Sunday, July 30, 2017

July 30

Very interesting, and exciting weekend.  All the caterpillars that we found a couple weeks ago all spun within about 24 hours on Fri and Sat.  It was amazing to witness.  I actually saw 2 Chrysalides form from start to finish.  My daughter managed to film at least part of one of them spinning.  I also had 4 more eggs hatch, and I managed to take a picture of 2 baby Cats, approximately 1 and 3 days old.  The photo (zoomed in) shows how fast these little critters grow, and also how unbelievably small they are when they begin their lives.
So, again I am very encouraged that I am seeing so many caterpillars, monarchs and milkweeds, and finding more and more people that are finding the joy in raising these beautiful creatures, hoping to ensure their survival.  I am happy to pass my experiences, and advice on to anyone who will listen.  I can't wait for all these chrysalides to hatch now.  That will be another eventful 24 hours!
Save the Monarchs!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

July 26

Well it is the end of July, and the Monarch and Caterpillar season are in full swing.  I am very excited about the numbers of caterpillars and butterflies that I am seeing, and about the numbers of milkweed that I see when I'm driving around.  I really feel like people are getting the message, and are proactively doing their part to save our pollinators!  Everywhere I go people ask for my expertise and advice about raising caterpillars, and obviously I love talking about it!  These amazing creatures just never cease to amaze me.  I love to watch them!  This week I witnessed 2 cats on the same leaf fighting.  I didn't watch long enough to see how it was resolved, but I'm sure eventually one of them just gave in and moved to another leaf, but it was sort of funny to me.
Well, as promised I took some pictures of my enclosure that I built this past below.  Let me tell you what I did, cause it's hard to tell from the photos.  It's a large aquarium turned on end, so it's about 2 Ft. tall, then I covered the opening with removable netting, which I Velcroed to the frame.  One of the short sides was missing the glass anyway, so I covered it with a sturdy piece of cardboard, weighted down with books, so when it has chrysalides on it I can easily remove them with out disturbing the caterpillars below as needed.  The removable netting also makes it easy to access the caterpillars without disturbing chrysalides.  Just in time I was able to move in 12 large Cats, 12 tiny Cats, and 5 eggs.  I still am keeping the eggs and tiny newly hatched cats away from the largest ones in a separate container.
So this season has started much stronger than last few years.  I have also released 4 butterflies, 2 male, and 2 female.
That's all for now.....Save the MONARCH!  I welcome your questions and comments.

Friday, July 21, 2017

July 21

So far, this season seems like an improvement over last year.  I have had much better luck finding eggs and tiny caterpillars this year.  My daughter, a friend, and I went hunting last night and brought home many of the eggs and babies I currently possess.  I currently have 2 chrysalides, 3 large caterpillars, nearly 20 babies, and 8 eggs.  That is far ahead of last years numbers.  I am also seeing Monarchs in my garden, and frequently out on walks and while driving around.  I'm still not seeing large 3rd or 4th Instar caterpillars, but it's still early. Some of the ones that I have taken into captivity would have (hopefully) survived if left out in the wild.  I have plans this weekend to create a large habitat out of an old aquarium, so I will let you know next week how that goes and post pictures.  As all these babies grow, they need LOTS of space and milkweed.  Please don't try to save the Monarch population, unless you are prepared to provide the space, and the food for them to grow.   I believe there are more and more people out there that care and are aware that we need to do everything we can to save this species.  How sad would it be if my grandchildren never get to see a Monarch butterfly?!!  So keep up the good work, and as always, I welcome your questions, comments and ideas.  Together, we can Save the Monarchs!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Monarch season underway July 14

My first post of the season!  I have been busy searching for baby caterpillars, and eggs, but the season has started slowly.  I have connected to a new friend, and fellow butterfly enthusiast (Cheryl Natt) that to my delight lives very near me, so I hope we can perhaps connect with others in our area as well.  Perhaps a Monarchlady club?!  She was lucky enough to have had better luck finding eggs, and had quite a few cats of all different instars and roughly a dozen chrysalides, that she shared with me.  I also found 1 egg, and 2 babies in my yard today, so I am more hopeful than I was a week ago.  I believe I only found 3 cats in my garden all of last year, so that is good news that I've found that many already this year, and it's only mid July!  I also saw an article this week that indicated that the DNR has ask for 70 million dollars to plant milkweed along I-35 from Minnesota to Texas!

Please let me know what you are finding in your gardens!  Save our pollinators!

This photo is of my surprise hatchling this Wednesday....didn't notice it was ready to hatch on tuesday, and it was waiting for me at Breakfast.