indoor butterfly flight enclosure

Sheri S. Moreau sheri at
Sun Jun 8 17:19:01 EDT 1997

Dale wrote: 
Does anyone know if it would be possible to build an enclosed butterfly
haven to be kept in doors? if so where could I find details on how to
build, what is needed, where to obtain live stock to stock it, how hard is
it to keep them alive and to breed in captivity? any imfo would be

I have an indoor butterfly flight enclosure in my butterfly rearing room
that I made very simply out of one of those giant mosquito nets you buy to
hang "romantically" over your bed. Pier One sells them for $55, ivory or
white, with either a square or round support frame. I chose the white,
square-framed one. I rigged it so it just touches the floor all the way
around, allowing me to staple the netting to the ceiling in a much larger
square than the support frame. The whole thing is 8' high and about 4 1/2'
on a side. The netting on one side overlaps, which allows me easy
ingress/egress. I hang feeders and posies off of the support frame, which
is still in the center of the whole net cage, altho not supporting the net.
I have a couple of shelves in there, plus nectar and caterpillar host
plants. The latter plants I remove as eggs are deposited. (I have a
separate ovipositor cage in another corner, too.) I also keep a small stool
(well, actually a coconut husking bench, minus the iron bar, but that's
another story!!) in the cage so I can easily step up and retrieve
butterflies from the top of the cage. 

I have a 48" grow light fixture (should be a double) and a 48" double cool
white light fixture hanging from the ceiling (on timers) just outside the
cage on the sides away from the windows. A fan and space heater and
high/low thermometer and humidity meter are other necessary pieces of

This cage is perfectly adequate to maintain breeding cultures of monarchs
and many other species of butterflies. Swallowtails, however, while they
survive just fine in the cage, have insufficient room for mating
flights/displays, I've found. 

So, I'm considering cutting the netting up and doubling the cage length,
with no netting hanging from the actual room walls of the enclosure at all.
(It's hanging in a corner, so two sides of the enclosure are actually
windows/walls of the room.) Haven't done it yet as I'm a little concerned
about the butterflies beating themselves against the glass. 

If anyone else out there has any thoughts about indoor flight cages, please
email me!! Thanks in advance!

  Sheri S. Moreau --------------------------------------------|
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