butterfly net

Catch Butterflies Easily with Butterfly Net Tips

Are you fascinated by the enchanting world of butterflies? Do you want to learn how to catch them and observe their beauty up close? A butterfly net is an essential tool for any aspiring butterfly enthusiast. Whether you’re a kid, a science enthusiast, or simply someone who enjoys spending time in their garden, having the right butterfly net can make all the difference.

When choosing a butterfly net, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, make sure the net is long and has a deep netting, at least 2 feet deep. Kids’ nets may be too short and can harm the delicate butterflies, so opt for a net suitable for your needs.

The hoop of the net should be wide enough for butterflies to fit through easily but not too large that it becomes difficult to handle. The netting itself should have a fine mesh that allows for easy movement through the air without causing excessive wind resistance. Additionally, the netting should be transparent, allowing you to see the butterflies clearly as you catch them.

The handle of the net is another crucial consideration. It should be sturdy and durable, capable of withstanding flipping motions without breaking. A net with an extendable handle allows for greater reach, especially when trying to catch butterflies in high places or hard-to-reach areas.

Before you head out on your butterfly-catching adventure, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations. Some areas may require permits to carry a butterfly net, so be sure to check beforehand to ensure you’re following all legal requirements.

Once you have your butterfly net, it’s time to start the hunt! To increase your chances of success, seek out the best places to find butterflies. Gardens and wooded areas are often teeming with these lovely creatures. You can even attract butterflies to your own backyard by planting flowers that they love, such as marigolds, milkweed, buckwheat, zinnia, and heliotrope.

When you spot a butterfly, approach it slowly and quietly from behind. This will minimize the chances of scaring it away. To catch the butterfly, use a quick and fluid motion to flip the net over it, capturing it within the netting. Remember, it’s easier to catch a stationary butterfly, but with practice, you can also catch them in flight by mastering the sneaking-up technique.

Once you’ve successfully caught a butterfly, carefully fold the netting over the hoop to prevent it from escaping. If you want to handle the butterfly, lightly grab it above the body with the wings folded together, ensuring not to harm its delicate wings.

To keep a captured butterfly alive, transfer it to a cage with netting or screens on the outside to ensure proper ventilation. Provide the butterfly with nectar or sugar water suitable for its species, keeping in mind that some butterflies may not eat at all.

If you don’t plan to keep the butterfly alive, you may choose to preserve it by killing it humanely. Gently squeeze the middle body segment (thorax) until it stops struggling, and then store it in a glassine or triangular envelope, noting down relevant information such as the date, time, and location of capture.

Key Takeaways:

  • Choose a butterfly net that is long and has at least 2 feet deep netting.
  • Opt for a net with a wide hoop and fine, transparent mesh.
  • Select a net with a sturdy handle that can withstand flipping motions.
  • Check local laws and regulations regarding butterfly net usage.
  • Search for butterflies in gardens, woods, and your own backyard.
  • Approach butterflies slowly and quietly from behind for a better chance of catching them.
  • Handle butterflies with care, lightly gripping them above the body with folded wings.
  • If desired, transfer captured butterflies to a cage with proper ventilation and suitable food.
  • Consider preserving butterflies by killing them humanely and storing them in envelopes.

Tips for Successful Butterflying

Are you ready to embark on a butterfly expedition? Here are some essential tips to ensure a successful butterfly-catching experience.

1. Choose the Right Time and Place

Pick a warm and sunny day for your butterflying adventure, as butterflies are most active in warm weather. Aim for a temperature of 70 degrees and above. Visit places where butterflies are likely to be found, such as wildflower meadows, forests with flowers, or even your own backyard. For late spring/early summer butterflying, the Land Trust’s Metolius Preserve is a recommended location.

A good butterfly net designed for catching insects is essential. Before going on your expedition, practice your netting technique. There are two main techniques: the plop method and the swish and flip method. The plop method involves gently placing the net on top of a stationary butterfly and then folding the net over to corral the butterfly. The swish and flip method is more advanced and involves catching a butterfly in flight by swooping the net around it. Remember to be gentle when netting butterflies to avoid injuring them.

