13 Monarch Eggs!!!
Yesterday, I saw a Monarch adult flying around my yard and the surrounding neighborhood. I never saw it stop to rest or nectar at all, so didn't know whether it was male or female. But, today, I made a search of my milkweeds, and found 13 eggs on my unknown milkweed that grows in my shadiest bed. Every egg was on the tiniest sprouts very near to the ground. None of the tall, mature plants had any eggs. I also checked my incarnata and tuberosa plants, but didn't find anything there, either. Last year, the only eggs I found were also on this shady milkweed. I have never seen it bloom, probably because it is in so much shade. It appears to spread by roots, and sends up single stalks rather than a group of stems like my incarnata seems to produce. I'm in the process of eradicating the Lily-of-the-Valley, English Ivy, Vinca Minor, Day Lilies, Poison Ivy and iris that make up most of this bed. There are also Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Trillim, Solomon's Seal, Viburnum, Goldenrod, and some shade-tolerant aster and other un identified plants. So, I'm trying to be careful to avoid the native, valuable plants, but if need to use chemicals to control the widespread noxious invaders. I also have a terrible Garlic Mustard invasion in a different part of the property that keeps me busy with both pulling and spraying.
Anyway, I am completely thrilled to have Monarchs to raise. Fortunately, I have plenty of incarnata in my own beds, plus endless Common Milkweed just up the road. I did grow curassavica in pots to have in case I got eggs to raise, but our spring and summer have been so cold and wet that growth has been very slow. I wish I could share these eggs with all of you. I promise to take meticulous care of them so I can release them to carry on.
I actually have a very early cat that is probably a week or ten days ahead of the eggs I just found. Does anyone think it would be possible for me to hang on to the older butterfly long enough for it to mate with one of the newer eggs. Then I could collect more eggs and raise them in a protected environment. But, they wouldn't be mating with their siblings. Would that be too long for the first butterfly to wait? As I think about it, that does seem a long time, when their lifespan is so short, anyway. Best to let nature do it's thing, at least to some extent. Wish me luck raising these guys.