FAQ

Orders & shipments

1- When will my order be dispatched?


Orders will be dispatched from our warehouse the first working Monday or Wednesday after their receipt and payment.

Example 1: Order placed (and paid) before 11.00 AM of Monday: departure on Monday (if all items are available)

Example 2: Order placed (and paid) after 11.00 AM of Monday: departure on Wednesday (if all items are available)

Example 3: Order placed (and paid) before 11.00 AM of Wednesday: departure on Wednesday (if all items are available)

Example 4: Order placed (and paid) after 11.00 AM of Wednesday: departure on Monday of the following week (5 days later), if all items are available.




2- How long does shipping take?


Orders will be dispatched on Monday and Wednesday.

Italian peninsula: Delivery time of 24/48h.

Sicilia and Sardegna: Delivery times around 72h.

Rest of Europe (see available Countries): Around 48-72h to arrive at their destination.

We inform you that the courier is not required to notify to the recipient about his upcoming delivery.




3- How much is the shipping?


Italy:

Standard delivery: 9€

Scheduled dispatch date (only on Monday or Wednesday): 10€

Delivery to smaller islands, Venice and disadvantaged areas: 25€

Rest of Europe (see available Countries): 25€




4- What are the accepted payment methods?


We accept the following payment methods: Credit Card, Pay Pal and wire transfer




5- Which is the best time of the year to enjoy the experience?


For ButterflyKit and MacaKit the best time goes from March to September when butterflies, after the release, have the opportunity to complete their life cycle in favourable environmental conditions.

With Bombyx and Gryllo, the experience can be carried out all year round.




6- How soon should I activate the kits, once received?


The Kits must be activated within 2-3 days from the receipt except for Gryllo which must be activated as soon as possible (within the next day from receipt).




7- How can I track my order?


Once the package has been shipped, you will receive an email with all the instructions for tracking your order.





ButterflyKit

1- Caterpillars are not moving! Are they dead?


Don’t worry! If they are not moving they are moulting, for this reason they will look inactive.

Their main activity is eating, they will move just to satisfy this need.

How can you recognise a moulting caterpillar?

It’s very easy, the characteristics of the moulting caterpillars are:

  • the absence of movement;
  • the presence of a grey band between the head and the chest.




2- What’s that sort of webbing inside the petri dish?


It’s silk, they make it to have more grip on the surfaces.




3- How often do I have to feed my caterpillars?


Usually every 2 days, the most important thing is that the feed has not to be dry.




4- How often do I have to remove the frass?


The containers cleaning from frass is quite important, especially in conditions of high humidity levels.

However, frass removal should not be too frequent in order to not bother caterpillars too much. We suggest to clean the containers on every other day, except in cases of too much condensation and mould.




5- Several days have passed and my caterpillars are still shorter than 3 cm


If after 3 days the caterpillars have not reached the length of 3 cm, move them into the dome box anyway in order to feed them with fresh food.




6- A caterpillar is totally black! What does it mean?


When a caterpillar turns black, it is no more alive. Remove it as soon as possible and clean the area with a paper towel.




7- How can I understand caterpillars are becoming pupae?


At this stage the caterpillars will stop eating and will hang up themselves on the dome. Do not disturb or move them for at least 3-4 days after their formation in order to allow them to safely harden into chrysalides.




8- How can I insert the pupae into the habitat for the emergence?


The most important thing is to position the “head” upwards. Do not touch them for at least 4 days after their formation. To detach the chrysalides, you can cut the anchor silk threads with a manicure scissor. Insert them into each “pocket”, placing the “tail” (the narrowest pupa part) downwards. Make sure the upper half of the chrysalides come out from the pocket in order to let the butterflies climb up to the fabric support and stretch their wings correctly. See the picture below:




9- My Butterflies have not emerged yet. The chrysalides are still at this stage for 1 month.


If your caterpillars have pupated 1 month ago and they have not emerged yet, they’d probably overwinter as diapausing pupae. Temperature variability and photoperiod alternance may lead the caterpillars to a different development as winter pupae.

How can I keep them alive?

It’s important to recreate the environmental conditions caterpillars use to regulate their metamorphosis.

For this reason, keep the pupae outdoor in a naturally lit position, protected from sun, water and wind.

