The IBBA Butterfly Professionals Convention 2023 & 25th Anniversary Celebration


Join Us in Orlando, Florida, November 2023 for an Unforgettable Experience!

This momentous occasion promises to be an unforgettable experience, with a host of exciting activities to mark this milestone.

We will visit working butterfly farms where attendees will have the unique opportunity to learn all about the business of raising butterflies. With numerous hands-on learning presentations, participants will gain valuable insights into butterfly breeding. Additional educational activities include classroom activities and presentations.

Our anniversary celebration also offers ample opportunities for networking with fellow professionals in the industry. Attendees can connect with like-minded individuals, forge new partnerships, and discuss industry trends and challenges. The event is also an excellent platform for sharing ideas and exchanging insights, providing attendees with valuable opportunities to learn from one another.

Of course, our 25th anniversary celebration would not be complete without plenty of fun and excitement! We have planned an array of entertaining activities, including field trips, a banquet and much more. Our event promises to be a celebration of our past achievements and an inspiring look towards the future.


Wednesday, November 8th

5:30-7:30pm Meet & Greet and Registration

Cocktails and light dinner included at Drury Plaza’s KickBack. Grab your name tag and join in icebreaker activities.

Thursday, November 9th

8:00am Meet in hotel lobby for carpool rides

9:30-11:30am  Tour Rhonda’s farm, Metamorphosis Butterfly FarmA behind-the-scenes tour of Rhonda’s commercial wholesale butterfly farm including flight houses, shade houses, fields, and butterfly nursery that ensures the healthy production of multiple butterfly species.

12:00pm  Lunch at Fred’s Market RestaurantThere will be something for everyone at this buffet serving traditional southern food.

Return to hotel

3:00-6:00pm  Afternoon Presentations (click to see list of presentations and presenters)

6:00-7:30pm Cocktails and light dinner included at Drury Plaza’s KickBack. Join us for casual fun activity.

Friday, November 10th

8:30am  Meet in hotel lobby for departure on bus.

9:30-1:00pm Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures We will be touring the butterfly house for a look at a butterfly exhibit, going on an airboat ride, and having lunch by the lake (other activities available on your own).

2:00-9:00pm Butterfly Dan’s Butterfly Farm An in-depth behind the scenes look at a large commercial wholesale butterfly farm.  The farm also does school and group tours. Come see the operations of a working butterfly farm and what else a commercial farm can offer for on-site activities. Dan is an amazing host and will be providing us with a low country shrimp boil dinner and drinks.

Saturday, November 11th

9:00-12:00  Morning Presentations (click to see list of presentations and presenters)

12:00-1:30pm  Lunch

1:30-4:00pm  Afternoon Presentations (click to see list of presentations and presenters)

5:30pm Cocktails at Drury Plaza’s KickBack

6:30pm Banquet Dinner, Fun, and Auction — We will end the convention celebrating 25 years with a banquet dinner, auction and lots of fun!

Optional After Activities**

Sunday, November 12th

Day of fun that will include a variety of activities for all levels.

Monday, November 13th

2:00-5:00pm  Open House at Connie’s farm, Flutterby Gardens located in Bradenton — Connie will open up her butterfly farm for a behind-the-scenes group tour.

**Optional days and activities are not included in any pricing

Registration Details

Register today! Join us for our 25th anniversary convention. Convention registration includes meals, drinks, transportation as described in the agenda.

IBBA Members and guests  $199

Non-members  $350

Saturday night banquet only  $50

(This is for your guest or family that is not attending the convention but would like to attend the Saturday night banquet.)

Pay all at once or reserve your spot with a $50 per person deposit.

Member payment schedule:

$50 due to reserve your spot

$75 due August 31st

$75 due September 30th

Non-member payment schedule:

$50 due to reserve your spot

$300 due by August 31st 

Cancellation policy for convention registration: Cancel by September 30th for refund minus $50 fee. Registration is non-refundable after September 30th.


Drury Plaza Orlando Lake Buena Vista

We have discounted hotel guest rooms blocked for the convention. You must register for the hotel under the IBBA discount. Please make your reservations by Saturday, October 7, 2023 to receive the group rate. Reservations made after this date will be subject to prevailing rates and availability. Follow the link below to reserve your room.

