So you've raised your caterpillars to total metamorphosis, now what?
1. Allow the newly emerged adult 3-4 hours to inflate and dry their wings. Do not touch them when their wings are still wet or it may damage them.
2. When the butterflies first emerge, they are quite lethargic and slow-moving for the first few hours. They may just walk onto your finger if you gently nudge their legs. Then, you can carry them outside and place them on a plant.
3. If your butterfly has had more than a few hours and is feeling a bit more active, you will have to hold them differently in order to minimize damage to their wings/scales.
4. Starting with your pointer and middle finger in a scissor-like position, gently hold all four wings as close to their body as possible. This way they will not be able to flap their wings and damage them. Then, carry them outside.
NOTE: Sometimes the weather does not allow you to release your Monarch right away. If is below freezing, raining, hailing, snowing or there are strong gusts of wind, it is best to keep your Monarchs safe inside until this passes. You can feed them fresh cut fruits and/or honey water while they are waiting out the storm.