Butterfly Release Course Part 1

Butterfly Release Course – Funerals – Part One

Butterfly Release Course – Funerals – Part OneWe realize you live a busy life and extra time is often very difficult to obtain.

1. The material in each of the 3 parts of this course should take approximately 15-20 minutes to read and complete.

2. The optional final exam that is given at the end of the course should take no more than 30 minutes to complete.

3. If you would like to be listed on Association for Butterflies’ website as a Certified Release Professional, you will need to successfully complete the optional exam and pay a $10 fee to be listed.  There will be a PayPal link on your exam page, if you’d like to be listed.  You are not required to pay the fee or to take the exam; however, you can learn a lot from taking the exam even if you do not want to be listed.

4. We are here to answer any questions you have, so please don’t hesitate to ask!  Please post your questions to afb@forbutterflies.org.

Your three days of butterfly release instructional material includes:*Why release butterflies at funerals and memorials?*When can they be released for funerals and memorials?*When can they NOT be released for a funeral and memorials?*When and from where should I order butterflies?*How do I care for the butterflies?*What if it rains or the funeral/memorial is postponed?*What are my release options?*What laws govern butterfly releases?*And much more …Ready to get started with Part One?handswithbutterflyYou have taken the first step to learning more about the role butterfly releases play in the hearts of grieving families. We hope you enjoy the course.

Releasing butterflies is truly a healing experience.  Informing your clients about this growing practice will offer an opportunity for them to choose this addition to their loved one’s funeral or memorial. You will learn how to handle and care for butterflies before and during a release and how to incorporate butterflies into a funeral and/or memorial. Not only does a butterfly release make a very memorable impression, it also raises peoples’ awareness of butterflies.  Butterflies are affected by pollution, pesticides, too much land development, climate change, etc.  As you release butterflies, it actually helps the population by providing a venue for them to breed, thereby increasing their numbers.This course will enable you to conduct or assist with a successful butterfly release for your clients.Butterflies Naturally Fly in Sunlightclouds-sunlgA butterfly release should take place at least 1 hour before sunset. Sunlight allows butterflies to find a safe place to spend the night away from ants and other predators that stay in, on, or near the ground. Their body temperature lowers at night and they become inactive. Butterflies cannot fly well in cold weather.The temperature at the time of the release should be at least 65 degrees, preferably warmer to hold a successful release.If you are not sure of your expected weather, visit Weather Underground.  Type in the appropriate zip code and then scroll down to “Weather History & Almanac” and insert the date of the event to find the weather forecast.adultIf you are releasing Painted Ladies, be aware that temperatures of at least 70 degrees are recommended.  Temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees do not harm them; they simply are not as eager to fly.Butterflies should not be released when it is raining.  If it is misting however, you will still be able to release them.  Although they will not fly as vigorously as if it was a hot, sunny day, your release will still be breathtaking.

RULE OF THUMB:  If you would not want to stand in the rain to release butterflies, the butterflies will not be eager to fly either.

USDA APHISIn the United States, shipping butterflies across state lines is regulated by the USDA.  We will discuss what is involved so you will know which butterflies can be shipped to you and the differences between each species.

USDA Laws and Permits for the Farmer ~  The USDA has control over transportation of butterflies across state lines.  Since butterfly caterpillars eat plants, they are considered by the USDA to be “plant pests.”  Nine different species of butterflies are allowed to be shipped.  Not all of those 9 species can be shipped to all states or raised in all states.

See the Butterfly Release Chart for details on which butterfly species are allowed to be shipped into which states for release.  You will want to become familiar with this so you will be able to talk intelligently to your clients about what butterflies they would be allowed to have at their events.

Butterfly farmers are allowed to raise any local butterflies (other than the 9 approved species) and release them within their own state.  Contact your local farmer to determine if they raise anything besides the 9 species.

Monarchs are not allowed to be shipped across the Continental Divide, either direction.  Some butterfly farmers raise butterflies for west coast farmers and some raise butterflies for east coast farmers.  This enables them to fill orders from across the Rocky Mountains and not break the law by working with farmers on the opposite side of the Divide, shipping Monarchs to each other’s customers.New York limits the number of Monarchs shipped into the state to 50 for release purposes.  If customers wish to release more than 50 Monarchs, they must apply for a permit through the state of New York.
To obtain your permit application or more information about New York’s conditions, call Kathy O’Brien’s office @  518.402.8990

NYSDEC Special Licenses Unit625 BroadwayAlbany, NY  12233When ordering butterflies outside of the United States, you will want to find a farmer that is in your client’s country.  Since there can be delays when crossing borders, this would not be good for the butterflies.  Some countries require special permits that must be applied for in advance by the receiver.Below, you will find a description of each of the 9 species regulated by the USDA.MonarchMonarchMonarchMonarchs are the most popular butterfly for releases.  They are also the most –recognized butterfly.  You will discover that most farmers raise Monarchs.  It is a lovely butterfly with vivid orange and black markings.  Although they are more expensive than Painted Lady butterflies, they are larger, with a wingspan of 3 3/8” to 4 7/8”.  A Monarch release is spectacular.  When released, they tend to soar and glide gracefully through the air.