Click here to reserve your room!

Reservations may also be made by calling 1-800-325-0720 and referring to your group number 10070826.

When reserving your room, you will not be charged for your room nights until checkout. Special IBBA discounted rate of $169.00 per night with two queens or a king. Rates will be extended to 3 days prior and 3 day after the convention for those who want to come early or stay late.

In addition to the great rate, this brand new hotel offers amenities including the following:

  • Complimentary Hot Breakfast – Enjoy scrambled eggs, oatmeal, fresh fruit, potatoes, pastries, the all-important coffee and more. Hot, fresh, and, best of all, free. Free hot breakfast is served daily from 6-9:30 a.m. on weekdays and 7-10 a.m. on weekends.
  • Complimentary Evening Drinks and Snacks* – Join us from 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. every evening to enjoy complimentary hot food and cold beverages at our 5:30 Kickback®. The Hotel features a rotating menu of hot food, beer, wine, mixed drinks and soft drinks.
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi Throughout the Hotel – Get the score, check social networks or email family members in the hotel!
  • On-Site Facilities – Take advantage of the business center, fitness center or pool while away from home. Print boarding passes, finish a presentation or check e-mail in the Hotel’s business centers.
  • Resort-style outdoor pool, an arcade, 2 restaurants and bar.
  • Discounted parking rate of $15 per day (regular $25).
  • Located near Disney parks, this hotel offers discounted tickets (contact concierge prior to stay for the best deals) and free shuttles to and from the parks.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Support the convention! Become a sponsor. These opportunities include advertisement in the convention program.

$1,000  Premier Sponsor, full page inside front or inside back 

$750  Swallowtail Sponsor, full page interior

$500  Monarch Sponsor, half page

$250  Red Admiral Sponsor, half page

$100  Queen Sponsor, quarter page

$50  Painted Lady Sponsor, quarter page

$25  Cabbage White Sponsor, listing


Click here to become a sponsor!


Other ways to support the convention:

Bring an auction item. The Saturday night auction is so much fun! We will have a live and silent auction and we need items donated to make it a success. The auction helps keep the convention costs low.

Set up a vendor table. Vendor tables are available for you to set up items to sell to fellow attendees. The tables will be up all day Saturday. 

Donate items for the goody bags. All attendees will be given a goody bag at registration. Items needed.

Shop convention merchandise

Welcome to our exclusive online store featuring IBBA merchandise, available for a limited time only. Embrace the essence of the International Butterfly Breeders Association as we celebrate our 25th Anniversary with a unique touch. Don’t miss the chance to own a piece of history with our special edition merchandise adorned with the 25th Anniversary logo, showcasing an enchanting painting by our member, Rhonda Stephens. Hurry, as the store doors swing shut on Friday, September 29th. Buy today! Seize the opportunity to show the spirit of IBBA and the beauty of flight with this beautiful merchandise. 

View Convention Store

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2023 IBBA Butterfly Professionals Convention

Presentations and Presenters



Special Guest Rick Mickula

For over 35 years, Rick Mikula has been delighting audiences of all ages with his humorous and off-beat way of looking at butterflies. He has given hundreds of lectures and workshops a year with his unique and fabulously entertaining style. An award-winning author with several books to his credit, he is also a photographer and habitat consultant, and has created butterfly atriums and gardens for Dolly Parton, Hershey Foods, and more. Rick is a co-founder and past president of the IBBA and is known as the grandfather of butterfly farming.


Special Guest Monarch Butterfly Scientist Dr. Orley “Chip” Taylor

Chip Tayor will join us virtually and will speak on the following topics with plenty of time for discussion, questions and answers:

  1. The pending listing for monarch butterflies
  2. Monarch biology and demography
  3. Lepidoptera reproductive biology

Dr Taylor is founder and director of Monarch Watch  , Emeritus Professor-Ecology and Evolutionary Biology University of Kansas

Trained as an insect ecologist, Chip Taylor has published papers on species assemblages, hybridization, reproductive biology, population dynamics and plant demographics and pollination. In 1992, Dr. Taylor founded Monarch Watch, an outreach program focused on education, research and conservation of monarch butterflies.


