9 mature Monarch Cats - 2 new hatchlings

mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)September 17, 2013

I was gifted with 9 Monarch eggs that are beginning to pupate, three lovely green chrysalides and two in the J so far.

While washing fresh MW for them three days ago, I discovered two more tiny eggs. If these two mature, it will be 11 more Monarchs heading toward Mexico.

I searched all the milkweed, but if there were more 'recent' eggs, I couldn't find them. It's a pretty slim count so far this year but happy to have been able to raise these little guys.

I'm really dismayed by the spotty sightings reported on this forum. I hope next year the spring weather is normal, all of our MW plantings come up on time and the remaining Monarchs have a successful journey north.

On a more positive note, I've had gads of Pipevine, Black Swallowtail, Giant Swallowtail, two generations of Spicebush and many other assorted little visitors, plus many Eastern Tiger's visiting every day. We must have their host growing somewhere nearby as they were abundant all summer. If only the Monarchs had been able to participate! :-(


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Amen to that!! Here's hoping for a brighter future for the Monarch and other butterflies.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 12:18PM
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mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)

I'm finding more tiny hatchlings today so be on the lookout and check your milkweed closely! Even though I've not seen mama Monarch, they are on the move now.

Sandy, your method of keeping the tiny cats in a sealed container for the first few days is working beautifully. Of course, I replace their diaper daily and provide fresh food but they seem to be happy (and safe) as can be in their little container.


    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 8:53PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I'm so happy to hear that folk are seeing evidence of Monarchs heading back south, and continuing to lay eggs on the way. It already got really cold here, even frost, so I hope they are long gone from here. Thank-you for continuing the work of keeping them going. I'd love to see some return next year.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 7:02AM
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wifey2mikey(7a Tulsa, OK)

Yay Mary! If each of us can raise some, maybe that will help! I'm going to wish for more to come your way since you're willing! :-)

I have released 19 this week, and I have three large containers with approximately 20 caterpillars in each one. I need to do an official count. I included a snapshot of one I missed and later found out on the Oscar milkweed.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 7:21AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Congrats to all of you!

I haven't seen a monarch all year. :( Still, I've gotten cats late in the year many times before, as a matter of fact, it's my most common time for cats. Milkweed's waiting!


    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 10:01AM
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wifey2mikey(7a Tulsa, OK)

I cleaned and counted tonight... I have 74 caterpillars. I have separated them into 4 large containers - one batch of 19 is about to pupate. Some of them are very large!

On a sad note, I did find two in one container that were dead. No clue why. I thoroughly cleaned the container before putting the remaining ones back in.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 10:04PM
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Tony G(5a)

Mary and Laura, great to hear you are raising and releasing monarchs for the great migration.

I just released my last monarch in Minnesota this week and am giving people raising tips in "Amazing Raise 1"...even if you weren't signed up, fee free to share how many monarchs you are releasing for the migration on the link page below.

Laura, I think the high percentage of cardenolides in the goose plant may kill some of the smaller monarch caterpillars. I'm not sure if a higher percentage of this chemical also helps to protect them more from predators? Can a predator sense the monarchs' poison content without taking a sampling?

Anyhow, most of our monarchs have headed south so be on the lookout for some Minnesota Monarchs! Tony

Here is a link that might be useful: Raising HOPE for the Monarch Migration

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 3:48PM
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rickinla(8B SW AL)

We had a male Monarch visitor for hours today. I checked some plants and found several eggs. I've got 6 chrysalis and another 5 or 6 mature cats in my cage. They're on their way south and at least some have made it down to Mobile.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 9:58PM
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We still have some Monarchs in Madison, Wisconsin. Our milkweed is past, and the BFs seem to be interested only in nectaring and basking, in prep for the long trip South.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 2:44AM
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wifey2mikey(7a Tulsa, OK)

Tony- maybe it was the cardenolides, however; that has been the #1 plant in my garden this year for the Monarchs. More eggs, more cats, than incarnata, tuberosa, curassavica, etc.

Of the 74 remaining, I lost one yesterday - it was trying to pupate and it only made it half way through the process and just looks like a mess. The rest seem to be doing quite well - many hanging in "J"s, many already formed their chrysalis. I have about 30-35 still eating away.

I also released two more butterflies - 2 males. I'm keeping a spreadsheet of how many I've released each day.


    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 10:49AM
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Tony G(5a)

Hi Laura,

goose plant is a top performer in our garden too...in fact, I found 6 large cats (instar 4-5) on it this season. I RARELY find cats that big in the garden. They were all healthy too.

Every once in a while, I find small caterpillars that are dried up on it. My theory is that the cardenolide levels might be too much for some of them since it has the highest % of all milkweeds...just a theory though.

I agree that the positive attributes of this plant far outweigh the bad.

Sounds like you are having a fantastic late season with the monarchs, congrats! Tony

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 2:25PM
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rickinla(8B SW AL)

We released 4 Monarchs plus 1 Pipevine Swallowtall in south Alabama today. There are a few more cats and several eggs still to collect. I thought this photo was neat, 4 stages of the Monarch.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 10:11PM
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Awesome progression photo. Looks like something in a book:)

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 2:34PM
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