Butterfly Wedding Releases (Founded in 1993)
In Association with South African Butterfly Breeding Association (SABBA)
A Non Profit Company (NPC) – Registration No. 2005/035553/08, P. O. Box 599, Ramsgate, 4285.
We have been supplying SA butterflies as confetti since 1999.
Note; This service is not available to wedding/function Coordinators or wedding/function Venues
To avoid misunderstandings and misrepresentations
– we do not deal with third parties –
Frequently asked Questions
What are the best weather conditions for a release?
Butterflies can be released in most weather conditions providing that they are released outdoors. If indoors, there should be provision made for them to escape to the outside. They also need to be released at least one hour before sunset, so they have sufficient time to find shelter for the night.
Are butterfly releases seasonal?
Yes, depending on the climate in your area. The temperature needs to be at least warm for a successful release. The best releases always take place in areas that are suitable for the species released. Butterflies are available throughout the year and are bred from locality type species.
Are these releases safe for the environment?
Yes. Providing that the butterflies are released in suitable environments in which they are able to find shelter as well as host plants to help propagate existing butterfly colonies.
Is this harmful to the butterflies?
Not at all. Butterflies are packaged carefully and securely to ensure their safe arrival. When receiving your butterflies, you also receive a specific set of instructions in caring for their needs before they are released.
How many butterflies should I order?
This greatly depends on the size of your event or the amount of guests that will be watching/participating. For an event consisting of 50 people, we recommend at least 1 per person. For larger groups it is standard to order 100 butterflies for 100 or more guests. Some people have ordered as many as 500 butterflies for attendances of congregations of up to 1500 followers, but most people order more or less depending on their preferences.
How soon should I place my order?
We ask that you give us at least 12 weeks notice to guarantee the availability of your order. We do understand that orders will occasionally come up at the last minute, or without a 12 weeks notice required, so we do make every effort to be able to fulfil these orders, depending on availability. We ask that you contact us before placing these orders to ensure availability.
How are the butterflies packaged? Are they harmed during shipment?
The butterflies are packaged carefully and securely, to ensure safe delivery and to prevent any harm coming to them. They are placed in individual envelopes, and packaged in an insulated box to keep them cool. As long as they are kept cool they will remain in a dormant stage, preventing any damage to come to them. It is essential that they stay cool while packaged. Instructions are provided for your convenience. Special indigenous hand crafted release boxes are also available at your request for the releasing of butterflies. Once the release is complete, the bride and groom have a beautiful treasure chest for treasured gifts, as a remembrance of this special occasion.
How are butterflies shipped?
We always ship butterfly orders via overnight courier to ensure safe arrival to you. This cuts down the travelling time in the heat of the day for the butterflies, minimizing the time frame in which butterflies are kept in a dormant state.
How do I care for my butterflies until the release?
You will receive your butterflies 1-2 days before your scheduled release. They will be packaged in individual envelopes inside an insulated box to ensure safe arrival. As soon as you receive your butterflies, place them in a cool and dark place. This will ensure that they will remain calm and dormant preventing their wings from becoming damaged. Remove them from the cool area 1-2 hours prior to the release so they can warm up. If you are having a mass release you can remove them from their individual envelopes at this time and put them in the release box. The transfer from the envelopes to the release box must be done carefully and quickly. Butterflies can feign death and then suddenly recover and take off. Be careful.
TIP: If you would like your butterflies to linger for a longer amount of time after releasing them, let them warm up for a shorter amount of time, approximately 30-45 minutes. After the release it will take a few minutes for their wings to warm up completely, so they will often fly onto the nearest surface, which could be your hand, shoulder or bouquet! This is always an exciting event!
What type of butterfly release do I want?
The two most common types of butterfly releases are mass and individual releases. They are both very exciting ways to enjoy these beautiful butterflies, and can also be combined for a taste of both. Neither method is charged extra.
One exciting option for a butterfly release is a mass release. Simply release a large amount of butterflies at the same time from a box or basket. Your butterflies will arrive packaged individually for their safety during transportation, and can be transferred to the release box prior to the release. The amount of butterflies you will need depends on the amount of guests at the event and/or your personal preference.
Another option for your release is an individual release. This is a great way to involve the guests at your event, by giving each person one butterfly to release. At the time of the release, each guest at your event will be given in a customized, individual packet which will easily open to release a live butterfly!
When you receive your butterflies, they will already be packaged in their individual envelopes to be used for the release. Prior to the release, they can simply be handed out to the guests.
Unsure about butterfly releases?
Position Papers by the International Butterfly Breeders Association and South African Butterfly Breeding Association, independently compiled and presented by: Melanie J. McCarthy, (The Monarchy Butterfly Farm) and E. Whiteley, (Butterfly Sanctuary SA).
Recent controversy, brought about by media reports and the statements of some butterfly enthusiasts, has resulted in questions about butterfly releases and whether they are harmful to the environment or to the wild butterfly population. Here are some of those questions and our answers to those questions:
Do hand reared butterflies carry diseases that can pose a serious threat to wild butterfly populations?
