Whoa! What a month it’s been. I’ve been so busy with Monarch caterpillars and butterflies, that I haven’t had the time (or inclination, really) to post. But, I’m back…with mostly pictures and a few comments to go with them. This will take you through the last couple of weeks and the progress of my butterflies.
First..the last of the Swallowtails:
Even a Summer Azure butterfly came to visit the milkweed flowers:
Meanwhile, back at the rearing cage, my Monarch eggs had hatched, and the first wave of caterpillars had started!
I had to move the newest chrysalides to a different cage because there were just too many, and I didn’t want butterflies emerging over feeding caterpillars. So, a big old Ikea hamper did the trick.
I had 9 chrysalides, and I moved them into the hamper, tying the silk with dental floss, and then tying it to the mesh on top of the hamper.
This worked fine in theory, but in reality I had a hard time moving butterflies out because the top of the hamper opened up & outward, so any intact chrysalides would jiggle all over the place. Not a big deal, but annoying.
Anyway…here’s a video from my instagram of the butterflies that emerged in the hamper. (Mexican music in the background is courtesy of my next door neighbors.)
That was the first wave of monarchs. The SECOND wave? Well, it was more like a tsunami!
Yep. It was pretty crazy. I had to order another screened cage, as the caterpillars varied so much in age. I had to separate them by size so there would be no cannibalism. Yeah, it sounds terrible, but when you have too many caterpillars competing for milkweed (which I ALMOST ran out of…even though I have loads growing in the garden)..some will take the easiest route and eat their smaller cage-mates.
So, I separated the big fatties in one cage, and the smaller ones in the other. Then, when everyone had made their chrysalides, I moved them all to one cage. So, day after day, I’ve had on the average of 5-6 butterflies released.
As I write this post, I let the last 12 butterflies go today. There is only one lonely chrysalis remaining, which will probably eclose tomorrow. These are the butterflies of the last generation. They will be a part of the great migration to the oyamel fir forests in the state of Michoacan, Mexico.
I have so many videos of these babies, I can’t post them all here. But, you can click the link to my instagram below, or on the sidebar to the right, they’re all there!
So much easier, right? Click here: https://www.instagram.com/colqui11/
Enjoy! I’ll be back with the last installment of the butterfly chronicles as soon as my last one emerges. Adios!