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Old 08-24-2011, 11:45 PM   #21
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Good Morning Butterfly Experts.....

I enjoy birds, bees, bugs and bears but was never lucky enough to have a teacher like Bridget1964 when I was in school. Hence I know very little about the butterfly lifecycle, or ID'ing butterflies, or which caterpillars turn into which types of butterflies.

Not wanting to be left out of all that butterfly fun, a kind person from our WildlifeGardeners forum sent me some asclepias tuberosa seeds. I got them started this spring.

Milkweed (Ascelpias Tuberosa) Seedlings
Attachment 25761 Attachment 25762 Attachment 25763

I was waiting for the heat wave to let up before I planted my young milkweed seedlings in the ground. And then it happened!!! Cats!!! Caterpillars all over my seedlings. OMG!!! I was trying to tell them that my caterpillar nusery wasn't quite ready yet. They were too busy eating to listen to me.

Attachment 25764 Attachment 25765
Picture #2 is A. tuberosa, butterfly weed. All the other photos are A. incarnata, swamp milkweed. One of my favorite milkweeds! Very healthy plants, too!
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Old 08-25-2011, 08:32 AM   #22
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Wow 4B, what a great group of monarch caterpillars you have! I'd be just as attentive as you are to them, especially now that I'm a recent empty nester and I need to nurture something! Looks like you, Jack and Bridget up in the North have all the monarchs right now. I have one lone cat, hoping for more. I think turttle in NC is in the same situation. Perhaps we will see more as fall approaches. It was mid-September last year when I started seeing them. I didn't plant enough milkweed so I put in a dozen more this year. Hope that will be enough for them or I've got to find some to bring in too!
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Old 08-25-2011, 03:03 PM   #23
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Well the cats got really fat and marched off to their secret perches. I still have one that made a cocoon right on the milkweed plants, so I'm checking on that one everyday.

I thought about gathering up a few cats to bring indoors, but was unsure of what kind of setup I needed. I did some research on google and now I know. I think I might invest in one of those small netted butterfly houses for next year.

Oh gosh...I'm hooked on watching these amazing cats and butterflies!!! What great entertainment!
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:03 PM   #24
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I still have one that made a cocoon right on the milkweed plants, so I'm checking on that one everyday.
How lucky for you!

I'm hoping I get to witness (and photograph) that some time.
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:00 AM   #25
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Becky,
I am glad you had one caterpillar make its chrysalis where you could see it! How many days ago did that happen? Monarchs stay in their chrysalis or pupa for 10-14 days. If it is warm in your neck of the woods, it will probably eclose (come out of the pupa) in 10 days. Watch it for signs of darkening. When it turns black,the monarch will emerge in less than 24 hrs.

I will have to take pics of my rearing towers and send them to you. I use tomato cages and tulle!
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:09 AM   #26
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4B> Oh my God to those photos of seedlings!!! I'd think most of those seedlings could make it.... just get em in the ground when you can and if they don't make it.... who cares.... there's always next year and I'm thinking you should reach around and like pat yourself on the back a gazillion times for a count of 24!!! That's out of this world success!!
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"I will have to take pics of my rearing towers and send them to you. I use tomato cages and tulle!" BRILLIANT!!! I love it!!! And.... tulle is cheap and synthetic so you're probably able to reuse it!!!
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Old 08-27-2011, 10:13 PM   #27
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Bridget-
Butterfly rearing towers....cooooool! I want to make one. Please post a photo and tell me how to do it. Thanks!

Equil-
Oh gosh those poor seedlings....I thought it was pretty funny actually; all those caterpillers crunching away. And believe it or not the milkweed seedlings are starting to recover and leaf out a bit. They go into the dirt today!

Getting started on raising caterpillars-img_6186.jpg

Here's a photo of the monarch chrysalis. I'm thinking it's about due to hatch.

Getting started on raising caterpillars-img_6150.jpg
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Old 08-28-2011, 10:53 PM   #28
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Becky,
It looks like the chrysalis is close to water. If you can get it out of there, it would be beneficial to the eclosing butterfly. The chrysalis will start to darken when it is close to eclosing or emerging. Right before emerging, the chrysalis will become transparent--a very cool and dangerous time for the pupa! You will be able to see the black and orange colors of the wings through the see through chrysalis.
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Old 08-29-2011, 06:32 AM   #29
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ok bridget, I'm relocating the chrysalis today so it's not hanging over my coffee can watering pot. Thanks for the tip!
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:58 AM   #30
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Default Rearing Caterpillars

Becky and Jack and all,
I am attaching pics of several containers I use to raise caterpillars.

I use the small plastic Gladware containers for 3-5 caterpillars. I cut out the lid, hot glue window screen to the top. I keep the milkweed in damp paper toweling. The window screen allows air circulation so that mold doesn't grow. Change paper towels and milkweed daily. I often place fresh leaves on top of older ones. The cats will climb onto fresh food. Then remove old leaves.

Tomato cage towers: These are made with a tomato cage covered with tulle (for the guys: bridal veil or tutu material!) The cage is turned over, the metal tines are bent over to form the top of the cage. The amt. of tulle will vary depending on size of cage. Tulle is gathered at one end, tied with rubber band. Fit the tulle over cage. Hold in place with clothes pins, then sew loosely around the bottom of cage. Make sure you have the tulle overlapping so that you can have a little opening or door. Then I use the clothes pins to hold the opening closed. Caterpillars will get out!
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Getting started on raising caterpillars-img_1017.jpg   Getting started on raising caterpillars-img_1019.jpg   Getting started on raising caterpillars-img_1021.jpg  
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asclepias, black swallowtail, butterflies, butterfly, caterpillar, caterpillars, chrysalis, dill, egg, hatch, instars, instart, milkweed, monarch, raising, started, swallowtail, tuberosa

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