3. Plan for Easy Mobility

When going butterflying, opt for a shorter walk rather than a long hike. This allows for easy stopping and following butterflies wherever they go. You don’t want to miss out on any beautiful specimens!

4. Observe and Identify

If you successfully catch a butterfly, take the time to observe it through the net or transfer it to a jar with holes in the lid for a closer look. Always handle butterflies gently to avoid damaging their delicate wings. Use butterfly books to help identify the species. It’s fascinating to learn about the different types of butterflies you encounter.

“Butterflies are nature’s most beautiful and delicate creatures. Take a moment to appreciate their intricate patterns and vibrant colors while in the field.”

5. Release with Care

After observing or identifying the butterfly, release it back into its natural habitat. Butterflies play a crucial role in pollination and contribute to the ecosystem, so it’s important to let them continue their journey.

Happy butterflying!

Preserving and Mounting Butterfly Specimens

Preserving and mounting butterfly specimens is a fascinating way to study and showcase the intricate beauty of these delicate creatures. Whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional collector, proper preservation techniques will ensure that your specimens last for years to come.

Preservation Methods

There are various methods for preserving different stages of a butterfly’s life cycle:

  • For eggs, preservation in alcohol is recommended to maintain their integrity.
  • Caterpillars can be killed in a preservative fluid or boiled and then stored in rubbing alcohol.
  • Pupae can be preserved in alcohol, frozen, or mounted on an insect pin.

Killing and Storing Butterflies

Once you’ve caught a butterfly, it’s important to kill it quickly and humanely before preservation. The most common method involves gently pinching the middle body segment (thorax) until the butterfly stops struggling.

After killing the butterfly, you can store it in an envelope or a paper triangle. To further ensure preservation, keep the specimens in a tight-fitting box with moth balls or other insecticides. Alternatively, freshly collected specimens can be stored in a plastic bag in a freezer until they are ready to be mounted.

Mounting Techniques

Mounting a butterfly specimen is a meticulous process that requires precision and attention to detail. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Pin the butterfly through the thorax using an insect pin.
  2. Securely pin the specimen onto a mounting board, positioning the wings, body, and antennae to showcase its natural beauty.
  3. Allow the specimen to dry for several days to a week, ensuring that the wings set correctly. You can use small strips of paper to hold the wings in place during the drying process.
  4. Once the specimen is completely dry, carefully remove the pins and discard the paper strips.

Displaying Your Collection

There are various ways to display your mounted butterfly specimens:

  • For traditional mounting, store the specimens in tightly-closed boxes. Use insecticides if necessary to prevent infestation by dermestid beetles and book lice. Keep the specimens in low moisture conditions to prevent mold growth.
  • For more creative displays, consider shadowbox or dome displays. Glue the mounted specimens to a background cloth or object using balsa wood mounting boards with an angle between mounting surfaces. Remember to only pin dry specimens for easy removal of the insect pins and avoid touching the wing surfaces to prevent scale loss.

Preserving and Mounting Butterfly Specimens

Preserving and mounting butterfly specimens allows you to appreciate their intricate details and share their beauty with others. Whether you’re preserving butterflies for educational purposes, scientific research, or personal enjoyment, these techniques will ensure that your collection remains intact for years to come.


Catching butterflies can be a rewarding and enjoyable activity, but it requires proper equipment, techniques, and knowledge. By following the right butterfly net tips, you can enhance your success in catching these beautiful creatures.

Choosing the right butterfly net with an appropriate size and handle is crucial. Finding the best places to look for butterflies, such as flower meadows or your own backyard, will greatly increase your chances. Practicing netting techniques like the plop or swish and flip methods will help you master the art of catching butterflies without harming them.

Preserving and mounting butterfly specimens not only allows for closer observation and identification but also serves as a valuable educational tool. By storing and displaying butterfly specimens, you can learn more about their unique characteristics and contribute to their conservation.

Remember, it is essential to release butterflies after observing or identifying them. Also, be sure to respect local laws and regulations regarding butterfly collection and preservation. With these tips, you can fully enjoy the world of butterflying while promoting the protection of these delicate creatures.

Source Links

Scroll to Top