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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Black Swallowtail Butterfly

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Black Swallowtail
Black Swallowtail  
We live in Lexington, KY.  Yesterday we found a Black Swallowtail butterfly in our garage.  It looked like it had newly emerged.  By last night its wings looked stronger and like it could take flight.  However, it is too cold here for it to fly yet and there are no flowers blooming.  I took it inside and made a house with some sticks for it in an enclosed area.  It has been perching most of the night and day.  When I put a heater in the room it will fly around.  I have made some sugar water for it and have 1/2 an orange in there for it.  When do you think it will be able to go outside?  Will it live long enough to be able to see some warm weather and flowers outside?  What is the best plan for the butterfly?

Thank you,

Christyn

Answer
The best plan is to release it outdoors.  If you are concerned about food sources, put an orange outside for it, at the release point.  If it needs it, it will return to the orange.  Butterflies have survived for thousands of years without human help, and are very hardy creatures.  

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Silkworm expert. Have raised them as a hobby for 20 years. I do not identify unknown insects.

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