Thursday, August 2, 2018

Monarch Madness

The first weeks of July welcome the arrival of Monarch Butterflies to our gardens.

Butterfly Weed

Milkweeds are the only plants upon which Monarchs will lay eggs. We have three different kinds of native milkweed: Swamp Milkweed, Common Milkweed, and Butterfly Weed.

Females lay one egg per leaf, one egg at a time, up to 500 eggs. I watched a Monarch ova-positing on the milkweed in my garden, but after a week I couldn't find any caterpillars. Therefore, I decided to become a Monarch Mama and the Monarch Madness began!

I collected about thirty eggs and put them in plastic containers. I cut the eggs off the milkweed so they would fit more easily in the containers, and I spritzed them twice a day.

The eggs are white and about the size of a pinhead.

After about four to six days, the eggs became darker. They were ready to hatch.

The first thing they eat upon hatching are their eggshells.

Caterpillars are eating and pooping machines. They eat, poop, rest, and eat some more.

About twenty of the eggs hatched and are at different stages of development, aka "instars".

Today I had to set up the large aquarium to accommodate their numbers and growth.

Stay tuned for future updates on their progress toward butterflfyhood.


Thanks to guest blogger Patty Rehn. The words and images are hers.

No comments: