Need Source For Butterflies and Moths


Old Timer
Feb 6, 2007
My girlfriend and I want to start raising butterflies as a hobby, but it's been impossible to find a source to get them from except for classroom sources. We're looking for something a little more advanced then Monarchs and Painted Ladies. Can anyone point me in the direction of finding something a little more exotic and exciting?


Old Timer
Nov 5, 2005
Butterflies are real seasonal. You say you are just interested in it as a hobby... plant a really good host plant garden.

Parsley, fennel, dill, rue, will all get you eastern black swallowtails. Here in PA I can get three broods in a good year. Having a cherry tree (I don't know if a funky variety will work) will get you tiger swallowtails and lots of moths. Spicebush and sassafras is good for spicebush swallowtails. I planted stinging nettle for the red admirals (love those little guys... they land on you when you are sweaty) but watch out... it gets totally out of control & it hurts! Cabbages & mustards for the whites & sulphurs...just let the grass grow for many of the skippers. And don't discount the monarchs; plant lots of milkweed too. If you are into moths (and some are even prettier than butterflies) plant lots of sweetgum for the lunas. Native maples are good so are walnuts for lots of our large silkmoths. There are tons of books that have list of host plants for both moths and butterflies. I can get you titles if you need them. Don't use pesticides and spend lots of time outside so you see them.

Individuals selling chrysalids change but sometime you see things on Usually its moths rather than butterfly. Check your local nature center. They probably know who the closest "butterfly person" is in the area. Carolina biological sells a few species other than the monarchs and painted ladies... Spicebush & Tiger Swallowtails at $6.50 per pupa, they have moths & Brassica (Cabbage White) eggs too.

Foreign species are not going to be easy for you to obtain. I used to run a butterfly room for a museum. We were heavily regulated... those caterpillars are plant eaters...not allowed to bring them in the country unless you have a real good reason and can prove you are going to account for every individual.