Sunday, August 12, 2012

Butterfly / Caterpillar update

In my last post, I mentioned that I had over 40 caterpillars. I was off by 20. Once all the eggs hatched, and a few brought in from outside….I ended up feeding 60 caterpillars.

This is how it looked yesterday….


This morning……21 emerged. I couldn’t get them all in the picture.


Remember what the Giant Milkweed looked like in the last post?


Here they are 3 days later……that is $40 worth of caterpillar food.


They are showing signs of new buds, but it will be awhile before they are ready to feed anything.

Remember the 3 plants I bought that had been sprayed with insecticide? I pulled all the leaves off…let them regrow and the Monarchs started laying on them. I spotted several small caterpillars and want to do a test to see if they are OK. I can’t put them in the Butterfly House…there is no way to tell the little guys apart…so I made  a temporary addition for those plants.  There are at least 20 caterpillars between the 2 ….from tiny to almost ready to go up and pupate.


They aren’t totally enclosed so I have to watch where I walk.(incase one travels to the floor) If they can pupate and then if the emerging butterflies have no problems……I will know the plants are alright to use.

I have released the 21 from this morning and it looks like there will be another 15 tomorrow.

I suspend a piece of newspaper below the emerging butterflies so they don’t have far to fall if one loses it’s footing and to keep the excess fluid in their bodies (it is evacuated once the wings are full) from falling on the plants below.

I have 2 small plants in the “house” and there are 10 that are almost ready to go to the top and another 15 or so small ones.


It is an on going process. I just hope my plants can recover quick enough to feed them all. Most of the butterflies that I release go to places unknown….but some stay and lay eggs………so when I bring in a new plant for them to eat…..I never know how many caterpillars I might end up with.


  1. Very interesting and very fulfilling I would think.

  2. That must be absolutely amazing to watch. You've certainly learned just what they need. A bit expensive, but then you can spend a lot of money feeding the wild birds too.

    1. I'll keep telling myself that. I just had to buy 5 more plants. Not the Giant Milkweed...just regular Tropical Milkweed.

  3. Fascinating to read about this Carol, and all the work you are putting in.

    Over here, our butterflies have a relativity short life span; and some species only around for a few months of the year.
    As an average, how long during the year are your Monarchs around?

    1. The Monarchs are here almost all year around. But it is most likely a series of hatchings. I never see more than half a dozen at a time...and I have released over 60 in the last few weeks. Year before last I took 17 to the local "Butterfly Encounter" because a freeze had killed all the blooms and I was concerned there wouldn't be anything for them to eat. Most do migrate and either to S FLorida or Mexico. Thanks for stopping by.

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