Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Hey Everyone! 
Thanks for all of your support, we are really feeling the love! And we appreciate everyone`s endless patience. Our office is definitely a bit chaotic still, as we are operating on essential staff only. Happy to report that all active orders are on schedule. As we move forward, we anticipate that caterpillar dates will begin to sell out: we were not sure if this would happen at first: but now we are. Our capacity is drastically reduced from a normal operating year. 

About shipping in 2020: we ship priority overnight with Purolator, and it appears to be business as usual with them. If you’ve ever wondered why the shipping price is so high: it’s because we ship live animals. The price is for speed: getting the critters to you safe and healthy is one of our core concerns. It also covers a waiver for insurance on live delivery, because believe it or not, it’s… actually pretty difficult to get a big courier with hundreds of drivers to make a general agreement to ship boxes full of live bugs for a few months every year. Purolator are our most trusted choice for these reasons.

This means our shipping is pricey! We totally get that this cost can be prohibitive: reach out to us if that’s the case. We will do our best to find an alternative such as a group shipment or referral to a retailer where possible.

 We currently cannot offer local pickup as we do not have a secure contactless point to keep the animals safe. For Edmonton delivery, we work with a fantastic local courier called Firestar Express, who are fully insured for live delivery and offer same-day service in Edmonton. We know this is an inconvenience with COVID weighing on everyone’s lives, but we are simply not set up to staff a safe arrangement at the best of times, and this year we can’t do it without risking the laboratory’s ability to stay open. If this one’s a deal-breaker for you, the best option is giving Education Station a call: they are the local retail store who carry our kits, and unlike us, are totally structured for pickup.

 Whew! Now that`s over, we have some news!

Mantis hatchling kits have launched! This is a great option for those who want “the mantis experience” but maybe do not want to hatch an entire ootheca (300+ mantis in the house can be a lot to handle).

The Mantis hatchlings kit includes:

  • 3 baby mantis (nymphs): Tenodera aridifolia sinensis, the Chinese mantis (size will vary)
  • 3 16 oz deli containers with lids to house them (mantis need to be kept separately, otherwise they eat each other)
  • 1 culture of flightless fruit flies to feed them (lasts about a month), enough food to get them through the next several weeks

Expect your mantis to live 6-8 months, and reach up to 4 inches in size (they eventually develop wings). Mantis are a lively predator and require daily care.

 They are a little more labor intense than caterpillars: they need to be fed and watered daily, and they live longer. They will outgrow both the starter containers and the food that we send: so be prepared to upgrade them within a month.

Click Here for more info and to order hatchlings

These will be available while quantities last; and will be subject to backorder if we run out 😊

Stay tuned for more products! Microgreen kits are just around the corner ^_^

-Corrianne, Camilla, Gloria

Update Tuesday, April 7 2020:

Sorry for the delay in updates! We have been extremely busy with all the cancellations we`re undergoing, but as of today we`re mostly past all that now.

Some Updates:

Yes! We are still open for caterpillar orders and other living science projects. We cannot offer curbside pickup at our location, however we do ship both Canada-wide and in Edmonton, and most of our retails stores can do pickup. All shipped items are packaged with our standard CFIA sanitation measures in place, plus PPE as currently recommended by health officials here in Canada.

Caterpillar season opens this year on April 27, and we ship weekly all the way to June. Currently, we are recommending that if you are in the north, that you request a later shipping date such as May 11 or May 19 for the sake of the butterflies (it is a cold spring!). Anything can happen with weather in AB so we do notice that those later dates prove best. Though we don't start shipping until the 27, please place your orders now to ensure availability with all this upheaval!

Our retailers are also going strong. If you are in an area with one of our retail partners, please support local! These amazing small businesses all carry our projects (click for links):
Vernon Teach and Learn Ltd. (Vernon, BC, wide availability for shipping)
Education Station (Edmonton AB, wide availability for shipping)
The Teacher's Trunk (Saskatoon, SK)
Earthy Accents (Bentley AB)
The Northern Toy Box (Dawson Creek, BC)
Learning Adventures Toys & Games (North Battleford, SK)

Mantis season is occurring now. If you are interested in mantis, please don't delay as these are better the earlier you get them. We are also now offering individual mantis if you just want a couple.

Mason and Leafcutter Bees are also still available for preorder: they will ship week of May 11. These must be preordered: we cannot fill orders on short notice.

Red Wiggler Worms are currently on backorder: our backup breeding site is not longer available due to COVID-19 complications with the humans there, and we have had an unprecedented amount of worm orders this year (thank you everyone!). We hope to have more worms soon, so please contact our office to request these.

Isopods are available year round and a fun addition to your distance learning or composting projects. They’re much less shy than worms, so they’re easier to interact with. Cute little things.

We are also introducing some new projects soon. Please keep your eyes peeled for microgreen kits for kids, as well as darkling beetle rearing kits (raise your own beetles!). 

We want to thank everyone for their patience as we are a bit behind on many things due to our reduced staff. We are not currently sure what our kit capacity will be this year, so we hope you understand that we might need a bit more flexibility than normal to fill orders. Preorders are still the safest way to ensure you will receive your kit: so if you are interested in a project, please place an inquiry now! 

By phone: 780-462-1839
Via email: bugs@butterflyab.com

We appreciate all of your support and interest and hope everyone is doing well! Please call us if you have any questions or comments, need information, or just want to talk about bugs.
Corrianne, Camilla, Gloria


Update: Monday, March 23:

Phew! What a week. Last Monday seems like a lifetime ago. 