Butterfly Diseases-Dr.Roberto M. Pereira

During the lecture, Dr Pereira will shed light on a diverse range of diseases that afflict butterflies. For butterfly farmers, the health and well-being the butterflies are of utmost importance. The lecture will also explore the crucial role of environmental factors in butterfly health, emphasizing the significance of maintaining a healthy habitat for optimal farming success. Learn about the interplay between butterfly diseases and farming practices, and discover sustainable approaches to prevent disease outbreaks and promote a thriving butterfly population.

Dr. Pereira specializes in urban entomology, conducting research and extension on different aspects of the biology and control of insects that live in and around humans. He is also focused on insect pathology and microbial control.


Update from the USDA-Dr. Ben Slager

Update from the USDA. Dr. Slager will discuss updates hold a question and answer session related to regulations, requirements, transporting, and permitting of the butterfly industry. 

Dr. Slager is Senior Entomologist USDA Plant Pests, Plant Pathogens, and Biocontrol Permits

Plant Protection and Quarantine

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

United States Department of Agriculture


Lab Rearing and Production Systems-Jachus Sundby

Jachus will discuss creating specific lab environments, choosing the right rearing equipment for each species, and implementing the best standard operating procedures to make lab rearing the most efficient and predictable.

Jachus is a lepidoptera researcher, butterfly breeder, owner of Designed for Discovery, and current president of the IBBA.


Larval Host Plant-Crowdsourcing Wisdom-Ryan Malone

A plant-centered discussion regarding the various common and uncommon larval host plants and their unique uses and benefits in garden design and commercial rearing. In this discussion, we will crowdsource information about host plant species and growing methods we have trialed, with both failure and success. For example, some unique larval hosts do well in the botanical garden setting, but do not have the qualities needed for commercial rearing. Certain species may better withstand environmental stressors (pest pressure, drought, indoor grow room conditions, etc) better than others Explore which plant species do better than others. Which plant species do better in pots, and which do better then cut? Come ready to share, discuss, and absorb botanical wisdom developed through years of experimentation.

Ryan is the owner of The Hatchery Butterfly Farm and is Vice President of the IBBA.


Finding Gravid Females in the Wild-Todd Stout

This presentation will cover raising butterflies by locating females in the wild and setting them up to lay in captivity. Since males tend to be far more overt in nature as they seek females in the wild, this presentation will cover how to separate males from females on wing both by wing markings and by behavior. Techniques on setting up females to lay eggs differ by species group and preparation; which will also be covered in detail.

Todd is owner of Raising Butterflies. He has over 30 years’ experience studying and raising butterflies. He is a University of Florida Research Associate and described a new subspecies of the Julia orangetip in Western Colorado. He is senior author of a paper (in preparation) of worldwide Anthocharis. He provides butterfly education and field trips through Utah Butterfly Field Trips on Facebook.


Ratty Genes are not a Fashion Statement-Connie Hodsdon

Keeping a genetically viable colony is essential to the long-term viability of the farm itself. This presentation will cover methods for keeping a thriving butterfly colony. A broad genetic base helps a butterfly farm maintain healthy populations.

Connie is owner of Flutterby Gardens of Manatee, is the Executive Director of the IBBA, and is known for her highly successful methods for raising healthy monarch butterflies at her commercial butterfly farm.


WingsRising, Inc,-Patrick Adair

The formation and current development of a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity to advance projects in science, education, restoration, and permanent preservation of pollinator habitats and populations; and the establishment of an endowment fund to provide longevity and stability for these efforts.


Round Table Topics and Leaders:


Exhibit Enhancements-Lauren Tafoya

Let’s talk about what makes the experience of visiting a butterfly exhibit more than just an encounter with butterflies. What signage and displays can teach, how docent interpretation and use of host and nectar plants add to the learning experience. Please feel free to bring samples of signage you use and pictures of your exhibit to share your ideas with the group. We would love to see how you present and hope you will leave with a few new ideas.

Lauren has managed the Virginia Native Butterfly House since 2010 which has over 150,000 visitors each season, is the Chairperson for the annual Butterfly Festival, and conducts the annual Monarch Tagging event at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. She currently serves on the IBBA Board of Directors.


