Raising Monarchs

Discussion in 'Garden Pond Photography' started by CountryEscape, Jul 11, 2015.

  1. CountryEscape

    JBtheExplorer Native Gardener

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    Butterflies of all kinds like them, and they're the biggest Hummingbird magnet too!
     
    JBtheExplorer, Sep 19, 2016
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  2. CountryEscape

    Nepen

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    I have one and they flower like crazy. I didnt see humming bird eating it though..
     
    Nepen, Sep 19, 2016
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  3. CountryEscape

    Nepen

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    Some of the eggs didnt hatch and some of the babies got eaten. One of the little tiny baby got eaten by my cat (i was changing the milkweed and my son needed something so I left the milkweed unattended.. then the cat came and ate some part of the milkweed the newly hatch one was on :cry: ) My cat won't leave the milkweed alone!

    my big ones are eating like crazy and I think they will pupate soon!
     
    Nepen, Sep 23, 2016
  4. CountryEscape

    Nepen

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    Arg... One of my cat made the J since last night but nothing happen to it yet. Just hanging there. The antennas look pretty bad. Do you think there's a problem? It's doing a J for a full day now.
     
    Nepen, Sep 24, 2016
  5. CountryEscape

    Nepen

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    Never mind!!!!!! I was away for 20 mins and it already turned into a full cocoon!!! I missed the whole thing.
     
    Nepen, Sep 24, 2016
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  6. CountryEscape

    JBtheExplorer Native Gardener

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    I've never seen one do it. It's very quick, and they generally do it overnight for me.
     
    JBtheExplorer, Sep 25, 2016
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  7. CountryEscape

    JBtheExplorer Native Gardener

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    I would recommend a native alternative over something as invasive as Queen Anne's Lace. Consider Golden Alexanders (Zizia aurea). It's the plant that Black Swallowtails have feasted on long before Queen Anne's Lace made it over to North America. It does the same job but is better for habitat. Photo is not my own as I don't have them in my garden, but they are one of the only plant species that I still want to add.
    goldenalex.jpg


    Providing host plants for Swallowtails is important, but using something that crowds out natives across the country means that many other species are being negatively impacted.

    I found a Black Swallowtail caterpillar this past Thursday while hiking.
    IMG_2421 copy.jpg
     
    JBtheExplorer, Sep 25, 2016
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    Nepen

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    As of today, one more is doing a J.

    Last night I moved my milkweed around and accidentally brushed the chrysalis and tear it a bit. I was so worried but after reading they said it'll scab over and should be ok. This morning the tear scabbed over so it should be fine, right? Saw a few drops of the liquid came out of it before it scabbed over.

    This is the pic from yesterday.
    image.jpeg

    I've never know they shed the skin and that green thing is what inside the skin. I thought they used silk to warp themselves!!
     
    Nepen, Sep 25, 2016
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  9. CountryEscape

    JBtheExplorer Native Gardener

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    Cocoons are created by silk, chrysalises are not. What's really interesting is if you look on the last day, an hour or two before the butterfly emerges, you can see exactly how the butterfly is wrapped inside the chrysalis, head and all, because the chrysalis will become completely clear.
     
    JBtheExplorer, Sep 25, 2016
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    Nepen

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    Have 2 chrysalises now. 2 more coming soon.
     
    Nepen, Sep 26, 2016
  11. CountryEscape

    JBtheExplorer Native Gardener

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    Just bought Golden Alexander seeds off of ebay for cheap. Now I've got to plan out which section of my garden will be the Golden Alexander section. :)
     
    JBtheExplorer, Sep 26, 2016
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    Nepen

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    WHOOOO!!!! I hope it'll wait for me to get back to the house before coming out.

    If we have rain, should i keep them inside until the rain stop?

    14568001_10157572187275387_6809911381981341031_n.jpg
     
    Nepen, Oct 5, 2016
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  13. CountryEscape

    Nepen

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    Got a female!!!
    Part of her wing is not fully expand. Probably from the little tear when she turned to chrysalis. I took her outside but decide it's getting dark so took her back in and will release her again tomorrow.

    What is the best time to release?

    IMG_6680.JPG
    IMG_6684.JPG
     
    Nepen, Oct 6, 2016
  14. CountryEscape

    Nepen

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    Two males came out yesterday. But we are having rain all day so I'll have to keep it for a while. What should I feed them?

    IMG_6697.JPG

    IMG_6702.JPG
     
    Nepen, Oct 8, 2016
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  15. CountryEscape

    CountryEscape

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    Addy, I will send you some seeds, no problem. Can you please PM me with your address, and a reminder for seeds for the tropical milkweed?
    JB is right, monarch chrysalises do not over winter. Last year I had monarchs "hatching" when it was getting chilly. I hated to release them, but had 24 hours to let them go, so waited until the warmest part of the day, or on some days, the driest part if it was a rainy day. Last Sat. I released my last 3 of 21 that I raised this year. That's exactly half of what I raised and released last year, but I was glad to have that many, since it was a month later this year than last before I was consistently finding cats and eggs. My milkweed supply will multiply next year for sure! I have soooo many seeds of the tropical to share and still have plenty for myself. As I see pods open before I get to them, I grab them and put them down onto the soil in the wild flower area. We shall see if they grow on their own. Otherwise, I plan to grow about 10 jugs (winter sown style) as well. One jug is what I had this year, and that is what produced about 12 plants, I divided the jug (milk jug) into 3 clumps when I transplanted them.
    JB, I was thinking some people were calling a tropical milkweed yellow, but I'll bet you are right, they were referring to what I call butterfly weed Hello Yellow. I got a plant of that this year, it bloomed nice, but no seed pods. All of my orange butterfly weed I grew from seed grew well, and most of those have seed pods. Still waiting to harvest them. The large orange BW that I dug from road ditch last year has several large seed pods.
    Just harvested my first common milkweed seed pod, and am going to cut some of the others off and open them before they split on their own, as it's nearly impossible to harvest the seeds once the silky parts are "turned loose". What a mess! I have only a few people that want those seeds. I, for one, would say 100% go with the tropical type instead. It is prettier, blooms longer (mine are still blooming!!!), and had far more cats on them than the common this year. I guess my monarchs are getting picky on what they lay eggs on. LOL
     
    CountryEscape, Oct 12, 2016
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  16. CountryEscape

    CountryEscape

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    Lisa, try starting the seeds in milk jugs, winter sown style, in about February. Put the jugs with moist potting soil halfway filled up in a sunny spot where the snow can get to them. They will sprout sooner and the seedlings will be stronger than if you started them inside. Maybe I need to rethink putting seeds on the ground for that type then! I can show you step by step of the winter sown system. I love it, especially for this type of plant.
     
    CountryEscape, Oct 12, 2016
  17. CountryEscape

    Lisak1

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    We have been winter sowing for several years now with great success. All our tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, greens, and some annuals are started in milk jugs in January. I love doing it this way because it eliminates the need to harden off the plants, no concerns about plants getting too leggy indoors, no worries about moving things out too soon... it's great! And it's fun to be gardening in January when it's icy cold and there's snow on the ground!
     
    Lisak1, Oct 12, 2016
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  18. CountryEscape

    CountryEscape

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    Nepen, sorry just saw your post. I'm sure you were able to release your beauties. But, if anyone else wants to know, you can use fruit juice to feed them if you HAVE to keep them inside for more than 24 hours. Put it in a milk jug cap or something similar, and set them next to it. You might have to coax them to unfold their "tongue" and touch it to the juice. Once they figure out what it is, they will likely go after it.
    If a monarch has a folded wing, and it doesn't open properly within 24 hours, it may not fully open. I had one with a slightly folded corner of her wing, and she was able to fly just fine. Keep in mind, a dog with 3 legs can still run! I let my butterflies fly around in the house for a few minutes if they had eclosed more than 2 hours before, just so I could keep an eye on them flying. I only let one out at a time, and watch it carefully so it doesn't get behind anything. They tire and then I can easily coax them onto my finger or shirt and take them outside. It's fun to let them walk on your shirt or sleeve. When they first eclose, they want to and NEED to be hanging upside down so their wings will fully open and dry.
    This is one of the last 3 that I released last Saturday. It was a male, but since it had only opened a couple of hours prior to me releasing him, he didn't want to open his wings for a good photo. You can see the thickness on the black line where the dot is on the other side of the wing, though.
    #21 male better.JPG
    And, this is what it looked like earlier that morning. I love how you can see through the chrysalis and see the beautiful wing colors inside just before they eclose! Once the chrysalis turns from green to dark gray/black, it will open within 24 hours.
    cocoon for monarch.JPG
     
    CountryEscape, Oct 12, 2016
  19. CountryEscape

    CountryEscape

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    Totally agree with you, Lisa! It breaks up the cold of winter, and gives us gardeners some "dirt time" in the dead of winter. Try your tropical seeds that way this winter, and see how they do. Mine are 4' tall, still blooming, and have been blooming for 2 months now. Still have green leaves on them, too. My swamp milkweed is long gone, it didn't do well this year, so going to start some new plants of that, too, from seeds I got from the road ditch. LOL
    JB, I found a yellow flower similar to yours growing wild. I got it ID'd as Stiff Goldenrod. There were bees, wasps, monarchs, and several other types of butterflies on it when I drove past, so I came back to check it out and grab some flowers and seed pods to take home and photograph and ask for ID.
    yellow wild flower Stiff Goldenrod.JPG
    I'll have to add Golden Alexander to my list of "must haves". I want to grow more host plants for the black swallowtail, but this time grow them in areas where I can watch for grass and weeds and keep them removed. I'll put the zinnias in the middle with the sunflowers and they can battle the weeds and grass. I'll put the other plants on the outer edge where I can easily get to them to weed.
     
    CountryEscape, Oct 12, 2016
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  20. CountryEscape

    JBtheExplorer Native Gardener

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    Goldenrod is a huge pollinator attractor, and it attracts one of the widest varieties of pollinators. Stiff Goldenrod is probably the most attractive one, and I've read it isn't as aggressive as other species. Coincidentally, I just got seeds from Stiff Goldenrod to add to the garden a few weeks ago.
     
    JBtheExplorer, Oct 12, 2016
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