Alternatively, keep them in the fridge in order to simulate the ideal outdoor temperature.

After 4 chilly months, place them inside the habitat for the emergence at room temperature.

Insert the pupae into each pocket of the fabric support, in order to let the butterflies climb up and stretch the wings correctly.




10- My pupae are shaking! Is it normal?


Don’t worry! It means they are alive; this is just a natural defence mechanism.




11- What’s that black liquid on the chrysalis?


It’s haemolymph. When caterpillars become chrysalides, they risk to injure themselves.

It doesn’t mean they won’t be able to emerge anymore. Check the pupa for some days and, if the colour doesn’t change, move it inside the habitat for the emergence, being careful not to further injure it.




12- Can I release my butterflies on a rainy day?


If it’s raining, postpone the release for a couple of hours. If weather conditions don’t change, release them the following day. During this period keep the butterflies in the dark at a temperature <18 °C.




13- What’s the best period to enjoy the experience with Butterfly Kit?


The best period to rear the Large White butterflies goes from March to October.

It is also possible to enjoy the experience in winter, in this case caterpillars will make winter pupae.




14- My pupae have a dark/brown colour! What does it mean?


If the pupae have a dark colour for some time now it means they are no more alive.

Sometimes the caterpillar is unable to complete its lifecycle until the adult butterfly stage.

It’s a common phenomenon. In nature the survival average is of 1 caterpillar out of 50.




15- I have lost my instructions. Where can I find them?


You can download them at this link: Instructions





MacaKit

1- Caterpillars are not moving! Are they dead?


Don’t worry! It’s normal for the caterpillars to look motionless, in all stages they move just if necessary. Their main activity is eating, they will move just to satisfy this need. When they are moulting, they could look inactive even for 2 days.




2- The caterpillars have arrived, what should I do?


Relax… for some days there won’t be necessary any intervention.

Read carefully the instructions and choose the correct place for the caterpillar petri dish (stable temperature - between 20 and 30°- natural lit position, protection from sun and air flow).




3- I see condensation inside the petri dish


At the beginning, the condensation build-up is absolutely normal: it is due to the temperature difference between the inside and the outside of the petri dish and it will disappear as soon as this contrast will be stabilized.

In case of drop formation, open the dish and gently dry the inner side with a clean paper.

In case of a persistent moisture formation (for several days), move the petri dish to a place with a stabler temperature or away from cold air stream.




4- How often do I have to remove the frass?


The containers cleaning from frass is quite important, especially in conditions of high humidity levels.

However, frass removal should not be too frequent in order to not bother caterpillars too much.

We suggest to clean the containers on every other day, except in cases of too much condensation and mould.




5- When should I transfer the caterpillars into the dome box?


At this stage, timing is not fundamental… In the instructions you’ll read to transfer the caterpillars after 7 days from their arrival or when they will be 2/3 cm long. These values are indicative, the variability about caterpillar growth rate is very high and depends on many factors.

For this reason, it’s impossible to give a strict guideline.

Below you can find a picture of caterpillar at the 5th instar that can be moved into the dome box.




6- The caterpillar is “shedding its skin”. How can I help it?


Don’t worry! It’s moulting. It is shedding its skin that now is too tight. Do not disturb or move the caterpillars at this stage, they are extremely delicate.




7- Help me! A caterpillar has two orange horns I have never noticed!


Don’t worry! It’s the osmeterium, a defensive organ that can be everted when the caterpillar feels threatened or needs to drive away other rivals. This gland emits a pungent smell, similar to fennel.




8- When should I add fresh feed into the dome box?


The feed must be prepared and placed when you transfer the caterpillars from the petri to the dome box. We suggest to not put too much food (at the beginning they do not eat so much), it can be added if necessary. Remove any residues of not consumed food and place the fresh one every 3 days. At this stage, timing is not fundamental (the feed duration and the caterpillars hunger depends on several factors), the most important thing is the caterpillars always have fresh feed available. Be careful not to waste all the feed immediately, it must last until their total growth.




9- Could the feed have made mould?


It’s quite improbable. Considering the sterility of the food and petri dish, with a proper handling there won’t be any mould build-up.

If you notice a slight white film on the top of the food or on the sides of the dish, it will most likely be silk made by the caterpillars to have more grip on the surfaces. Silk does not have to be removed.