Monarch Butterfly Nursery: Taking Care of the Babies-Connie Hodsdon

Raising caterpillars properly involves maintaining a clean and healthy environment which helps prevent the spread of diseases among caterpillars and adult butterflies and reduces the risk of potential disease outbreaks. This discussion will cover successful rearing practices of the early life stages from egg to caterpillar. Connie will discuss her egg roll and egg wash procedures and will also show her set up for raising healthy caterpillars that uses clean procedures, prevents overcrowding, and provides fresh, healthy food in order to raise big, healthy butterflies.

Connie is owner of Flutterby Gardens of Manatee, is the Executive Director of the IBBA, and is known for her highly successful methods for raising healthy monarch butterflies at her commercial butterfly farm.


Shipping All Butterfly Life Stages-Roberta Vigil

Delivering butterflies in good condition is a matter of ethical responsibility but is also important for customer satisfaction and is crucial for a business’s reputation, cost-efficiency, and long-term success. The proper packaging and handling of butterflies for shipping demonstrates a commitment to the responsible treatment of the butterflies. Making sure they arrive in good condition and alive is essential for quality and customer service, which is important for thriving in today’s competitive market.

Roberta is owner of A Butterfly Tale and is currently serves on the IBBA Board of Directors.


Oe-Signs, Symptoms, and Identification

Oe (Ophryocystis elektroscirrha) is a protozoan parasite that infects monarch butterflies, causing wing and body deformities, reduced lifespan, and decreased reproductive success. If left unmanaged, it can spread rapidly within a butterfly operation and lead to significant losses in a commercial farm. To address Oe infections, commercial butterfly farms should implement regular monitoring and screening programs for signs of the disease. Learn signs and symptoms of Oe and how to use a microscope to test monarchs for Oe.


Lab Rearing-Jachus Sundby

Follow up after Jachus’s presentation for a more in-depth discussion and Q&A session.


Host Plants-Ryan Malone

Follow up after Ryan’s presentation, Larval Host Plant-Crowdsourcing Wisdom, for a more in-depth discussion and Q&A session.

Open Forum/Group Discussion:


What NOT to Do-Group

Welcome to our lively and insightful open discussion on the fascinating world of butterfly farming! In this exchange, we’ll be exploring what not to do while operating a butterfly farm. What are some mistakes you made along the way? Have you found a better way? Is there a shortcut you have found? Any disasters you could help someone else avoid? As we embark on this journey, let’s maintain an inquisitive and sharing spirit, encouraging everyone to share their experiences and knowledge so we can all learn from each other’s mistakes.


Show and Tell; Show Us What You Do-Group

Submit a picture, or a few, related to your butterfly business showing something that you do as part of the business. Tell the group about it in 2-3 minutes. You can submit photos to show and tell us about your business or you can submit photos and request advice from the group. For example, show a picture of your lab and tell us about it or show a picture of your lab and ask for advice on how to address a certain problem or ways to improve.




Seed Swap-Bring your excess seeds for trade with others. Be sure to seal them and label them.


Butterfly Farm Tours

We will visit two working butterfly farms. Gain valuable insights into the art of farming butterflies. See how the farms are organized for the various stages of the life cycle; breeding, laying eggs, collecting and transferring eggs, caterpillar stages, pupae and adult. Check out standard operating procedures essential for successful butterfly farming including maintaining cleanliness, feeding protocols, monitoring caterpillar health, and sanitizing enclosures to ensure healthy butterflies. See how environments are controlled for optimal output. Also see best practices for sanitation and pest management. And finally, shipping procedures for the end product to the customer. 


There are various methods of plant growing and propagation to see including shade houses, hydroponics, aquaponics, in-ground, and using pots. See how the farms grow and manage the large quantities of plant material needed for raising butterflies commercially.


In addition, there are examples for generating additional income. Opportunities such as guided tours, educational programs, plant sales, exhibits, etc.

Overall, the farm tours are the best way to see the daily routines of butterfly farming. Touring the farms with others in the business also opens up valuable opportunities for networking with others, discussions, and learning from other attendees. Join us for an enriching experience and take home ideas to implement in your journey into the world of butterfly farming.