Holy Hannah - HELP! :-)

wifey2mikey(7a Tulsa, OK)April 12, 2014

Okay, so just today I ran into Sandy at a small Plant Festival in town, and she was telling me how she had seen a Monarch earlier this week. I haven't. I've been looking everywhere - but NADA.

So imagine my surprise just now when I went outside to check my gardens (I've been checking daily for any signs of emerging plants) and I discovered FOUR small sprigs of honey vine coming up... and guess what? A Monarch momma has apparently ALSO found them because I found FOUR eggs!!!!!!! FOUR!!!!!! And I have like barely ANYTHING for them to eat. What do I do??????

~Laura

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runmede(7a Virginia)

Cover them with something (some type of netting) for protection and leave them outside. One spring I had Monarch eggs that took 3 weeks to hatch outside. This will give the milkweed time to grow. Even if you took them inside and put them in the frig you could only keep them in the frig for 10 days without loss.

Did you post your sightings (milkweed emerging and eggs) to Journey North?

Here is a link that might be useful: Report your sightings to Journey North

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 9:18PM
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wifey2mikey(7a Tulsa, OK)

Yes it has been reported to Journey North. Sandy is going to take two of the eggs and I'm going to keep two and we're going to try our best to raise them.

~Laura

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 10:19PM
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wifey2mikey(7a Tulsa, OK)

13 more eggs today. :::: sigh::::: it's hopeless. There's no way I can find that much milkweed I'm afraid.

~Laura

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 12:38PM
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Leafhead

13 eggs?? That's TERRIFIC!! Congrats:-D
Please don't give up on these eggs!
Try calling or clicking Monarch Watch for possible sources of milkweed in this kind of pinch.
I live in the Midwest and am far from any Milkweed myself, but if you pick up a packet of 100 Swamp Milkweed or Common Milkweed seed and grow a bunch of seedlings to get them thru their early instars.The early instars don't consume terrible amounts; it's the 4th and 5th instars where intensive eating is noticeable. Hopefully by then, your own Milkweed will be able to support your cats.
Caveat: make sure your seeds have been cold stratified at time of purchase and plant them TODAY. Those early cats should survive a day or so outside on your milkweed until your seeds pop, but you'll want to protect them from predators with some type of mesh covering. Again, congrats on getting such a fertile ELF in such a critical year for the Monarch Butterflies.

John

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 5:03PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I've got 20 A. Curassavica seedlings under lights that I could over-night ship to you. They've only got their first set of leaves, but they might grow quickly in better sunlight and warmer weather. Though, I would think you could find milkweed plants in a local nursey. Good luck with those precious eggs.

Martha

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 4:18PM
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wifey2mikey(7a Tulsa, OK)

So all in all I ended up with 17 eggs - 10 of which I delivered into the safe hands of Sandy. We're expecting a freeze here tonight, so I have brought my remaining 7 inside.

We are having a plant festival nearby this weekend and I'm hoping to find some larger plants there. I have TONS of seedlings, but we all know how much these little guys eat - that won't be enough to keep 7 going. I could kick myself now for not rooting cuttings of the tropical last fall. :-/

~Laura

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 7:22PM
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Leafhead

Little guys don't eat that much, so you have two instars to locate some Milkweed. Tons of seedlings as verses 7 young instar cats buys you a little time at least.

John

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 4:53PM
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wifey2mikey(7a Tulsa, OK)

More eggs were laid so now I have 10 and Sandy has 10.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 7:44PM
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Leafhead

Go Go Go!! You're going to be a busy butterflier these next few weeks. Congrats on the wealth of something so beautiful and direly scarce. Each egg is like gold.
Find and grow more Milkweed seed and just keep feeding those little guys until more comes up in your garden and neighborhood.
Monarch ELFs usually visit 3 to 5 days in a row and can lay up to 10 eggs on a batch of Milkweed.
Here's a possible source I found on another thread for a milkweed plant, Asclepias incarnata.

gardenharvestsupply.com

They have adequate knowledge of the Monarch and Milkweeds and are "drug free"-No Pesticides.
They would be a good source of greenery for your hungry little mouths to come. You should order ASAP in case your plant arrives dormant and needs time to wake up.
Their shipping schedule for OK is Apr 14 and on, so you can probably get it within a couple of days and into the warm (hopefully) ground.

John

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 3:07AM
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wifey2mikey(7a Tulsa, OK)

Thank you so much for the information! I am planning on going to the Jenks Plant Festival today (Jenks, OK) and hopefully can find some more established plants there. I was able to buy some small plants from Wild Things Nursery last weekend, so I've got some leaves to feed them for now. I do have a bunch of tuberosa that has broken dormancy and sprouting, AND the honey vine is coming up all over the place in my garden. I do have TONS of currasavica and physocarpa seedlings - oh and some incarnata seedlings that Sandy gave me. I am going to do everything in my power to get my little babies to full grown adults. :-)
~Laura

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 8:20AM
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Leafhead

I have faith you can do it, Laura.
just keep growing and looking for those ever important eggs.
That milkweed will catch up to the needs of the cats, it seems.
Raise them in groups of 2s or 3s to avoid losing one and all to disease :-/ Plus I find them easier to feed that way, in smaller groups. Keep us posted on their progress, and on the progress of your Milkweed.

John

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 4:25PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I had collected thousands of Common Milkweed seeds to donate to Monarch Watch, but they had all they needed from Michigan. So, I have bags full of seeds. A few weeks ago I put an entire bag in a bucket with moist soil and stuck them outside to stratify. I don't know whether they've had enought time, but I could send anyone a bag of moist seeds thay they could plant directly. That would also mean I need to find time to check my email, which I haven't done in weeks. I need ten days in each week.

Martha

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 8:45AM
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wifey2mikey(7a Tulsa, OK)

I have some milkweed coming from Prairie Moon - and in the mean time the honey vine is shooting up sprouts every where and my incarnata FINALLY broke dormancy. I should have enough to food to raise the 6 that have hatched.

I love raising Monarchs, but they are hungry little guys. I compare them to the children's book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. No other species that I have raised seem to eat as much as these guys do. I don't even know how the Giant Swallowtails survive, honestly. Last year, every time I would look at them they were just resting. Yet they continued to grow larger and eventually pupate. Interesting little creatures...

~Laura

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 7:40AM
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Leafhead

Good for you, Laura :) I'm glad you now have enough Milkweed to cover your needs. Nature usually balances things out in the end.

I suspect that GST cats feed more at night, like several other species of Swallowtail do as well, such as Zebra and Tiger Swallowtails.
My "Very Hungry Caterpillar" is the BST; those guys can really chow down!! Down South it was Polydamas, which spent up to a week in its 5th instar and ate constantly.

John

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 8:32AM
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