Sunday, June 17, 2012

Waiting Patiently...

June 17th and 77 healthy monarchs out the door! But I have been waiting and waiting for more eggs! I have not collected any since May 22. Wah! It is enough to frustrate a butterfly enthusiast to ....order caterpillars from the internet!  Especially since I need caterpillars, eggs, chrysalis and butterflies for the Fourth of July celebration at work. I plan on bringing an aquarium full of life to our annual family fun day. I always talk about butterfly gardening and rearing but rarely do I have any cats or chrysalis to show. However, the weather and schedule of the butterflies' arrival has been so unusual that I will have plenty this year. So, nah, I won't be ordering any cats. from the internet. 
eggs collected yesterday on flowers and leaves
I was lucky yesterday! I went out at about 5:30pm and collected a dozen eggs before the  predatory insects could snatch them up. Late afternoon seems to be a good time of the day to collect. I saw all different species of critters crawling on the MW. There is a lot of life on a MW plant. I saw a few early Oleander Aphids and milkweed beetles that are the prettiest color of red I have ever seen. I saw nymphs of other insects too including one little critter disguised as a piece of fluff, a very tiny bit of fluff and hover fly larva.
Those darn momma monarchs laid eggs on lots of the flower buds on my common MW plants. When they do that you need to take in the whole flower cluster so the bit that the egg is on can remain fresh until hatching. 
my new chrysalis tree, needs a few rocks inside the bottle to keep from getting top heavy
Last weekend when I was cutting down my sweet autumn clematis (I always whack it back to control its size) I uncovered a monarch chrysalis! It was just under the layer of vine that I was cutting back, so lucky indeed! I have never found one outside before! So I brought it in and put the chrysalis on my new chrysalis tree, to keep it safe. It hatched this morning, a beautiful female monarch. She and a few of her friends will be hitching a ride with me as a father's day surprise. We will release them this afternoon at dad's. Happy Father's Day!
butterflies ready for travel

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

First Butterflies Released!!

Saturday-Sunday I released the first MONARCHS! 
Tuesday June 5th: I came home today to a beautiful sight! 8 healthy monarch butterflies all lined up in a row ready to go! Lee and I realeased 2  female and 6 males. When we were done I looked one last time in the aqauarium and Surpise! One more female hiding in between the sheets of paper towel.
Wed. June 6th: I came home from work today and the last 2 of my first group of monarch hatched. So all 18 of my first batch hatched and out the door! Healthy butterflies too!

I have about 55 more chrysalis' outside in the caterpillar house. They should begin hatching in a few days. 
During the high temps of Memorial Day weekend I did loose 9 caterpillars to the heat. I hope to bounce back in my numbers later in the month. 

The milkweed is starting to bloom! If you see it or have it in your garden go and look for caterpillars and smell the beautiful fragrance!
My b-fly bush did not die back at all last winter