President of Insect Lore, Marcus Mcmanamna, on Selling 50,000 Butterfly Kits a Day During the Covid-19 Pandemic.

June 22, 2020

We’ve never experienced a year like this in 50 years.

  • McManamna says sales have quintupled during the pandemic.
  • However, some parents have complained of some *unexpected* lessons.
  • Insect kits in general have seen an increase in sales, some company’s have even hired more employees to keep up with demand.

This is worth the read:

‘They Ate Their Friends!’: Butterfly Kits Backfire

What could be more magical than raising butterflies?

The thought drew millions of orders this spring for educational butterfly kits to occupy children during Covid-19 lockdowns. Parents looked forward to their kids watching furry caterpillars transform into fluttering Painted Ladies.

“We’ve never experienced a year like this in 50 years,” said Marcus McManamna, the president of Insect Lore, a popular brand. The Shafter, Calif., company has been selling 50,000 butterfly kits a day in recent months, at least five times average daily sales last year.

Some parents found the nature lessons exceeded expectations, teaching their young children about cannibalism and death.
“They ate their friends!” said 2-year-old Emberly Bastide, who lives outside Denver. Two caterpillars had lunched on a weaker one, said her mother, Stephanie Bastide: “All that they left was the tail.”

“Caterpillars will eat each other,” said Kathryn Hokamp, a lepidopterist at the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster, Colo. “You typically see this when one caterpillar is molting or forming their chrysalis, so they shed their exoskeleton, and they’re really soft and fairly immobile for 24 hours, and they are a good snack for their siblings.”

Emberly was too young to understand what was going on. But the tiny slaughter spurred an awkward conversation with Ms. Bastide’s 12-year-old son about nature’s caprice. “Yeah, it was pretty weird,” the mother said.


by Jenna Lee,