MonarchPainted Ladypainted-lady-butterflyThese butterflies are the second most popular release butterflies.  Their colors are orange and brown, with black and white markings on the upper wings.  The underside of the wings features a bright pink spot.  They are not as expensive as Monarchs, since they are smaller with a wingspan of 2” – 2 7/8”.  They do work well in displays because of their size and they seem to be happy in smaller areas.  They tend to fly away quickly when released.  Although, sometimes, they will light on a person in a friendly way.

MonarchAmerican Painted LadyAmericanpaintedladyThe American Painted Lady looks very similar to the Painted Lady.  They have fewer white markings on their upper wings than the Painted Ladies.  They tend to be found in cooler climates than the Painted Ladies.  Not as many farmers raise this species, and you may have a more difficult time locating American Painted Ladies.

MonarchBlack SwallowtailFemaleBlackSwallowtailmale-black-swallowtailBlack Swallowtails are beautiful butterflies.  They have a wingspan of approximately 3 ¼ “ – 4 ¼ “.  They are primarily black with the males having a yellow band near the edge of their wings.  Females have a row of yellow spots and an iridescent blue band.  If handled too much, a few of their scales may rub off, but it does not affect the butterfly’s ability to fly.  They are common to the eastern states.  These butterflies flutter when nectaring on flowers.  Only a few farmers raise Black Swallowtails.MonarchGiant Swallowtailgiant_swallowtailThe Giant Swallowtail is the largest of the North American swallowtails, with a wingspan of 5 inches or more.  They are brownish black with yellow stripes.  Their underside is yellow with black.  Since they rest with their wings open, they are lovely in displays.  When released, they exhibit a slow flight pattern.

MonarchGulf Fritillarygulffritillary2gulffritillary1The Gulf Fritillary is a medium size butterfly, with a wingspan of 2 ½” to 4 ¾”.  It has an orange and black palette, with an iridescent underside composed of silver spots.  The silver glistens in the sunlight.  The Gulf flies quickly from flower to flower, taking a long time to nectar on each bloom.  They are more common to southern states, but can be found sometimes in more northerly states.  These butterflies are raised only by a few farmers.

MonarchMourning Cloakmourning_cloakThe Mourning Cloak appears to be a black butterfly, but is actually a dark maroon with a cream-colored border and violet-blue row of spots on its lower wings.  It has a wingspan of about 2 ¼ “ to 4 “.  Mourning Cloaks can be found in most states throughout the country.  This is a lovely butterfly, but caution needs to be taken when doing releases with this butterfly.  They like to play dead when touched and may not be the most suitable for releases.  Only a few farmers raise this species.

MonarchRed AdmiralredadmiralThe Red Admiral is a cheerful-looking butterfly.  It is black with a reddish-orange band along the hind wings and upper wings.  There are white spots on the apex of the wing.  It varies in size, anywhere from 1 ¾ “ to a 3” wingspan.  When released, it has an erratic flight.  This butterfly is only raised by a few farmers.

MonarchZebra LongwingzebralongwingZebra Longwings are a medium-sized butterfly.  They have a 2” to 4” wingspan.  Their coloring is mostly black with yellow horizontal stripes that run from wingtip to wingtip.  When flying, it is slow and graceful.  They tend to hover in flight, moving from flower to flower.  Zebras are only indigenous to the southern states and are raised by only a few farmers in the south.blue-morpho-butterflyOne of the most requested butterflies is a blue butterfly.  The butterfly most often requested is the Blue Morpho.  Blue Morpho butterflies are not native to the United States or Canada and cannot be imported without a special containment facility that is inspected by the USDA.  Laws for imported butterflies are so strict that even in secure butterfly exhibits, deceased imported butterflies must be incinerated or frozen at sub-zero temperatures for many hours before disposal of their bodies.  This is to prevent importation of butterfly diseases, parasites, and parasitoids.NOTE:  If a customer wants to release blue butterflies they may be disappointed.  Black Swallowtail females have blue on their lower wings, though Black Swallowtails can be difficult to locate.

If the customer lives outside the US, contact butterfly farmers in your client’s country to discover if any blue butterflies are available for your clients.