Sunday, July 28, 2013

First Post of 2013, this late?

Yes it is true, this is my first post and it is July 28!  That is mostly due to the fact that I just started collecting cats. last week.  This has not been a problem just for me, everyone that I know who raises cats, all across the Midwest region, is having trouble. This is frustrating because we all want to help increase the butterfly populations. In fact  all summer, people have been talking about the distinct lack of butterflies. Unfortunately ,  I have no answers for you. I have seen very few myself. This does not mean that this is a permanent situation. Like all insects, they have ups and downs, so don't count them out yet. The monarchs, however are having the toughest time of it. Which is why I raise them. Since only one of every 10 eggs makes to the b-fly stage, raising them makes sense. 
I started finding black swallowtails (bsw) about 10 days ago. I was home sick for a couple of days and was dozing on the couch. From there I can see my deck flower boxes. I watched a large female lay eggs on my container of dill, carrots and parsley. Over 5 days I found about 35. Into the cat. house they went on a container of carrot plants. Then the weather changed... and got cold resulting in cold cats. I put one in my hand and it felt like a piece of ice! The over night temps were going to drop, last night, into the high 50's so into the living room the cat house went. This morning they were still really cold and not feeding. So Lee said they needed a heat lamp. He fixed me up with a utility light and a 100 watt light bulb.  And that is where they are tonight. 
I love watching butterflies lay eggs. They seem to float effortlessly from leaf to leaf. Then they dart away to look for another suitable plant, rarely revisiting any plant twice. It is really a beautiful thing to watch. When that mamma bsw was laying eggs on the deck planters, she flew right up in front of the window and when I came outside, she was not startled at all. Just continued her job.....
As for the monarchs, I have been so depressed, all summer, looking for eggs and finding none. I had pretty much given up until this week. Four days ago I just happened to pass by a fresh sprout of common milkweed and noticed One egg. I have always said to myself, "If there is one, there is 10." Know how many I collected? Exactly 10.  So, a good start. The next day 10 more....By this morning 3 cats had hatched. In the mean time...
Two weeks ago I had "borrowed" 5 monarch cats from my friend Bob. 
Yesterday they began hatching and with the cold overnight temps I felt they should stay inside until tomorrow. They are in an aquarium with a little "butterfly take-out". The weather will be warmed up a by tomorrow and I will release them. 
In conclusion, it has been a slow start, but I am sticking with it. More updates coming soon....

1 comment:

  1. Hi Dolly,

    I have just a few Asclepias plants in my garden and haven't really looked for evidence of Monarchs. But my patch of fennel is supporting a few tiger swallowtails--fewer than in years past.