Friday, August 11, 2017

NPvirus

Its been an interesting week!  I have had beautiful healthy butterflies hatch every day this week.  The highlight was 4 females all on Wednesday!  Eggs, and caterpillars remain abundant this year.

That's all good news!!  Bad news this week, I learned about, and experienced first hand what I believe is called NPvirus...NPV.  I noticed one of my largest cats this AM dangling lifelessly from a chewed leaf, with a green substance on the paper towels beneath it.  So I visited the expert that I have mentioned many times (Rich Lund)  mrlundscience sure enough he had experienced a similar episode, and his information was informative, and discouraging!!  I removed all my caterpillars from big enclosure, and it will need to be sterilized with a bleach solution.  I am hoping I will not have to euthanize any more of my large cats!  I will monitor them closely until they do their thing!  The good news is that most of my caterpillars are already in Chrysalides, so I think they are safe!  I hope they are safe!!  There were only 4 or 5 big ones that were potentially exposed to the virus.  I have about 15-20 that are still too small to release into the big enclosure, so I think they are all safe, as long as I don't have another outbreak! yuk

So that's the news from the caterpillar world.  If you are following this blog, and are raising your own caterpillars/Monarchs please visit mrlundscience You-tube videos to learn more about these threats to our Monarchs!!  The last generation of the season is here.  They are the super Monarchs that will go to Mexico.  The more healthy butterflies that we release, the more hope there will be for next year's season to be a repeat of this year!!  We need several years in a row like this year in order to revive the species!!  Keep up the good work.

Save the MONARCH!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

August 6, eggs, babies and Chrysalides

There will be a butterfly explosion at my house this week.  All those Chrysalides that formed last weekend should hatch this week....very exciting!  A friend and I went "hunting" last Friday, and found at least 20 more eggs, and three baby cats.  I am still not seeing large (4th instar) cats out in the wild, so I continue to believe the safest place for them is in my care.  I am seeing so many more butterflies this year, which just makes me happy.
I watched some of the "mrlundscience" videos on youtube this week and he is feeling the same optimism about this years season, however, he also cautions that one good season is not enough to save this species and we must remain vigilant and continue to spread the word about planting milkweed, and encouraging our city governments to not mow it down! (especially in July and August!)
I also watched a video about the OE Virus that attacks Monarchs and spreads on milkweed.  It seems it's not a huge problem here in the midwest, but I have had caterpillars, and butterflies die that must have been infected.  More often than killing the caterpillar or butterfly it lives on the adult Monarch, then is spread when it lands on milkweed to feed or lay eggs.  Very fascinating!  If you're interested in more detail, please watch the videos produced by Mr. Lund.
Below are pictures of eggs, and a few of my chrysalides.  I hope I can get pictures, maybe even video of all this butterflies emerging this week!  In the meantime, Thanks for caring....SAVE the MONARCH!!