch populations in North America. The eastern population overwinters in Mexico and breeds east of the Rocky Mountains. The western population overwinters along the California coast and breeds in areas west of the continental divide. Contact between eastern and western Monarchs is minimal suggesting that there is little exchange, or what scientists call gene flow, between these populations.
In recent years, several people have transplanted migrating Monarchs between east and west to determine, if for example, western Monarchs introduced in the east would be found in Mexico. Many scientists are concerned about this practice and cite numerous reasons, such as the potential introduction of diseases from one population into another which is why this practice should be stopped immediately.
- Learn more about the western monarch population here.
- Resources, information and links can be found here and here.