monarch cats:-)

hawaiiponder34September 22, 2013

These are the next batch of monarch cats I am raising indoors.the largest so far, around 31.hope they all make it until they become an adult butterflies.

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Leafhead

Awesome!! Keep'em comin'. We need all the help we can get.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 6:11PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Those of us in the cooler parts of North America are insanely jealous of all the cats you have. I wonder if the Monarchs in Hawaii could figure out the whole migration thing if they were transported to the mainland. It seems like something someone could set up as a research project with banding, etc. It's an exciting option for re-populating the mainland if we can re-establish the milkweed and nectar plants along the traditional migration paths to the north and east. Thanks for doing what you can to keep them going where you are.

Martha

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 7:46PM
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sambac(z10fl)

What are you feeding them?

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 8:11PM
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melanie_in_allen(8)

I'm interested in what they are eating as well. Is that some type of milkweed? If so it looks very different then what we have in texas.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 9:44PM
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coolbutterfly(5A)

in Hawaii, Calotropis species are the most common...gigantea and procera

Those can be grown in warmer regions like FL & TX. I'm trying to overwinter some in Minnesota

Tony

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 11:56PM
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hawaiiponder34

This is calotropis gigantea:-), they like to sip its nectar too;-)

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 1:24AM
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hawaiiponder34

Would be cool if we can load them up in the plane and send them out in the mainland, yes? I dunno. Our monarchs here doesnt leave the islands.with the weather from 80s to 90s all year long who wants to leave? But yes, I have monarch momma hovering in my yard almost everyday since I planted the host plants.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 3:29AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I don't blame you for wanting to hang on to your Monarchs. I know how precious our Monarchs are to us. You just keep encouraging and supporting your populations, and we'll work on re-establishing adequate habitat. We'll need to grow both milkweed species and a diverse collection of nectar plants so there is always something valuable blooming. I think the Monarch Way Stations are great ideas, though it would be fun to see it on an even larger scale. We need to speak to businesses with extensive landscaping and convince them to include milkweed and nectar species AND avoid the pesticides.

Martha

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 7:39AM
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hawaiiponder34

Martha, they are so beautiful !! I dunno why I haven't thought raising them a long time ago. honestly they glide beautifully, and they look so majestic. the fun part of it is releasing them in the wild with my 3 year old boy, such a great experience:-). one of these days, I will have a " Monarch butterfly release party". surprisingly not too many people is aware of them, and how wonderful creature they are.every week I have batches of eggs, larvae, cats, to babysit, what a way to take my mind of stress from work. I tell you it is so rewarding !! and I thank you all experts in this website for tons of information :D

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 3:52PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Hawaiiponder,
It's great that you can share this with your son. It will help him to grow up with an admiration and respect for nature, and that is something the two of you can share for life.

Martha

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 6:12PM
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Leafhead

Amen to that:) Hopefully he'll teach his children the same lessons:)

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 8:34AM
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tracey_nj6(6)

Beautiful pic, and I'm extremely jealous. I'm in NJ, and had only seen two, yes TWO, monarchs this entire season. And NO caterpillars. Had quite a few black swallowtails, but most ended up with parasites. It's been one of the most depressing seasons yet. Your pic did cheer me up though.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 10:38AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Tracey,
I'm so sorry for your depressing season. I was very lucky to see one Monarch that laid eggs on my common milkweed. So, I got to raise one batch of cats to release. After that, I think I just saw my babies visiting my liatris before, hopefully, they headed south. I hope there has been more activity further south to boost the numbers above what we saw last winter in Mexico. I really don't want this to have been the last year I raise Monarchs, and I want you to have a chance to raise them again.

Martha

    Bookmark   October 4, 2013 at 7:59AM
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Leafhead

Everything's late up here in South WI; I've seen butterflies every day. I just hope it gets cold before all the BSTs start eclosing. That would be a disaster.
I have seen a lingering Monarch-in precarious proximity to a 4" Praying Mantis- and a few Ladies, and of course, Cabbage Whites.
I've also seen a rise in Sulfurs in the last month or so...
There has been a Buckeye or two as well.
It's been a weird year. I read posts from people with abundance and then there are reports of more somber numbers.
Seems like there are bottlenecks in the Monarch migration pattern that need to be fixed.
Once the normal and natural migration route is restored, hopefully their numbers will rebound again.
I've seen it happen with the Bald Eagle and there has been a great deal of success so far with the Whooping Crane.
Both birds were on the very brink. I hold out hope that we as a nation wide garden community can make a difference by involving neighbors, friends, family and especially children in our effort and hard work in preserving one of Nature's wonders.
I think together we can save the Monarch.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2013 at 4:06PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Leafhead, you are an inspiration. Thank-you for those encouraging words.

