Where are the butterflies?

sandpapertongue(7a VA)June 13, 2014

Last year was my first experience with butterflies. We raised 10 BSTs and it was so much fun.

They inspired me to work on my butterfly garden. This year I have dill, carrot, parsley, and rue all ready for them. The milkweed is in bloom. I bought 2 butterfly bushes and a joe pye weed.

Yet, all I ever see are cabbage whites laying eggs on my kale. In my boredom and desperation, I went from protecting my kale to taking a few cabbage whites inside just so I have something going on in my butterfly habitat.

I know I just have to be patient and the BSTs will probably show up in another month when it's consistently hot. I am getting very antsy though. Checking my carrots and dill daily and seeing nothing.

Anyone else in my area seeing BSTs yet? Or monarchs?

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roper2008 (7b)

I'm in Virginia Beach, Va. I have already released 10
BST's.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 12:41PM
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Leafhead

I live in Madison, WIsconsin.
I have released 11 monarchs c 1 to go and 4 BSTs c 5 to go.
I have had several Monarch sightings and collected many eggs, though not as much as in past years. Their #s are up from last year. I only saw 3-4 Monarchs all season, and late in the season. I had a paltry 2-3 Monarchs around my Liatris lingulistylis as opposed to the 10-15 of two yrs ago. BSTs were fair last year and I got more cats because I had more Fennel than this year. The last ELF laid only 5 eggs, 4 of which hatched.
More Eastern Tigers, too. I have seen 5 now as opposed to last year's 1. (Can't wait for my Wild Black Cherry to grow big :) :)).
American Ladies for days!! Over a hundred cats counted. My Antennaria and Anaphalis have seen better days Hehehe...
More Red Admirals, too. A whole batch of cats on my Nettles.
I know I'm losing cats to Mama Robin, but I have enough to go around. Hurry up and eat and GO guys...
I don't raise the latter two lone so I don't lose my hosts :/
The season's just getting started up here and it's off to a productive start :-)

John

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 1:45PM
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roper2008 (7b)

I have not seen any monarchs yet. I have lots of milkweed.
Have seen the Zebra Swallowtail and Tiger Swallowtail.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 4:32PM
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sandpapertongue(7a VA)

Oh, that's promising that you folks have all seen a lot. I wonder when they'll find their way to my yard. Hopefully soon!

Meanwhile, I've gone out 3 times today and each time, there have been fresh Cabbage White eggs on the kale. I do love butterflies and all, but I'd prefer to eat my kale than the raise the ubiquitous Cabbage White.

Of course this is how it turns out. I've gone out of my way to make a butterfly garden and then the only butterfly that comes to visit is the one that is a pest.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 4:50PM
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davessels

sandpapertongue,
I am not in your area, but have lots of BST cats all over my dill, at least 2 dozen. I am going with "let nature take it's course" this summer as I had such an awful time last year, and really no good place to raise cats inside. I have had two BST cats go to their next journey, wither it was a robin or a Crhysalis, I am hoping to see them soon as BST butterflies. It seemed to me that they were a few weeks earlier this year than last. Dill is the only thing I have had cats on in my area. Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 7:05PM
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runmede(7a Virginia)

I think with our cold spring and now continued rain, we will have to wait until July to see more butterflies. Butterflies like warm weather.

Use garden row cover for your cabbage family crops. Some stores refer to it as Reemay. Since these crops don't need to be fertilized, you can cover them to keep the cabbage whites from laying eggs.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 9:03PM
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Slatewiper

I too have had very few sightings here in Cincinnati. Some red spotted purples, one tiger swallowtail and a couple of red admirals. That's it. My A. Incarnata is blooming as well as my A. Tuberosa and nothing is using them.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 11:00PM
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SouthCountryGuy Zone 4b-5 SE BC(Zone 4b-5 SE BC Canada)

I would ask that question too but with the cold damp spring we have had I know the reason.

It had been very depressing as I sit here staring out at another drizzly day. Our highs for the past while have been in the 50's when they should be high 70's. As well everything I planted 3 weeks ago has barely done anything so very few blooms to attract butterflies....../endrant

Here is to some sunny days filled with butterflies!

SCG

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 11:37AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Don't give up. There may be more activity than you are aware of. I'm sure most of those who have collected eggs didn't actually see the butterfly who laid them. Also, it can take a few seasons for the insects to find your garden. I try to remember that every native plant or nectar source I plant is benefiting some small creature. Even if it is the tiny, unnamed gnats. Those will provide food for birds and other insects and will help to maintain/restore the bigger balance of nature. But, it would be more fun if we could get a little something for all our hard work and investment. I've seen some Tiger Swallowtails high up in the trees, and yesterday saw a Monarch near Lake Michigan, but not anything in my own garden. Mine is in it's third year, so many plants are really getting established. But, I don't have much in bloom yet.

Martha

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 7:32AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I am seeing some very small different varieties of Butterfly this year in greater numbers. I will have to pay more attention to what they are. They are fast and I haven't seen a close up of one, probably because I've been busy and distracted.

I agree, that seeing changes in the garden of more butterflies and beneficial insects is not instant. I've been gardening organically for 25 years, but have noticed the more beneficial plants I've added, the more insect activity I see. Every year it gets better.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 7:38AM
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arkansas_girl(5A)

Though I don't have a "butterfly garden", I do take notice and I was just talking about this to my husband, I haven't seen much in the way of butterflies this year or bees for that matter. I am in Ohio (NE). I go to our park daily and the park was filled with clover and NOTHING flying around it! SAD! What the heck?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 7:49AM
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adellabedella_usa

This may not be much inspiration since I'm in Houston. Most of my plants are blooming or will be in the next week or so. I planted crape myrtle, butterfly bushes, and desert willows last summer when I moved in. I had new flower beds built this summer so I could attract butterflies and hummingbirds. I've seen three monarchs in the past week and a blue swallowtail and a yellow swallowtail along with a lot of smaller butterflies that I don't recognize. This has been my first year here so I'm not sure what the norm is. This is butterflies than I have seen in years past compared to when I lived other places.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 2:50PM
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SouthCountryGuy Zone 4b-5 SE BC(Zone 4b-5 SE BC Canada)

Thanks for the pick up. It is 45F with a rainfall warning, again. But the sun is supposed to be out and 80F by tomorrow!

SCG

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 11:48AM
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