10- The caterpillar is motionless, it looks smaller and is fixed to the support just with its head and tail


It is going to become a pupa, the last and most complicated moult. If you look carefully, you’ll notice that it is using a self-produced silk in order to make a “belt” to remain fixed to the support.

Do not disturb the caterpillar at this stage. In case it accidentally detaches from its support, do not touch it but leave it as it is.




11- How can I insert the pupae into the habitat for emergence?


In order to transfer the pupae correctly, wait 3-4 days after their formation.

Gently detach the chrysalides from the dome or the toothpicks (sometimes it is more effective to remove the chrysalis together with the button of silk and the belt with which it is anchored to the surface).

Insert them into each pocket, placing the “tail” (the narrowest pupa part) downwards. Make sure the upper half of the chrysalides come out from the pocket in order to let the butterflies climb up to the fabric supports and stretch their wings correctly.

See the picture below as example:




12- A butterfly is not able to completely emerge from the pupae, how can I help it?


In most cases this is caused by an incorrect positioning inside the fabric support (see point 11).

In this case, intervene immediately to release it removing the chrysalis from its body or wings. Take care not to injure it.

Butterflies have a very limited time (about 10 minutes) in which the wings are elastic and can be spread. After that time, their body will start pumping haemolymph and the wings will dry in the position they previously assumed.

In case of deformed wings, we suggest to release the butterfly anyway (preferably in a flowering bush such as lavender, lantana or buddleja, where it will be able to feed and find shelter).




13- I have lost my instructions. Where can I find them?


You can download them at this link: Instructions





Gryllo

1- The crickets have arrived, what should I do?


Now you can activate the kit! In order to avoid the crickets from getting injured during the transfer, keep the cardboard box (with the crickets) into the fridge for 10 minutes. In this way their metabolism slows down and they will be less restless so it will be easier to place them into their new home. In case a cricket appears immobile, position it into the box in a warm place (about 20-25° C) and check it for about 1 hour. Within this time-lapse, you should notice a recovery.




2- The crickets always stay inside the bamboo hut


At the beginning it is normal, they need to settle in and they need time to familiarized with their new home. Having nocturnal habits, during the day they will be less active and they will seek shelter from light.




3- The crickets do not eat


Crickets are very energy efficient and they need little quantity of food (unlike water beads, which must to be replaced frequently). Having nocturnal habits, they usually eat at night.




4- Why do crickets chirp?


Chirping is a prerogative of adult males used as system of intraspecific communication. They produce a multitude of different sound frequencies.

As in nature they stop chirping immediately - if disturbed.




5- My crickets chirp a little, why?


At the beginning it is normal, once they’ll get familiar with their new home, they will start chirping regularly.

Song frequency is proportional to room temperature, the warmer it is, the more they will sing.

On the other hand, the tone changes according to the size of the cricket, the larger it is, the lower will be its tone.




6- How can I recognize males from females?


In house crickets, body and head are yellow-brownish with black bands and spots. Their size is about 16-21 millimetres. The hind wings are very long and protrude from the fore ones, which are much more rigid.

Males and females look very similar, but females have a 10-15 mm long, brown-black ovipositor surrounded by two appendages.

Male fore wings are shorter than the female ones and the scrapers are enlarged to better reproduce the chirp.




7- Can I add other items inside the box?


Of course, let your imagination run wild! You can insert other furnishing elements to customize your Kit! Always choose nontoxic materials. We also advise against placing live plants inside the box, because they can carry bacteria or be eaten by the crickets.




8- A cricket is not moving! Is it dead?


If a cricket is immobile, probably is no longer alive. In this case, remove it from the box as soon as possible.




9- I have to leave for a couple of days, how can I manage my crickets?


Don’t worry! If you have to go away for a few days, it will be enough for the crickets to have water beads and feed available.

For any doubt, put an extra water bead inside the box, in order to guarantee them the correct hydration conditions until you’ll be back home.




10- A cricket has escaped, what can I do?


If a cricket runs away from the box during cleaning or feeding operations, don’t worry, this species is quite easy to catch.

If the recovery is not feasible, the presence of a single cricket inside the house is not a problem in terms of infestation and also it is not dangerous for humans or other animals.




11- I have lost my instructions. Where can I find them?


You can download them at this link: Instructions