We added a question and answer section for general questions. If you still have a question after reading this; please don't hestitate to call us.
Probably the most spectacular way of using the Monarchs is by live release during your event. For example, butterflies are often released as the bride and groom exit the church after the wedding ceremony. The wedding party and guests can all take part in the release if desired. A live release ceremony can also be integrated into any other event. Here are a few additional suggestions: Make the release part of the actual wedding ceremony if it is held outdoors. Plan a separate ceremony especially for the release (see the Indian Legend). The ceremony can be adapted to meet your specific needs and desires. Each person involved may want to make a wish for the bride and groom and release the butterflies individually or they may be released as a group. Present the bride with a box of butterflies that flutter away when the present is opened. Create special memories at funerals and memorials. Ribbon-cuttings and ground-breakings are ideal ways for businesses and corporations to celebrate new beginnings. The possibilities are endless so be creative! But please ensure that the butterflies are not harmed in any way. Part of the charm of a live butterfly release is giving these creatures back to the environment.
The earlier you order your live butterflies the better. This ensures that the butterflies can be raised with sufficient time for your special event. Although we do our best to have butterflies available for last-minute orders, the risk of not being able to accommodate you is greater. Funerals are the exception.
The number of live butterflies you choose is a matter of preference and/or budget. A good rule of thumb is approximately 2 dozen per 50 guests for a mass release. Of course the more butterflies, the more dramatic the effect. For an individual release, it is completely up to you to determine how many of the guests are to be involved in the release. For example, all of the guests vs. only members of the bridal party.
We ship your live butterflies via overnight delivery to arrive the day before your event. All butterflies are delivered in a specially designed, insulated container with a cold pack for a safe arrival. Just before shipping, your butterflies are hand fed and exercised to ensure their quality. They are then placed in the individual envelopes with their wings in a natural resting position. This prevents them from damaging their wings in transit. The envelopes do not cause any undue stress on the butterfly in transit. The butterflies require very little oxygen and will not suffocate when packaged this way. In some cases your butterflies can be hand delivered just prior to the event.
There is NO care needed as the butterflies are fed immediately before shipment and can survive up to 5 days on their own body fat. Your butterflies will be packaged ready for release. They are, however, packed with a cool-pack to bring them into an inactive state. You may need to re-freeze the cool-pack. Full instructions will accompany your order and we are available to assist you with any questions.
When your box arrives keep it in a cool, dark place. DO NOT place it in extreme heat or cold or in direct sunlight (like on a car dashboard!). If you're curious you can open the box and peek inside a few envelopes. Otherwise, there is no need to do anything else until you are ready to pass out the envelopes to your guests for the live release ceremony.
Most butterflies will only take flight when the temperature is above 65°F, but the warmer the better! Painted Lady Butterflies require at least 72°F You can check the weather forecast in your area to be sure your butterfly release will be a success.
If the forecast is unfavorable, call us at least three(3) days before the event, and we will gladly cancel the order and refund the full purchase amount. A successful live release cannot be guaranteed if there is a driving rain at the time of your release. Light rain or drizzle will not cause problems.
There must be at least 30 minutes of light left once you release them so they can find a place to roost for the evening.
If you have flowers and host plants for the butterflies nearby, they may stay a while or even take up residency for the remainder of the season.
Frequency Asked Questions
How are butterflies used at special events?
When should I order?
What amount of release butterflies do I need for an event?
How will the release butterflies be shipped?
OK, I received the butterflies; now what ?
How warm does it need to be to release Butterflies?
What if the weather turns bad?
Can I release butterflies at night?
What happens to them after release?
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) governs the shipment of Butterflies across states lines. Nine (9) of the butterflies species may be shipped across state lines. The following chart indicates which butterflies can be shipped to which state(s):
Alabama - GF M ZL GS BS RA PL AL
Alaska - RA, PL AL
Arizona - GF GS RA PL AL
Arkansas - GF M GS RA PL AL
California - GF RA PL AL
Colorado - *M BS RA PL AL
Connecticut - M BS RA PL AL
Delaware - M BS RA PL AL
Florida – GF M ZL BS RA PL AL plus any Florida species such as: Queens, Cloudless Sulphur, Great Southern Whites,
Buckeyes, Soldiers, Julia or Orange Long Wings, White Peacocks
Georgia - GF M ZL GS BS RA PL AL
Hawaii - none
Idaho - RA PL AL
Illinois - GF M GS BS RA PL AL
Indiana - GF M GS BS RA PL AL
Iowa - GF M GS BS RA PL AL
Kansas - GF M GS BS RA PL AL
Kentucky - GF M GS BS RA PL AL
Louisiana - GF M BS RA PL AL
Maine - M BS RA PL AL
Maryland - M RA PL AL
Massachusetts - M BS RA PL AL
Michigan - M BS RA PL AL
Minnesota - M BS RA PL AL
Mississippi - GF M GS A PL AL
Missouri - GF M GS RA PL AL
Montana - RA PL AL
Nebraska - GF M BS RA PL AL
Nevada - RA PL AL
New Hampshire - M BS RA PL AL
New Jersey - M GS BS RA PL AL
New Mexico - GF *M GS BS RA AL
New York - M BS RA PL AL
North Carolina - GF M GS BS RA PL AL
North Dakota - M RA PL AL
Ohio - GF M GS BS RA PL AL
Oklahoma - GF M GS BS RA PL AL
Oregon - RA PL AL
Pennsylvania - GF M GS BS RA PL AL
Rhode Island - M BS RA PL AL
South Carolina - GF M ZL GS BS RA PL AL
South Dakota - M BS RA PL AL
Tennessee - GF M GS BS RA PL AL
Texas - GF M GS BS RA PL AL
Utah - RA PL AL
Vermont - M BS RA PL AL
Virginia - GF M GS BS RA PL AL
Washington State - GS BS RA PL AL
West Virginia - M GS BS RA PL AL
Wisconsin - M BS RA PL AL
Wyoming - *M RA PL AL
Washington DC - GF M RA PL AL
Puerto Rico - None
Virgin Islands - None
Gulf Fritillary = GF, Monarch = M , Zebra Long Wing = ZL, Giant Swallowtail = GS
Eastern Black Swallowtail = BS , Red Admiral = RA , Painted Lady = PL American Painted Lady = AL , Morning Cloak = MC
Note: *Monarchs may not be transported across the Continental Divide. The Divide passes through four states: Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.
Can butterflies be shipped to every state?
[ Photographs © Oscar Gutierrez, David Liebman, Edith Smith, Paul Chesterfield ]
Provided by the International Butterfly Breeders Association, Inc.