There is no basis in fact to support the statement that butterfly releases are harmful to the wild butterfly population. As in all types of agriculture, disease prevention in butterfly and moth farming is key to the quality product and vital to a successful operation. Butterfly farmers do not release or use for breeding any livestock that indicates the presence of disease. For example, in the case of the Monarch butterfly, all responsible Monarch breeders test for the presence of O. elektroscirrha protozoa, the disease of most concern to the North American Butterfly Association. Commercial breeders who do not maintain pathogen-free breeding conditions are out of business in a season or less. Furthermore, predators, parasites and pathogens have far more impact on wild butterfly populations where less than 2% of all eggs are able to mature into adult butterflies. The same applies to South African butterfly species.
In a recent Associated Press article (written by Mike Branom dated 10/11/’99) Don Lewis, Professor of Entomology at Iowa State University is quoted as follows: “It has been a good year (1999) for butterflies in general and we’re looking forward to a prolonged fall so we can enjoy the show.” Mr Branom reports, also, that eyewitness accounts corroborate this with reports of unusually high numbers of butterflies in September 1999. This is evidence of a healthy wild butterfly population, even after years of captive-bred butterfly releases. All butterfly populations, however, are cyclical and are affected by many factors including unseasonable and destructive weather conditions. E. Whiteley, also the author of 14 butterfly books states ” Areas that have had butterflies released, through weddings has increased butterfly populations……. we are receiving many reports from individuals taking a keen interest in butterfly conservation as well as helping in the study of populations nearing extinction. Releasing butterflies enhances their survival rate in areas being devastated by development and ignorance of the butterflies plight…..”
Do the butterflies die during shipping?
It is rare that butterflies die during shipping/transportation and breeders do everything they can to prevent that from happening. The shipping policy of the IBBA and SABBA alike, was developed to protect the butterfly from expiring en route to its destination. The policy states that livestock will be packaged for shipping/transportation in containers that provide protection from temperature extremes, drop shock and compression injury. Professional, established butterfly breeders would not be able to stay in business for as long as they have if butterflies died during shipping/transportation.
Will there be an undesirable mixing of genes between captive bred and wild populations of butterflies?
Scientists have no evidence that gene pools are adversely affected by releasing farm-reared butterflies into the wild.
What is behind the criticism of butterfly releases?
Many serious hobbyists have taken a respected hobby of nature and turned it into a commercial business. We are one of the only industries that actually raises livestock for the sole purpose of letting it go free. Many of the controversial statements are centered around words such as “might” or “could”. There are strong emotions regarding the controversy and it might be that some people, in principle, simply do not like to see butterflies ‘commercialized’. However it must be noted, that the release of butterflies is beneficial for the environment and existing butterfly colonies. There are very few experts that can breed butterflies and this is even more difficult to do so commercially. Those that can are the ‘experts’.
Are there benefits to rearing and releasing butterflies?
“The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of the Butterfly World” by Paul Smart in its introduction, states: “Sadly, butterflies are threatened by habitat destruction almost everywhere… In some countries people have begun to conserve desirable wildlife, but even here many important food plants are regarded as ‘weeds’ and removed – patches of rough, wild vegetation are anathema to town planners and highway authorities…. A positive contribution may be made by aiding conservation projects and by helping to breed and release healthy butterflies in suitable habitats, though this should always be done as part of a documented and properly organized project.”
The IBBA and SABBA believe, that by releasing butterflies on special occasions, individuals will associate the magnificence of butterflies with a very significant event in their lives. The love and appreciation for butterflies will initiate interest in butterfly gardening, encourage the decreased use of insecticides by property owners and help in efforts to preserve butterfly habitats. Butterfly releases also have the potential to spark a new interest in and appreciation of entomology in both young and old. In addition breeders often provide considerable time and resources to schools and other organizations in their communities such as senior citizen centers, nursing homes, children’s hospitals, prison programs and more. You will also find them actively supporting organizations which promote conservation of our wildlife and other natural resources.
What is the IBBA and SABBA?
The International Butterfly Breeders Association and South African Butterfly Breeding Association is an international/national non-profit\membership-based trade association promoting high standards of ethics, competence and professionalism in the breeding of quality Lepidoptera for a variety of purposes. We accomplish this through research, grower education, market development, and habitat conservation and restoration. Our membership base includes entomologists, lepidopterists, biologists, educators, business people, hobbyists and students.
Why does SABBA not allow wedding/function Co-coordinators or wedding/function Venues to order your butterflies?
Through our experience we have found this to be a bad idea. Some have misrepresented SABBA and have blamed the client for not paying in time for their butterfly breeding processes to begin. Others have not the time nor patience required to care for your butterflies before they are released. This leaves the couple unhappy and they do not get the opportunity of having butterflies at their wedding. Dealing directly with SABBA avoids many disappointments and makes for excellent service from SABBA to the client.
How are the butterflies kept safe? Is there a guarantee?
Our release packaging has been specially designed for the welfare of our butterflies so that they are always perfectly safe. As butterflies are cold-blooded, our packaging contains protective cooling packs inside to keep the butterflies cool and dark, this puts the butterflies into a natural hibernation-type sleep. That way the butterflies are never stressed or harmed in any way. We proudly offer the highest level of expertise and guarantee our butterflies will always be healthy and vibrant ~ 100%