unnoticed Escapee's !!

mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)August 27, 2012

While cleaning the tabletop where my Butterfly cage sits, I noticed these small green 'houses' attached to a lint roller and a magnifying glass!

Thank goodness I noticed them before my son decided to use the lint roller.

Mary

Here is a link that might be useful:

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RetiredFlorida(9)

Wow, thank goodness you don't run amok haphazardly! Neat photo.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 7:50PM
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susanlynne48(OKC7a)

Mary, how funny! Did you raise lots of Monarch cats?

Susan

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 8:51PM
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mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)

Susan, I have 23 from the first Mama Monarch visit, with the last baby now preparing to build it's little green house.

A few days ago, another very healthy female Monarch stopped by and left me a lot of eggs so now I'm beginning to collect new babies to raise. I still have enough milkweed to feed another group so I will have a go again. The little ones just do not survive outside here. I don't know if it's the wasps who get them or the little birds (we have a lot of little Carolina Wrens always feeding) or both, but the hatchlings seem to disappear overnight. I can't keep myself from bringing the tiny little ones inside but I'm sure you all know that feeling. :-)

Mary

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 9:47PM
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bananasinohio(6OH)

Awww! They just wanted to help clean up!

I found two pipevine chrysalises in floor cracks when I was sweeping last year. Ooops! I was sure I counted them. I have no idea where they came from.

-Elisabeth

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 10:01PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Oh my goodness! I'm sure glad you found them, Mary!

They sure are beautiful!

Sherry

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 10:18PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Haha - last year an escapee pupated on the back of a kitchen chair - unfortunately, I was not so lucky, and went to pull the chair out and squished the chrysalis! It was so soft, the cat had just pupated. I had no idea they were that soft.

How's your Asclepias variegata doing this year Mary? My plants emerged late, and are small. But the Mama Monarchs have used them anyway to lay eggs, and I have one small bloom on the largest plant (don't expect that it will set seed though).

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 7:59PM
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mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)

Hi Terrene,

Yes, so happy I happened to notice them, too. After a while, they hide among the leaves of the milkweed and I lose count of how many I should have in the enclosure.

My A. variegata plants are so so. We've had another long VERY HOT summer. My big wild one is still alive and produced a lot of blooms late spring but no seed pods. I have three still in pots that are alive that I bought from MaryAnn last summer. I'm going to over winter them in the pots again. Next spring I'm going to pinch them back to see if I can get a seed pod with later in the season blooms.

The milkweed that is looking best after the terrible heat is the Asclepias Physocarpus Oscar - aka 'Family Jewels'. I started three plants last fall, over wintered them in the greenhouse and planted them out about May of this year. Of course, they will not survive the winter here but they've handled the heat better than the other milkweeds I grow. Mama Monarch recently left a lot of eggs, which are now hatching and many babies are showing up on the 'Family Jewels' Milkweed so I know the Monarchs will use it here. I'm going to try and grow more plants next year as they put out a lot of leaves. See photo below that was taken just a few minutes ago. If I had pinched the three plants back, I think after watching them grow this season, that I would have even more branches on the plants, thus more food. These three plants are approx 6.5 feet tall. However, I've yet to see a seed pod on these plants this year.

How's your garden doing this year and are you seeing many Monarchs?

Mary

Asclepias Physocarpus Oscar - aka 'Family Jewels' Milkweed

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 5:11PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Glad to hear that the A. physocarpa is giving you plenty of eggs and food for the cats! There was a real funny thread about that plant over on the winter-sowing forum a couple years back but I think it's fallen off the forum. The "seed pods" aka "family jewels" aka "hairy balls" are very funny looking. Does yours set seed? I got some seeds in a trade a few years ago, but they didn't germinate.

This year has been a great year for Monarchs! We've had a decent summer, and the Monarchs have been relatively abundant. Perhaps they headed to the northeast US in greater numbers and maybe earlier than usual because of the drought in the midwest US.

My milkweed has done so-so, but fortunately, the females like to lay eggs on even the lethargic little plants. At one point there were 5 little cats on one teeny A. variegata plant. There was no way the plant could have fed the cats when they got big! I also collected eggs at the wild meadow where I collect really nice Asclepias syriaca to feed the larger cats.

Egg laying is now subsiding in my area, because the nights are getting cool. But I have almost 90 chrysalises and about 40 cats in process right now. Have released at least 50 so far, not sure of the exact number but it's probably more, so this is setting up to be my best year yet.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 9:24PM
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mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)

Terrene,

These three plants have not set seed this season. Because of the terrible heat and lack of rain this summer, we didn't seem to have a lot of pollinators. I'm hoping that is the reason for no seed pods on this plant. I think I purchased my seed from Remy's 'The Sample Seed Shop' on line. I wanted to test the seed before the next growing season so I planted 3 seeds last fall and they all germinated! I just over wintered the little plants in my cool greenhouse and they already had a nice start for this spring's planting.

Remy lists the seed as:
Gomphocarpus physocarpus aka Asclepias fruticosa (HAIRY BALLS aka Oscar�s Milkweed) 25 seeds for $1.75 (this year's price)

Someone who lives in zone 7 recommended this plant on this forum last year so I decided to give it a try. I've been very impressed with how it performs here. I did use a wire ring support plus some of the tall single wire stake supports (wal-mart wire stakes) to help support the main stalk of each plant. We have such wind and 'usually' very heavy rains, so I wanted to keep them from breaking during storms. No rain to speak of this year but the stakes held well during the dry winds of this summer. Once the plants reach a certain height, you can't even see the wire supports so even visually, they worked well.

Mary

Here is a link that might be useful: Remy's

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 2:46PM
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