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Old 12-20-2008, 04:33 PM   #11
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hazelnut, specific plants for specific types of butterfly cats. If you know which one you want to help out, you search for the specific host plant.

IndianaLily, thank you. I do like detail so I don't screw up. A few questions. I have a jumbo storage container that is clear. We've been storing quilts in it. My guess is it is about 30 gallons. We also have a 55 gallon fish tank not being used. Which would be the better choice? For the cover, can I use that mesh fabic that people buy at fabric stores to bundle up Jordan almonds as party favors? Can I use tap water or should I use rain water to spray them?

Would have never thought of this and that florists foam is easy enough to buy.
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With that, simply buy some of that green styrafoam stuff they use for flower arrangements, get that soaking wet, cover with foil, and stick cuttings from the milkweed into that. When it starts wilting, simply bring in more cuttings, but make sure there are no bugs on it.
Another very useful tip that I would have never thought of.
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If, after they've made their chrysalis it falls from whatever they attached themselves to, you can reattach the chrysalis with a tiny bit of glue.
Thank you!

Can I pick your brain for any thing you did that you would have done differently the next time around or maybe something you did that you'd like to try differently next time?
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Old 12-20-2008, 05:19 PM   #12
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I'm so sorry! Didn't even think about the host plant thing. Certain caterpillars can only eat certain plants to survive. Here's a really informative website that shows the butterflies and what the caterpillars eat. http://www.dallasbutterflies.com/But...%20Species.htm

The one thing I really wish we would have done was put the bins in the garage when it was getting cold out. The chrysalis will overwinter if they pupate late in the season. Isn't that cool! Unfortunately, we had butterflies eclosing in October because we kept them in the warm house. I'm sure they didn't last very long outdoors because of that. So, if you have them forming chrysalises when it's cool out, put them in a cool place, and then come spring, you'll have butterflies eclosing.

Yeah, that mesh fabric would be perfect. As far as what kind of water to spray the plants with, tap water works just fine. Let's see, if you want to raise different kinds of butterflies, you could always use the 55 gallon tank and put a divider in the middle. The bins really don't have to be that big, and they don't have to be clear -- I just like them clear so that I can see everything better. Some people use the plastic microwavable containers. Just as long as there is enough room for them to spread their wings fully when they eclose. If they have wrinkled wings, they will not survive.

Another thing I would change is to keep the parsley in the little pots. That just seemed to be a lot easier for me. When I think of more things that I'd do differently, and I know I will, I'll definitely let ya'll know.

This is so great that there's such an interest here!!
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Old 12-20-2008, 05:58 PM   #13
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I didn't realize they had such specific requirements. I can see it would be good to plant some tulip trees. We don't have green ash here I don't think.
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Old 12-21-2008, 06:15 AM   #14
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The one thing I really wish we would have done was put the bins in the garage when it was getting cold out. The chrysalis will overwinter if they pupate late in the season. Isn't that cool!
Another really good tip.

Thinking out loud here about spraying the plants for the cats to get drinks and remembering how we raised walking sticks and preying mantids. Have you, or any of your friends who raise cats, ever placed a wet sponge on a plate in the cat house? Think they might use it?
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Old 12-21-2008, 11:24 AM   #15
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Wonderful pictures. This is an area I'm really interested in and am struggling to learn more. Thank you for providing such good information.
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There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling. ~Mirabel Osler

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Old 12-22-2008, 11:02 AM   #16
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Cool, maybe we'll have a few more butterflies out there next year.

Lorax, I wouldn't wet a sponge for the caterpillars because they could actually drown, if you can imagine that. Just a simple mist every day (even when they are in their chrysalis) is enough.
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Old 12-22-2008, 11:08 AM   #17
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The little walking sticks and preying mantids can drown too. After ringing out the sponge, we had placed it on a plate and every once in a while we would see some of the babies getting a drink! It was really neat and ringing out the sponge made for no pooled water for anything to drown in but if the misting once a day is good enough, one less step for me to take!
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Old 12-22-2008, 02:01 PM   #18
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Great informative thread.
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Old 12-22-2008, 04:22 PM   #19
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Yes, indeed it is. Thank you for sharing the information.
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There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling. ~Mirabel Osler

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Old 12-22-2008, 05:50 PM   #20
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I want to create a Monarch waystation, as we do get some, and I'd like to get more. They enchant me. Hopefully this year I will get the seed planted for the host plants. I have an area that will meet the requirements mentioned in the Monarch site. I thought the information was provided in such a way as to be clearly understood by beginners. I liked that, I need all the help I can get.

Here's the site if you'd like to get information on starting a Monarch Waystation, if they are appropriate for your area.

http://www.monarchwatch.org/waystations/seed_kit.html
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