Rearing Monarchs is underway!

terrene(5b MA)July 12, 2011

I'm so excited! I released 2 healthy Monarchs last week, 1 male and 1 female, but thought that might have been a fluke to have Monarchs here that early. No sign of eggs or cats since then. Well last night I found 6 eggs on some small Swamp milkweed plants! These plants are only about 6-8 inches tall and they sprouted this Spring after I dug a little bed for some Daylily seedlings. There used to be some Asclepias incarnata growing there a few years ago, and apparently the seeds have lain in the soil since then, and sprouted when the soil was disturbed.

I checked some of the other Milkweed plants but haven't found any other eggs as yet. Maybe the Momma will come back and leave some more eggs?? There is a nice patch of common milkweed and lots of tropical which is about 3-6 inches tall. Also some nice Butterfly weed, but that is not their preferred host plant. I also attempt to grow other Asclepias species with greater or lesser success. :)

So what's happening for you with rearing Monarchs this year? (Course we know minrose has released hundreds already, yippeeee.) Anybody interested in a running thread?

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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I have one chrysalis, that I found as a late instar cat just over a week ago in a parking lot. I also have three early instar cats that I found as eggs on the same plant as the chrysalis. I saw a Monarch briefly flit across my yard high above the trees, and another that was nectaring a day later. But, so far I've not found any eggs or cats in my own yard. The plants are all in bloom and ready for them. I'll just try to be patient.

Martha

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 3:15PM
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runmede(7a Virginia)

Got my first eggs early in late April and raised and released about 30. Then, about 3 weeks ago I netted a female and put her into a net cylinder with some host and nectar plants. In three days I collected over 100 eggs. I gave away a bunch of the eggs and cats to a teacher and have been raising 71 of them myself. Some are in the pupae stage and some are still munching. The past years has been pretty slim in my area so I feel very lucky to have these.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 12:39PM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

I have released 25 Monarchs this week. I still have a few left in chrysalides. This has been my best group--no losses. I have raised and released approximately 75 Monarchs this year in three batches.

It will be interesting to see if some of the females stick around and lay eggs. I've had males visiting the garden, so maybe. . .

Sandy

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 1:53PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Wow - congrats! Y'all are all in the monarch business in a big way!

I haven't seen a monarch since spring, didn't get any eggs then, but this is all normal. If I get eggs, it'll be in late summer or early fall. Here's hoping that happens this year - I'm growing them lots of milkweed.

Sherry

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 2:10PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Well, I've collected 7 more eggs since Monday night! Found 4 eggs this morning on those same little Swamp milkweed plants. Now I KNOW the eggs weren't there yesterday because I have scoured the milkweed. Also found 1-2 eggs on the tropical and common milkweed.

The female Monarch(s) is being very furtive. I haven't seen her or any other Monarchs in the yard yet, only a few while driving around. She also seems to be very choosy about where she lays. I planted a sweep of about 2 dozen Ascelpias curassavica seedlings, which are about 3-6 inches tall, and she laid only one egg on the very last plant on the edge of the garden.

So I've got 13 eggs so far. :) Also 7 tiny 1st instar BSTs.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 2:22PM
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coolbutterfly(5A)

It has really picked up in the Minneapolis Burbs (Minrose brings you the Minnesota COUNTRY report) ;)

We have had females laying eggs here every day for at least the last week. There are seven sections of milkweed around our yard (common, swamp, baby butterfly weed, tropical) and every section has eggs and cats. I am raising just 12 at a time because of the time involved, but would be right up there with minrose if I tried to rescue all the eggs/cats.

The females conduct their egg laying business in the morning and then go. The males are usually frolicking around in the afternoon nectaring, so far, on the brazilian verbena, zinnias, and orange cosmos.

Today there were actually 3 males today at the same time...I bet they are waiting for a female!

That's the first time I remember multiple monarchs hanging around with no liatris ligulistylis blooming. The liatris is coming along though and the buds are beginning to show. Just a couple weeks and the yard will be filled with flying acrobatic male monarchs! I am going to try and get some good pictures and video this year so you can see this amazing spectacle.

The rest of the butterfly season is still slow, but the Minnesota Monarchs are here in full force!

Tony

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 3:24PM
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minrose(4Mn)

I am honored to be mentioned twice in this post, thank you. I found 25 eggs yesterday just around our farm.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 9:39AM
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