Monday, October 4, 2010

My Monarch “nursery”

I have so many tiny caterpillars I decided to go to the local plant nursery and buy a few potted milkweed plants.  I ended up with 4.

I will keep the plants in the screen room until the caterpillars  grow up. Jim is going  to build me a portable butterfly house. He’s remodeling a large birdcage that my Mom had built several years ago. He’ll take out the 1/4 “ wire and replace it with window screen. I will have a wooden perch or branch in the top for them to build their chrysalis on. Once they become beautiful butterflies, I will release them.

Here are a few of the little ones. The two on the L are about 1/4 of an inch….you have to look very closely to see the one that just hatched.


When I was picking out my plants….I spotted this good sized caterpillar. I know they sell them at the nursery ( $8 each), so I told them there was a large one on my plant and asked if they wanted it….they told me I could have it.  Great…it should be ready to build a chrysalis fairly soon.

I got my plants home…took the little caterpillars that I hatched and put them on the plants…several hours later I was checking on them to see how they were doing….and guess what!!!  I saw 2 more caterpillars….one is about 3/4 of an inch and the other almost an inch.  This is the larger and the smaller of the 3 that came with the plants.


I noticed the tiny hatchlings are  more active on the living plant than they were on the cut leaves. I  read  there is a better survival rate that way, and that helped me make the decision to buy more plants. It makes sense that the leaves would lose some of their food value after being cut and wilting. Perhaps that is why.

My plants outside have at least 4 tiny caterpillars and a few more eggs. I think I will let them hatch and grow naturally and see how many survive.

I should have an abundance of Monarch Butterflies before long.


  1. This is so very cool! You should get tags for the butterflies. Then when they arrive way down south they can be counted. Must be a web site about this. Ruthie J does this.

  2. Gaelyn...thanks for the suggestion. I'll check into it...perhaps Ruthie J will give me a pointer.


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