Monday, August 2, 2021

Monarchs Part 2

 

 

 

Monarch Update

By early fall 2020, I had 29 butterflies successfully hatch and fly off.  This spring I planted three new species of native milkweed (Antelope Horn, Indian and Heart-Leaf).  Next year I think the plants will be robust enough to have caterpillars. 

In May I found my first 3 monarch eggs.  I put a screen mesh around the plant, so the caterpillars wouldn't get disturbed.  I was concerned with Tachinid flies.  They are parasitic flies whose larvae ultimately kill its host.  Last year this happened a couple of times, and it's hard to watch.  Caterpillars with parasites hang themselves up early, and die.  Then fly larva emerge.  This is what the larva first look like

They turn darker


and eventually flies hatch
 
 
 
The three caterpillars that I left outside this spring grew and made it to the chrysalis stage.  I thought the screen netting was the way of the future.  But, one day I found a trail of ants leading to a chrysalis.  Somehow the integrity of the capsule was breached, and they were carrying away the goo that was half caterpillar-half butterfly.  Gross!  So, I took the other two in and they successfully hatched.

 
The last few weeks I have noticed butterflies in the yard, and more eggs.  I've gone back to the old method of taking the eggs inside.  It's more work, but I think it's worth it.
 
 


6 comments:

  1. I haven't checked the blog roll in ages and decided to pop in today during a free moment and am SO glad I did! What a thrill to see a new post from you and hear more about your Monarchs! The world is fortunate to have you, helping beauty and nature journey out into being.

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  2. I'm so happy and proud of you for taking care of the butterflies. Those flies are gross we have 4 milkweed plants but have not seen any caterpillars which is a bummer. I'm glad you helped them.

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