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About Butterflies and Insects from The Butterfly Company

Where do your insects come from?

Most of our insects are raised on butterfly farms all over the world. The farms we work with primarily are in South and Central America, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Africa. We also work with breeders in the United States.

We work with conservation areas of old-growth forests around the world where butterflies and insects are harvested to help fund the preservation of these areas. The alternative is to clear the land and use it for mono-crop farming, such as for banana or coffee plantations. Old-growth forests can produce unlimited quantities of insects which, when harvested following government regulations and quotas, can directly fund the preservation and conservation of those vital forest habitats.

What do people do with butterflies?

People buy butterflies for lots of reasons. Primarily, our customers collect butterflies as a hobby like people enjoy collecting stamps and coins. Most of our customers put the butterflies they buy from us into a collection or display case, or into economical riker mounts. Some put them in frames or use them in crafts. Others photograph them, study them, or use them in advertising, or they may use them as table or centerpiece decorations, to accent plants, or in artwork. The possibilities are endless!

I want to start a collection. What should I buy first?

Whatever you like! Look through our insects and butterflies for sale to find ones you like. In time, you may find you favor certain families or groups, and then you might choose to focus or specialize in particular kinds of butterflies or insects. But in the beginning, just buy the ones that visually appeal to you. You can use our spreading service to pose them for you, but if you are going to mount or spread them yourself, we recommend acquiring a few inexpensive butterflies to practice with.

How are butterflies and insects preserved?

Insects are naturally preserved when they are dried and placed into paper envelopes for storage. Butterfly and insect bodies are composed primarily of keratin and chitin, which are hard, durable compounds. Once an insect or butterfly is dried, it will not disintegrate or decompose over time. It should last indefinitely if kept in a dry and stable environment.

Are the colors real? How long does the color last?

Yes, the colors are real. Only a few insects lose color or fade over time, so if they are properly maintained in a collection or display, their color can last forever.

Can I spread my own dried butterflies and insects?

Yes, but it takes some practice. Spreading is the process of rehydrating (remoistening) dried butterflies and insects to open the wings or to pose them in any formation you please. The preservation process has been the same for hundreds of years, and it is an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Check our blog for How-To videos showing the rehydrating and spreading process.

Buying Butterflies and Insects

Do you sell live butterflies and insects?

No, we do not. But we can recommend (ask for Randi) for live butterfly kits and other live insects. If you are looking for a butterfly release company, a google search should provide several businesses that will overnight butterflies to you for this purpose.

Do you hold butterfly and insect auctions?

Yes, we hold auctions twice a year in the spring and in the fall. These auctions feature both rare and common butterflies and insects from our private house collection and other American and European collections. They are exciting events intended to help our customers acquire new or unusual treasures for their collections. When the catalog is available to view for the next auction, a notice will be posted at the top of our home page. We hope you will join us!

What do the quality codes mean?

Like any collectible, the better the quality of the butterfly or insect, the higher the value. We offer various qualities at different prices so you can determine what fits your needs and your budget. The quality grading for butterflies and insects is similar to stamps and coins.

  • A1 : Specimen is perfect or nearly so
  • NP : Near Perfect, very minor imperfection
  • A- : Good.  Small chip or light scratch. (We cannot guarantee tarsi/legs on beetles.)
  • A2 : Fair.  Tear, nick, smudge, likely repairable
  • 2nd : Suitable for reference purpose only

Beginners and children with start-up collections can save money by purchasing less than A1 quality, since working with butterflies and insects will take some practice. Our butterfly collection activity kits are perfect for practicing! If your goal is to become a serious collector, we suggest getting the best quality you can afford.

What do the codes for the butterfly or insect’s sex mean?

M = Male
F = Female
P = Male and Female

How is the size of a butterfly or insect measured?

Size is measured in millimeters (mm) in these dimensions:

Butterfly and moth size: Wingspan when spread flat from wing tip to wing tip

Beetle size: Length from jaw or horn tip to end of shell.

Insect size: Length from end of face to rear of body.

What happens if my butterfly or insect arrives damaged?

If there is a severe damage not expected based on the chosen grade, please contact us within 14 business days of delivery and we will take care of you and make things right!

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