On May 3 , I noticed that several of the eggs on the milkweed plants outside were starting to get black at the top. That is the caterpillars head and it is ready to chew it’s way out of the egg. I brought a few of them inside and watched them hatch. They were then put on the Giant Milkweed that I had brought in and put in the Butterfly House. Actually I should call it the Caterpillar House since that’s what’s in there. Once they emerge as Butterflies I release them.
I put 15 hatchlings on the plant. On May 4th, another 18. Some were hatched inside and others taken from the plants outside. On May 5th, 34 more. So far, I have a total of 67 Monarch caterpillars on the Giant Milkweed, and I haven’t checked the plants this morning…can I hit 100?
This is what it looks like today.
Lots of leaves…..
This leaf is 4” long…..there are a couple of caterpillars on it. You can see how tiny they are and these are a day or two old. They are hard to spot. You have to look for the eaten parts of the leaves to find them.
This plant raised over 60 caterpillars last fall. They ate it down to just a few leaves. It raised 18 a few weeks ago. Each time it comes back better ..with more leaves. I now have a second plant. When this one gets eaten down I will move the remaining caterpillars to that one and put this one back outside to regrow.
In another week the first ones on the plant should be close to heading to the top to pupate.
If all these caterpillars were left on the plants outside…..the oldest ones would eat them down to stalks and the rest would die. I will leave several caterpillars on the plants in the ground …those plants need to be “trimmed” by them also. This way many more survive to become butterflies.
I have 15 or more tropical milkweed in the ground. Most of it is the red/yellow but 2 big clumps are just yellow. Milkweed has a lot of nectar and the butterflies of all kinds love them. You can several pods on them. The yellow had one open yesterday. I will gather some of the seeds but most I hope will reseed right here…in my “wet lands”.
As these did from last fall.
Check back…I’ll show you what that Giant Milkweed looks like in a few more days.
5.7.11 A total of 95 caterpillars as of tonight. The Monarchs have been busy today…there are several new eggs since this morning. 100 is within easy reach.