I raised and released 81 Monarchs and 4 Queens. Most were released to the wild….17 were released at the Butterfly Encounter at Lucas Nursery….but 1 remained with me until she died today.
She emerged a few weeks ago…just before the 17 were taken to the Encounter. She had fallen from the empty Chrysalis before her wings were opened and dried. By the time I found her it was too late for them to be normal. The fluid from her body could not be pumped into them. They remained folded and were of no use to her.
My husband made a small cage…it would hold one plant and I could move it in and out at night.
I was feeding 20% honey and water. Every now and then she would be climbing around the cage as though on a mission….she had been in the main butterfly house with the 17 others for a couple of days and I wondered if she was trying to get to the milkweed plant so I put it in with her. She immediately settled down. I had two and alternated them every few days. Then I noticed a couple of eggs on one. It had been too cold for the Monarchs to be flying around …I started watching her….sure enough….each time she got “frantic” ….she would end up laying an egg.
Look closely at the photo…you can see two eggs. As soon as she was done laying…she would settle right down.
It was such a beautiful day today….I decided to put the her outside. There was a Monarch flying around. I was hoping it was a male. I don’t know if Butterflies lay unfertilized eggs like birds or chickens will even though there is no male and they haven't mated. I wasn’t able to find any information on it. So far, none have hatched. She struggled so hard to survive…I hope the eggs are good.
At least she passed away outside in the sunshine….where a Butterfly should be.