I said I wasn't going to!

docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)August 6, 2011

I have been swamped at work and exhausted by the time I get home at night. So, I had decided to raise the one Monarch egg I had and leave the rest to fend for themselves in my lush milkweed jungle. Well, I was cleaning the medium-sized frass from my one small container, when I noticed some microscopic frass in the corner. Sure enough, I had brought in an egg or small cat on the branch for my one guy. Well, OK, one more. I can raise two measly caterpillars But, no. Every time I go out to bring in fresh milkweed, I find more new cats. So, finally I couldn't resist. I went hunting and now have a total of 13 new first instar cats, and a bonus of two fat late instars that I found as well. So much for my leisurely mornings with hot coffee. I'll be out slopping through dew-covered grass to find food for my babies every morning. I bet you all feel really sorry for me, right? I hope all of you have as good luck as I have. I remember the months and years that I thought I'd never be like all those experienced butterfly gardeners on the internet. Well, I've arrived. And it's still as addictive as when I first started.


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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Welcome to CA, Martha - Caterpillars Anonymous!


    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 7:33PM
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KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH

I don't know how you are raising them but if you are throwing leaves into a container, you can pick a bunch of leaves at the same time and then keep them in a ziploc bag in the fridge. Then in the morning, you grab a leaf (or more) out of the fridge instead of going outside. I don't have enough leaves on-site because of the deer so I have to go elsewhere, get a stockpile and then keep them in the fridge until I need them.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 9:38PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Thanks for the suggestion about keeping leaves in the fridge. Actually, I have a huge selection of milkweed within 10 steps of my back or front door. I can get fresh leaves from outside nearly as quickly as I could from the fridge. I raised around 50 cats last year at multiple different ages. All the ones I have now are within a few days of one another, so it should be even simpler. In fact, they might be just about ready to eclose for the first week or so of school. I can send them to school with my kids.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 11:24PM
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Sounds like you are rescuing a bunch of cats now...I could never only bring in one cat! ;o)
Glad you are helping out more this year...it seems the monarchs are down in numbers in a lot of areas so any help they can get is GREAT!!!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 9:47AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I'm like you. I can't leave any cat I find outside. I had just promised myself I wouldn't go looking for them. I had just come across the one egg while weeding. I do feel better about doing my part to keep the Monarchs going. I also have to maintain my reputation with my teenagers as seriously touched.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 10:16AM
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wifey2mikey(7a Tulsa, OK)

Hahaha Martha. Your kids sound lik mine. My daughter was singing improvisationally at my inlaws 50th anniversary party - and she spent part of that time singing to me about my summer time love affair with butterflies. It was hilarious (good thing I can laugh at myself!)


    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 10:52AM
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Same here. I started with four eggs in early June. Then it got real quiet. July and Aug have been booming. I cut milkweed and keep the stem in a vase of water and keep it out on my porch. Whenever I go to get a fresh leaf, there's either a cat or egg I didn't notice before. I now have 3 chrysalis, and 20 cats :)

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 11:16AM
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