Sunday, December 12, 2010

Monarch Butterfly update

I had 67 Chrysalis a few days ago. 7 Monarchs emerged on the 8th and 5 emerged on the 9th. Debbie had 3 that had emerged and we decided to take them to Lucas Nursery where they have a “Butterfly Encounter”. I would have preferred to release in the yard, but freezing temperatures were expected.

Yesterday 14 emerged and I released them in the backyard. I have a couple of Monarchs, at least one Viceroy …(it’s a bit ragged but the color is beautiful) that show up whenever the sun shines.043cs

There are several small Skippers, Zebra Longwings and at least one Gulf Frittlary that join them.060cs

Jim built this for me so I could wheel the plants into the shed at night. I had milkweed seedlings in small pots and after the freeze I added a few flowering plants to the collection.029cs I also have a wheel barrow full.

002csThere are at least 12 in large pots that I bring into the screen room when it’s going to be in the 30’s. I definitely get my exercise carrying things in and out. Maybe next year we’ll build a small greenhouse that can be opened for the bees and butterflies.003cs The tall structure is a trellis built over a tub with honeysuckle. I enclosed it with plastic on 3 sides and top…put several of the flowering plants on shelves in it and that’s where I put the newly released Monarchs. They can have something to eat…if they want…and leave whenever they are ready. It gives them a nice warm spot out of the wind to make up their minds.

When the resident Monarch flew in, it immediately took up with one of the released one.016cs

This male was enjoying the sun on a Buddleia plant and the Gulf Fritillary was determined to have the same spot. He’s the big blur.


The Monarch refused to leave and the Fritillary finally decided to settle for a spot nearby. Look how fast his wings go.

I released 2 more this afternoon and by 4 pm there were 9 more. It is supposed to rain tomorrow…. but if it’s not too cold I will release them. Otherwise I will have to teach them how to eat. This is the first one that emerged a few days ago. He had just had a meal of honey and water.


Here it is on a Marigold. Isn’t it beautiful?



  1. Wow, that's neat!!! I hope they survive! I'm thinking freezing weather, but I guess since you're in Florida, they might be fine. Wow! A greenhouse with plants, butterflies and bees! That would be a place you could charge admission to. :)

  2. Wow! This has been so awesome to watch. Love that last shot a lot.

  3. Carol, that is amazing work you are doing, and must be so very rewarding. And congratulations to Jim too, for all his involvements.
    That video was fascinating to watch. That Monarch was certainly hanging in there.

  4. Love the photos but really think the wheelbarrow is neat.

  5. Texwisgirl: We had a freeze last week but they still showed up the next day. Once the sun comes out. It was only 40* this morning but I saw one a few minutes ago. We're fairly protected here in the woods and I had the plants out early for them.

  6. Carol, I just love to visit you. You always make me feel like I'm in on the action. I love how vibrant and alive your yard is and how welcome the wild things are. I enjoy each and every post. Thank you. @>----

  7. Holy smokes, we won't see those winged ones again for months! I have butterflies on our Christmas tree, but aren't you lucky to have them in your garden!

  8. The top photo is not a Queen, but a Viceroy. Great stuff here!

  9. Doug...thanks for correcting me on the Viceroy. I am so used to seeing Queens in here that I didn't even think of the Viceroy. I am going to follow your blog. Very interesting. And thanks again for the help. I appreciate it.


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