Here are some of the photos so far of the six eggs and two cats I found Wednesday. I am so excited!
This post was edited by Corgikarma on Fri, Aug 1, 14 at 20:21
Awww, they look so cute at that stage!
I do have a question, is tropical milkweed alright to feed them? I noticed there were no eggs on the tropical milkweed so I'm wondering if the cats will eat it.
I'm no expert, but yes, they do eat tropical milkweed. In fact, I think it is one of their favorites. I raised mine last year on tropical milkweed and they all did well.
If only I had some to raise this year. Sigh.
Unfortunately I lost a cat. This morning it was curled up on a leaf. I'm hoping this isn't a trend with the rest of these babies
Unfortunately, spontaneous death of caterpillars is a very common part of this process. Sometimes a cause can be found, but sometimes not. I started with 13 eggs, which all hatched, but I'm down to 7 cats. I think several just wandered off, since my container was not air tight, and I never found dead cats. But, 4 I just found sitting still and turning dark/black and gooey. I have learned to touch or move them as little as possible. If a cat is sitting still of by itself on the wall of the container, leave it alone, but watch closely to see if it moves again, or if it is giving up.
Remember, 95% of eggs laid in the wild will succumb to disease or predation. So, if anyone manages to get even a single egg to develop into an adult butterfly, you've accomplished a miracle. Just make sure they have fresh leaves available always, and that you keep them in moderate temperatures and protected from direct sunshine. As the cats approach full growth, make sure they have an open area to attach to the top of the container and have room to hang and let their wings dry when they emerge from their chrysalis.
Thanks Martha. My surviving cat is growing fast. I still have no idea what happened to the other. Overnight he just curled up and died. All I see is a black dot on him. Eggs are looking about ready to hatch
Martha and Korgikarma,
your success raising monarchs has a lot to do with your raising process. Once you have developed a good one, it is not common to lose a lot of caterpillars during the process.
Martha, check out some of the raising cages I have tried on the link below...they will prevent your tiny cats from escaping. Good luck, Tony
Here is a link that might be useful: Is Your Caterpillar Cage Killing Your Monarch Butterflies?
Tony, any suggestions for beginners?
I ordered a butterfly cage and it should be arriving Tuesday. Right now they are in sterile mason jars covered with napkins with holes punched in them. I have a damp towel in the bottom for the milkweed. I change the towel and rinse the jar daily.
it sounds like you are set until your cage arrives. The pantyhose set up could also work around your mason jar if you secured them with a rubber band. You could actually just cut out a section large enough to fit over the opening of the jar. The added benefit to pantyhose is that they also trap humidity so the leaves stay fresh longer.
BTW, touching monarchs does not hurt them as long as you handle them gently....if it did, all of mine would be dead ;)
I wish you success in your raising adventures! Tony
Here are the cats now. I have one chrysalis and 9 cats in various instars. Thus far I have lost one cat while in the second instar and one seems to be unable to shed its skin and I have doubts about its survival.
It looks like everything is set up perfectly.
Thanks Martha! I have five in the "J" formation and one in chrysalis. Three still munching away.
I lost a few as well this year. I'm thinking i may have contributed by not washing the bug spray off my hands.
I ended up with 5 of 9 or so.
so far so good on the remaining 5
Here is a link that might be useful: Monarch Conservation Network
The first to emerge from his chrysalis
Fantastic! There's nothing more rewarding or beautiful.
Watching him fly away was such an amazing experience. Can't wait for the rest!
He's gorgeous! It's so cool watching a butterfly that you raised yourself fly off. I want to raise some Monarchs someday, even if they do intimidate me a little. :)
Don't let them intimidate you! Or rather, don't let it stop you. I've been nervous through this whole process as this is my first time! I planted a ton of milkweed and had little faith that a monarch would even show. Low and behold I've had activity all summer! It is true, if you plant it they will come!
Oh, I won't let it stop me! I guess it's the specter of OE that intimidates me, specifically. I'm not sure how I'd handle that. But on the other hand, Monarchs are kind of hard to resist. :)
Silly question...can milkweed be planted in pots, by any chance?
This post was edited by alex928 on Sat, Aug 23, 14 at 20:20
I've read you can. When my fiance and I move into our apartment I plan to try it! As far as OE goes it worries me, too!