Cages for raising outside?

Our cages at Monarch Butterfly Life are better suited for indoor use or in an outdoor area protected from the elements and predators.  Here are a few alternative options for raising monarchs outdoors:

  1. Aluminum Screen Cages (floored- bottom door access for easy cleaning)
  2. Pest control pop ups (no floor- potential pest access)
  3. Place tomato cages over milkweed plants and put 5 gallon paint strainers over the cages/plants. (potential pest access- less if you can secure the bottom)

Why not WOOD cages? 🤔

Wood cages are hard to disinfect, which can cause ongoing disease issues. According to monarch expert Dr. Karen Oberhauser:

"It is difficult to clean wood cages unless you have access to an autoclave. At Minnesota, we use wood and screen cages to rear larvae, and have successfully decontaminated them in an autoclave. If you use plastic cages, they can be decontaminated by soaking them in a 10% bleach solution (approximately 10 ml Clorox bleach to 100 ml water) or 100% ethanol for at least 15 minutes, then rinsed well. Use the bleach solution to soak any tools that you use to transfer larvae, rinsing them after they are soaked. Wipe down countertops and other surfaces with the bleach solution in areas in which you have reared larvae or kept butterflies. The spores survive long periods of time (over a year), and can also survive freezing temperatures, so equipment that you used last year or left outside over the winter will still be able to infect larvae."

In case you were wondering, an autoclave that would hold a large outdoor enclosure will cost at least  10k dollars