Frequently Asked Questions


About Our Farm


Where are you located?
    • We are in Brooker, Florida.
Can I tour your farm? 
    • For insurance reasons, we do not give tours of our farm and greenhouses. The University of Florida has a Butterfly House in Gainesville, called the Butterfly Rainforest. We definitely suggest visiting!
Where do your butterflies come from? 
    • Butterflies at Shady Oak Butterfly Farm are raised indoors and in secure flight houses outdoors, separate from wild butterfly populations. We do not reduce our local butterfly population to fill customers’ orders.
Do you sell butterflies for release? 
    • At this time, we only sell adult butterflies to our education and exhibit customers.  We do not sell adult butterflies on a retail basis for release.  Here is a link to the Association for Butterflies with a list of butterfly farmers that may be able to help you. https://afb.wildapricot.org/Products-Services/ 
How can I contact you?



Who do you use as your shipper?
    • All our packages are shipped using UPS.
Where are my butterflies coming from? 
    • All shipments originate from our farm in Florida.
How long will my butterflies be in transit?
    • Your package will be in transit between 24 to 48 hours.
Can you ship to a P.O. box?
    • No, we cannot ship to P.O. boxes.
When will you ship my butterflies? 
    • At checkout, you can request that your order be shipped as soon as possible or held until the spring. 
    • Timeframes
      • In-stock - If you request “as soon as possible” shipping, your order will be processed in 2 to 4 weeks. If you request spring shipping, your order will be shipped after the last expected frost date in your area.
      • Pre-order - Items are shipped as soon as possible after they become available. 
      • Out-of-stock items - Contact us at officeteam@shadyoakbutterflyfarm.com to be placed on our waiting list.
Where can you ship Monarch butterflies? 
    • We can ship Monarch butterflies east of the Continental Divide. The USDA does not permit us to ship that species west of the Continental Divide.
This butterfly is native to my state, why can’t it be shipped to me? 
    • Shipping restrictions are different for each butterfly/moth species. Common reasons are:
      • The butterfly/moth is a crop pest. 
      • Although they look similar, the genetics can be different with butterflies from different locations.
      • The butterflies/moths from different locations have separate migration patterns.
      • The butterflies/moths from some states may have a greater incidence of a virus/bacteria infection.
      • Some states have only approved only a small number of species for import.

Raising and Releasing Butterflies


Can you recommend a good butterfly kit for a classroom?
    • We recommend all of our Educator Kits for classrooms. They show all stages of the butterfly life cycle from egg to adult. We do not recommend moths or swallowtail butterflies. They emerge in a less predictable time frame and may not be suitable for most school years.
What is the difference between a host plant and a nectar plant? 
    • Host plants are caterpillar food and nectar plants are adult butterfly food. 
Can I use my own host plants?
  • Yes. We recommend you do an internet search using the terms “host plant” and the butterfly species to determine appropriate plants. Make sure any plants you use are pesticide-free. Even organic pesticides can be dangerous. Email us with any questions and we will be happy to guide you.
     What are good nectar plants for adult butterflies? 
    • Brazilian Bachelor's Buttons, Button Bush, Firebush, Firespike, New Gold Lantana, Mexican Flame Vine, Porterweed, Sweet Almond, Tall Red Penta, Zinnia, Mexican Sunflower, Coneflower, Salvia, Bee Balm, Cosmos - there are many more, so if you want to know about a particular plant please email us and we will be happy to help!
      Can I put different species of caterpillars in the same habitat?
      • Generally, yes. as long as you have enough food for all the caterpillars.
        What butterflies do you recommend for my state? 
        • Our website is set up for easy browsing by state. Select “Buy Butterflies” from our main menu. Then select your state.
          What type of butterflies do you recommend for beginners?
            • We recommend Painted Ladies or Buckeyes. They are hardier and emerge from their chrysalises more reliably than other species. 
            Why can’t I release my butterfly/moth?
            • Some butterfly species can be released, but not all. The USDA regulates the interstate transport of butterflies. They have only permitted a small number of species to be moved across state lines for the purposes of release.