Monarch butterflies ready for a mass release
Monarch butterflies ready for a mass release

People everywhere love butterflies, and enjoy being around them.

Today, many use the release of live butterflies to add interest, fun and meaning to their event or gathering, whether it be a wedding, birthday party, graduation, anniversary, funeral, or memorial service.

There can either be a mass release, or an individual release of a single butterfly by each participant at the event. Butterflies to be mass released are stored in decorative boxes of mesh or other soft material (see photo to the right), and then fill the sky when they are all released at once.

Individual butterflies are safely stored in envelopes given to event participants. The envelopes are frequently engraved with names and dates.

Various butterfly species are popular for releases, including Monarchs, Painted Ladies, Gulf Fritillaries, and Swallowtails.

Typically, the day before your event, a box will be delivered via an overnight shipping service such as FedEx. The shipping box will be insulated with ice packs to keep the butterflies in a dormant state. The butterflies are then removed from the cool box before the event, and given time to warm and be ready to fly when released.

An individual Monarch safely stored in an envelope prior to release
An individual Monarch safely stored in an envelope prior to release

To support these events, a new industry has emerged to breed and transport live butterflies.

Many of these companies are accredited members of the International Butterfly Breeders Association.

The interstate transport of butterflies is regulated and governed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA has ruled that only nine butterfly species may be moved across state lines for release, and then only to certain states.

So we recommend checking local laws and regulations when planning the purchase and release of butterflies for your event.

Butterfly Release Photos

Shown below are photos we took at a recent butterfly release.

Monarch Butterfly release
Monarch Butterfly release in East Texas
Source: ButterfliesAtHome.com Collection
Monarch Butterfly release
Monarch Butterfly release in East Texas
Source: ButterfliesAtHome.com Collection

Butterfly Breeders

A large number of butterfly breeders are now located nationwide.

For a complete listing, visit the website of the International Butterfly Breeders Association (IBBA). Founded in 1998, IBBA is the largest and oldest professional butterfly farming trade association.

Question Marks are friendly to humans!