First of all, thank you EVERYONE for all of your wonderful messages and support. We were brought to tears several times this week with the outpouring of love from everyone. We definitely have the best customers, collaborators, and friends in the world and we are SO grateful to each and every one of you. 

To keep you all posted, we are still working through the cancellations/credit inquiries for caterpillars and project orders, but we're making awesome headway and at this point, we've split everyone up into categories and a lot of you have heard from us already. Please read the following if you are concerned about the status of your order:

Those of you with Caterpillar Kits/Bees/Mantis/Living Science Projects:

Schools and facilities already under closure:

  • If you fall into this category and HAVEN'T heard from us as of April 23, please reach out because we somehow missed you! Check your junk mail as well, sometimes we end up in there. Everyone in this category should have an inquiry email by now!


​​Homeschools, private orders, schools in places that do not have closure notices yet (IE Nunavut, the Yukon, etc):

  • We are still working on you guys, just hang tight.
  • We did pull quite a few orders that looked like they were "for sure," aka we think we can safely ship (individuals, homes, brand new orders etc). To downgrade paperwork levels we haven't emailed you at all. SO: if you NEED to cancel, please send us an email right away to expedite cancellations.

 Outreach and In-School Field Trips:

  • Bookings prior to April 30: you should have an email already, please check your inbox or your junk folder! 
  • Bookings after May 1: just hang tight, we're working on you.  Don't worry, we won't show up at the school with a bin of animals. :) At this point we're pretty certain that outreach is a hard no for the rest of the school year due to safety, though this is breaking our hearts because outreach is the highlight of everything we do and we're going to miss the kids SO much so we're sort of... holding out hope. However, we'll be in touch with you sometime in April to assess.

​A reminder that we won't take any drastic action such as shipping OR cancelling your order until we've got a go-ahead from you. Because our project is both so meaningful to the participants yet also so fragile, we are trying not to take risks either way. 

Thank you again to everyone for your patience and consideration, you've made this awful situation so bearable.  So thank you to everyone for sharing our business, for reaching out with kind words and support, and for all of you who have spread the word of caterpillars! You are helping more than we have words to describe. 

Keep an eye on this page and our Facebook page for upcoming videos, activities, and free content! We're working on things to support all of you during this transition. 

Stay healthy!

Gloria, Corrianne and Camilla
Your BWNW Team

Monday, April 16, 2020:

Dear teachers, educators, parents and friends:

In response to the ongoing information from the federal and provincial governments, and in the interest of health of our staff and customers as we work to limit the spread of COVID-19, we have some announcements to make:

Outreach and In-School Field Trips:
We are cancelling all further outreach and in-school field trips until April 30.
Currently, we have placed a hold on in-school field trips occurring in May and June, and throughout the summer, in the hope that circumstances may change for us. These programs will be reassessed by April 30 once we know more about the state of emergency in Alberta. Please bear with us on programs after this date as we are currently overwhelmed and operating on skeleton crew for safety.

Caterpillars, Mantis, Bees, and other Living Science Kits:
To all schools, district offices, libraries, and other facilities under closure:
Your orders will be pulled and placed on hold pending further developments across provinces and in Canada. To be clear: we are not going to be shipping any orders to a closed facility. We are closely monitoring closures across our nation. Each active invoice will be assessed on a case basis to ensure that no caterpillars are at risk.
Hopefully this will provide us all with a slight reprieve as school boards and offices establish a formal protocol for the remainder of the year. We want you to know that you do not need to worry about the caterpillars in these trying times: the most important thing is to ensure the immediate health and safety of your loved ones, and find some stability for these coming months.
We ask that if you are unsure about future school closures, that you hold off on cancellations until you are certain. 

In the event of cancellation of a project, whether now or later, all invoices that are prepaid will carry a credit forward into the 2020/2021 season or until the soonest possible time that we can fulfill that order for you.

To those who have privately run projects not subject to facility closure:
Currently, we are not placing holds on kits delivered to private residences. If you need to cancel your order, please contact us immediately.
Orders that have not been prepaid may be cancelled directly if you are not able to receive your shipment.
All invoices that are prepaid will carry a credit forward into the 2020/2021 season or until the soonest possible time that we can fulfill that order for you.

Retail Stores:
Retailers, we know this is going to be as difficult on you as it has been for us. We will be in touch with you on a case-by-case basis to establish a plan of action and support for you and your business’s needs. Do not lose hope. 

Please know that we would not do this if we had any other solution to stay operational: kit sales cover laboratory work that has been underway for months, and is potentially our only option to stay open and continue to provide services in years to come. 
As a small, family-run office and laboratory that relies on the education system, we are also extending a plea for support if you are able. We are currently planning to continue shipping caterpillar kits to homeschool or at home customers and are proceeding with caterpillar breeding (with extreme safety and sanitation measures in place) in order to do so. 
We are also hoping we might be able to find placement on school board resource lists for teachers or parents to use from home, so if you can amplify our signal, please help.  Our children across the nation will need positive projects and constructive engagements for the next few months. We sincerely hope we can help you meet that need in the short term, while ensuring a future for the caterpillar projects and our beloved laboratory.

For further inquiry, cancellations, orders, and information, please give us a call at 780-462-1839 or reach out to us via email. We are responding as quickly as we can under the circumstances.

Stay healthy, wash your hands, 
And may the pitter patter of tiny feet continue to bring joy even in the hardest times.

Gloria, Corrianne and Camilla

Your BWNW Team