Saturday, September 19, 2015

September 3 Update

I hope you are all surviving this heatwave here in the Midwest!
According to the weather history, we have not had this hot of a start to September since 1985!
Holy Smokes! I was just entering freshman year of high school…
Back to the monarchs.
I have come across a couple of really good articles that may help you at this time of the year:
this article explains all the critters that use mw as habitat and the predators that also hang out on mw.
Another great article is one that gives tips on raising monarchs with better success and less disease.
Things to think about next year if you continue.
There was a book written by Ba Rae and colleagues also explaining about who else uses mw. Excellent book! I encourage you to add this to your library,
I have collected very few eggs in the past 10 days, I think the cold overnight temps last week may have pushed our gravid (pregnant) females and their mates southward.
There are still caterpillars to be had. So give your mw one last look.
I have had multiple calls on sickly and deformed bflies eclosing recently….
One disease that is common on monarchs is a parasite called O.E. it is a protozoa that has evolved with the monarchs and seems to cull out the weak individuals.
At this time of the year don’t be surprised to have a few butterflies eclose form the chrysalis with deformed wings or legs. These individuals should Not be released.
As hard as it may be for you, you need to euthanize these butterflies to reduce the risk of spreading the disease to other healthy butterflies.
Simply put them in a container and slip it into the freezer. Then put the dead butterfly in the trash wrapped up in paper towel or in a plastic baggie.
These butterflies may not be able to feed, cannot fly and will never mate so their quality of life is limited. Please do the humane thing and euthanize.
I usually have a dozen or so every year that succumb to this disease. It is not uncommon and there is nothing you can do but clean your mw before you feed your cats.
This will minimize the spores.

I would love to hear about how the summer went for you, please join me for the Monarch Season Wrap Up at the Oak Lawn Park District.
I am hosting this on Oct. 5th at 6:30pm at the Oak View center at 110th and Kilpatrick in Oak Lawn (where I work).
Please preregister by calling 708-857-2200
I will have mw seeds to share with you.

Have a great Labor Day weekend!

September 19 Update

I am sure most of have wished your last monarchs Good Luck!
The pictures coming from different parts of the country of the migration are beautiful!
The migration has been sighted in the Indiana Dunes this week,
The Pelle Point, Ontario and Cleveland Ohio last weekend were impressive!
There has been a large group sighted in Missouri too.
It is so exciting to see all the pictures and videos on the monarch facebook pages.
People have been posting  mostly from the Great Lakes region this week.
If you would like to join any of these pages look for
The Beautiful Monarch, Monarchs and Milkweed and Butterfly Gardening
People are sharing lots of great photos.
Either everyone is looking more for the migration groups or there are definitely more butterflies.

The update on the migration can be seen daily at Journey North online
Please share you sightings with Journey North, this info is important to gage the migration population.

Collecting Seeds: Now is the time to be looking for mw seeds at home. They are ripening now.
Tuberosa may be finished, Swamp is coming in and Common will be ready in the next few weeks, Tropical is ripening too.
Remember that the seed pods ripen from the bottom of the plant to the top. So the lowest pods are ripe first.
Seeds are not ripe unless they are coco brown so if you cannot easily pop the pod open, then it is probably not ready.
Check back in a day or so.
Take a brown paper bag out with you when you collect, a marker and clippers. Don’t tear the pods off, you will get a hand full of sap.
Don’t get the white sap in your mouth or eyes and remember: nothing smaller than your elbow in your ear! Hahahhaha! Sorry, I digress.
Putting your seeds in paper ensures they will have lots of air circulation to dry. There is a video on my blog showing how to clean the fluff from the seeds after a couple of weeks of drying.
Mw seeds are all very similar in appearance so mark the bag with your marker.
After cleaning, weigh your seeds if you can and put it in your notes for this year. Then share them with as many people as possible.
Maybe send them into Bring Back the Monarchs Campaign. Here is the link.
Or, if you like, Monarch Mommas and Poppas can send in a large group collected amount of seed. I can do that if you want.

Monday I will be presenting a lecture at the Oak Lawn Park Dist. 6:30 at the Oak View Center at 110th and Kilpatrick in Oak Lawn.
I will be presenting the Benefits of Biodiversity, join me in a lecture and discussion on the importance of planting for pollinators. Registration is $5, come a little early to register in the office.

Don’t forget that on October 5th I will be hosting a Monarch Season Wrap-up at 6:30 at the Oak View Center at 110th and Kilpatrick in Oak Lawn. I am hoping to get as many people there that have raised monarchs this year. I am going to present a short program on how the season went according to Journey North, Monarch Watch etc. Then I would like to have a discussion on how the season went for you. Bring your totals with you, notes, photos and anything else you want to share. If you have a Monarch Waystation, bring your certificate along.
I will have milkweed seeds to share and info on butterfly gardening. In lieu of the $5 reg fee for the meeting I will have a collection jar for the Monarch Watch.
Light Refreshments will be served.
I hope to see you there! From what some of you have been telling me, this has been a great season! Let’s celebrate it!

Some news articles I have found this week…