How to ensure a successful release

Questions on releases

Purchasing and releasing live butterflies in the nature can bring up some questions from you, your friends or your guests. Here's a summary of the most common answers to questions from our clients.

Monarchs and painted ladies

  Planning

How many butterflies are recommended to ensure an interesting and outstanding release?
We suggest a minimum of 2 dozens of butterflies for your release to achieve its intended purpose and to be able to hand out one to each of your close relatives. The more butterflies, the more spectacular the effect. You can calculate your butterfly needs by pairing the guests (number of guests divided by 2 = number of butterflies) or by total number of guests, who will each receive a butterfly so that everyone can be a part of that magical event.
How much does a butterfly release cost?
The cost depends on the number of butterflies you wish to release. Butterflies are sold by the dozen. You may refer to the ''Releases'' page of our Website. . Don't hesitate to contact us if you have particular needs.
How far in advance should I reserve my butterflies?
The butterflies sold by Gaia Nature are all raised in our specialized facilities. We recommend ordering at least 6 to 8 weeks ahead, which is the time required for eggs to reach the butterfly stage. It will be easier for us to serve you within this timeframe, and you'll be sure to get the species you've chosen and the desired quantities.
I have a last minute event. Is it still possible to obtain butterflies?
Submit us your request immediately to ensure our production service is able to fulfill your order. Do not despair: each week, we intentionally raise extra butterflies in order to build in operational flexibility and service people who learn about the concept of butterfly releases shortly before their event.
What kind of butterflies do you offer?
We offer monarchs and painted ladies. The monarch is a spectacular species: its resistance, size and colours make it the ideal candidate for any event. The painted lady remains a great choice. With its great Fall colour patterns, it is an excellent alternative to the monarch. Also, these 2 species are indigenous to Quebec. Therefore, they are perfectly acclimated to our province and will be able to go through their lifecycle where they are released.
During which period are butterflies offered?
Painted ladies are available from May to end of August, while monarchs are offered from July to mid-October.
I would like white or blue butterflies for my event. Is this possible?
Sadly, no. The blue butterfly, despite being a true jewel of nature and one of the most beautiful species on Earth, is unfortunately a tropical insect. It is illegal in Canada to release butterflies that are not indigenous to our country. As for white butterflies, the only species available here is the cabbage butterfly, an agricultural pest. This butterfly is small and fragile, which makes it very hard to manipulate without damaging it. Therefore, it is inadequate for a release.


  Transport

What type of packaging do you use to ship butterflies?
Butterflies are shipped in an insulated polystyrene box with an ice bag in order to slow down their metabolism. Each box measures 12 x 12 x 24 cm (4.7 x 4.7 x 9.4 in) and can contain up to 4 dozens of butterflies.

Butterfly packing box
How are the butterflies packacged for shipping?
Shipping is made in a refrigerated box in order to slow down the butterflies' metabolism during transit. That way they become dormant and are thus protected against stress. Butterflies are individually placed in triangle shaped envelopes specially designed to protect them during shipping.
Do butterflies sometimes die during shipping?
This is extremely rare. Also, the monarch and the painted lady are very sturdy and resistant butterflies.
What should I do after receiving my butterflies?
Upon receiving your box, simply follow the instructions provided in advance. In summary, simply place the box(es) in the refrigerator in order to maintain the optimal conditions for the butterflies. *Never put them in a freezer.


  Release

What are the required weather conditions for releasing butterflies?
Outside temperature must be at least 12ºC in order to achieve a successful release. If it rains a bit, butterfies should still fly away, as long as the temperature is above 12ºC.
What to do if there is bad weather?
If the weather conditions are difficult, keep the butterflies in a cool place until the weather improves.
Can butterflies be released at night?
No. Butterflies must be released at 7 PM at the very latest. The later you release them, the less active they are. Butterflies are active during the day and sleep at night.
Can butterflies be released indoors?
Under no circumstances should butterflies be released indoors. Butterflies MUST be released outdoors, without any exception.
Do you provide instructions for the release of butterflies?
Instructions will be provided upon placing your order so you'll have plenty of time to familiarize yourself with the process and ask all questions you may have. Releasing butterflies is very easy. Guaranteed success!
What happens with butterflies upon their release?
They simply resume their natural lifecycle. They leave, seeking host plants too feed upon and lay their eggs on, hundreds of kilometers away from where they were released. Releasing butterflies is an excellent way of replenishing the declining butterfly population.
What is a butterfly's life expectancy?
It is a common misconception that butterflies only live for a day or two. In fact, although numerous butterflies ontly live between 2 days and 2 weeks, a monarch can live for 3 to 6 months (depending on the environmental conditions). Monarch is not only a beautiful butterfly; it is also a sturdy and robust species.


  Photography

How can I get nice live butterfly pictures?
Butterflies are cold-blooded animals. Therefore, lowering their core temperature makes them slower and easier to handle. Simply place the box in a refrigerator for 20 minutes. This will lower their temperature enough to slow down their movements and reactions. After that, simply place butterflies at the desired spot (wedding dress, bouquet, etc), point and shoot!