It's been a while since I posted on this forum. I thought I would share an idea that I tried that worked out quite well ...
I did a science project with the students in my class this past school year. (I'm a teacher assistant who teaches science. Life cycle of insects is a favorite topic!)
Instead of attempting an in-ground garden, I decided to do a portable, self-watering garden for our class project this Spring. It turned out to be a huge success ... but unfortunately ... I didn't know the extent of the success until school ended and I brought it home! (sigh) The students did still raise caterpillars/butterflies in cages in the classroom. The students were so amazed and excited, that some of my students started their own butterfly gardens at home! :-)
After getting the portable garden home after school ended, I was shocked at all the cats I found on some of the host plants. I guess we should have created the garden a month earlier so my students could've enjoyed them, too! Oh well ...
Anyway, wasps are a real problem here when raising caterpillars outside. So I built a cage frame for the portable garden to screen it in once the butterfly eggs were laid on the host plants. Very easy and cheap to make. This idea has worked better than any other cage I've used over the years, so thought I'd share the idea here on this forum.
Items I used:
Large hard plastic bin (I used a bin that had wheels on one end so it was easier to roll into place)
1" diameter PVC pipe cut to a length that is at least 2" taller than the bin
Host and nectar plants
Empty 2 1/2 gallon water jugs
Drill - for making drain holes on the side of the bin (Do NOT put holes in the bottom of the bin!!!)
4 - 1/2" PVC cut to the height you want it to be above the bin
2 - 1/2" PVC cut to the length of the bin (approx. length - you might want it shorter than the bin length)
2 - 1/2" PVC cut to the width of the bin (approx. width - you might want it shorter than the bin width)
4 - 3-way PVC corner elbow connectors
10-20 - 1/2" PVC snap clamps http://www.johnnyseeds.com/p-8293-snap-clamps-for-34-emt-or-...
Clothes pins (used to pin the screen to the top lip of the bin)