August 19! The summer is quickly getting away from us, and it is prime Caterpillar (Bug) season! I am still very concerned that there are so few butterflies and caterpillars in my own garden and everywhere that I look for caterpillars. But, I have seen at least 1 Monarch everyday this week, and I was invited out to a farm West of the Twin Cities Metro and was lucky enough to find an egg, a hatchling less than 24 hours old, 2 2nd instar caterpillars, and 3 3rd instar caterpillars. So there are caterpillars if you are patient and hunt for them! Why did we not find any bigger than 3rd Instar is my nagging question? Those would be the really big ones just before they Chrysalis. I remember just a few years ago in a field the size we were looking in it would be FULL of caterpillars. They were very easy to find, and very plentiful. That just has not been the case the past few years! So I have been sharing my babies with a couple neighbors and to date have raised, hatched and released almost 2 dozen caterpillars. It's supposed to be very cool weather this weekend, so I'm hoping I can do more hunting and save more caterpillars! Otherwise we just have to keep waiting and hoping that the population returns to what it was 5-10 years ago. We have to keep working together to protect caterpillars, milkweed, and the flowers the adults need to replenish their energy and prepare them for their flight to Mexico in a month! As always I welcome your thoughts, questions and comments!
Save the Monarchs!