Raising Monarchs from eggs

angelimperfect36(9)July 30, 2014

I have a question. I have been succesfful on grabbing the baby caterpillars from the plants into the butterfly cage to protect them from predators. But right now, I would like to try to raise them from eggs. I have 30 eggs right now that I brought in the house. Two weeks ago I had 20 only 5 hatched the rest didnt hatch at all? So I am confused why? I would like some input on how to make this successful! It's almost August!!

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Do they have a dark spot at the top?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 7:31PM
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I am not sure what you mean. They are all white eggs right now meaning they are fairly new just laid. I have maybe two more that are all black.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 7:59PM
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wifey2mikey(7a Tulsa, OK)

Sometimes the eggs simply aren't fertile. It may not have anything to do with anything you have or haven't done. Hopefully you'll have more success with this batch.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 11:42PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Angel, in my experience a few eggs won't hatch, but most should (90%+).

Here's what I do with eggs. I collect part or all of the leaf that the egg is laid on. I use shoe-box size clear plastic containers, and line the bottom with damp paper towel - not dry, not overly moist, just damp. Then lay the leaves out on the paper towel with the egg side UP. The towel will dry out with time, so periodically spritz lightly with water as needed. Again it should be DAMP, not sopping wet. You don't want the egg to sit in water, or for the towel/leaf to mold.

The moist paper towel will keep the leaf from drying out and help keep it fresh. Approx. 4 days after the egg is laid, it will start to turn dark grey. The baby cat comes out and will eat the eggshell. Then it will start to munch on the leaf. Usually they go hide under the leaf. If the leaf is in bad shape, sometimes they will travel to another leaf or up the side of the container. Watch them closely. They can be transferred to fresh foliage by moving the leaf to new milkweed cuttings. They will move over to fresh foliage when they're ready.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 6:22PM
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That is what I did on the last batch. I was able to have 5 hatches but the rest just died along. So I am hoping that this time it will all hatch! So you're saying that the eggs only last 4 days then itll hatch?


    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 6:54PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Yes, the eggs will incubate for approximately 4 days. They start to darken, turn dark grey, and the baby cat comes out. Occasionally the process will fail, and the egg won't hatch successfully. My guess that is probably due to genetic defects. But in my experience that is only 1 out of every 10 eggs, or so.

I'm not sure what else would cause you to have failure with so many eggs - you said you only got 5 out of 20 to hatch? That is a 75% failure rate. Must be something going on!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 7:25PM
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