Martha

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 8:59AM
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Leafhead

Thanx, and keep up the amazing work you do.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 9:59AM
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hawaiiponder34

hey guys and dolls!! haven't posted anything lately. so busy with work. yes, I still see an ELF everyday in my yard.. my crownflower plants are growing, and barely keeping up with larvae,& caterpillars..boy, these monarch cats are voracious eaters!! just planted some asclepcias and butterfly bush, pentas, sunflowers, etc.and hoping they will grow so I can have a beautiful butterfly garden:-). my co workers are getting interested on how these butterfly raising is all about. cant wait for show and tell !!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 7:53PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Good work, Hawaiiponder! Get those fellow workers hooked!

Martha

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 10:32PM
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melanie_in_allen(8)

I've got about 25 monarch adults near dallas texas on their way to Mexico now. They are hanging on the Greg's mist flower and tropical milkweed in my backyard. I've heard this season is going to be tough but so glad to see them coming through now.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 10:33PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Melanie,
Your nectar flowers will help them make it to their goal. Thanks for the report. Here in Michigan a sighting was rare all summer, so it's good to hear they are coming through in at least some numbers.

Martha

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 6:48AM
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hawaiiponder34

Cats, and more chysalises!!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 6:32AM
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hawaiiponder34

Shy cats:-)

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 6:35AM
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hawaiiponder34

This cat was munching on white crown flower flower bud.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 6:38AM
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hawaiiponder34

This cat was munching on white crown flower flower bud.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 6:40AM
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Monarch-Ma-so.cal(10 Southern CA.)

Those are beautiful cats! And the plant is too. I'm bringing the eggs and cats in now and cleaning the milkweed in very diluted bleach water, rinsing well, to try to control OE. Last early winter we had a warm spell, so late season eggs were laid, but all the butterflies had OE.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 1:47AM
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hawaiiponder34

wow...sorry about the OE infestations. hope I don't get that. I had some monarchs which didn't make it while still on chrysalis stage. they just turn half black, half green, and didn't eclose at all, so I figure they were dead. ( around 4 ). I had cats that died too during diff. instars stages. maybe because I fed them store bought calotropis gigantea plants. but now I grow my own crownflowers through cuttings only. I had released at least 150 plus monarch butterflies since July. people asked me why I do that? I just smile and tell them " I don't know". but its very addicting, and its like a part of my routine day in, day out. I also raised Chinese swallowtails, cabbage-white, gulf frits ( they come and go), and hoping to get a chance to see 2 .native Hawaiian butterflies: the Vanessa tameamea, and Hawaiian blue.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 4:44AM
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Leafhead

Good luck seeing those two natives.
Is V. tameamea Hawaiian Lady? What is her host(s)?

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 2:26PM
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hawaiiponder34

I think its called " koa" tree, or "acacia" tree. Im looking, I am looking but I seem to not been able to see one yet. I definitely post it here when I see one:-).so exciting!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 6:31AM
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linda_tx8(8)

Beautiful! When the sun came out after the rains, there were quite a few flying by the dam area last Friday. Now, there are just very few. We're in the middle of a big snout butterfly influx lately and there's just tons of them. In certain areas where the evergreen sumac and kidneywood plants are blooming prolifically, there's butterflies all over them, with more than 95% being snouts. It fun to drive by those places and see hundreds of butterflies flitting around on a single plant and pass many many such plants. But I wish it was hundreds of Monarchs! I've got one Monarch chrysalis now, the only one this year for me.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 2:39PM
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Leafhead

Sad, and scary too.
There should be flocks of Monarchs in Texas now :(

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 2:53PM
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linda_tx8(8)

Well, at least I've seen more Monarchs this fall than I saw last spring. Maybe there's hope!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 10:08PM
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Leafhead

There's always hope, as long as people keep planting:)

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 12:18PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I've been collecting seed for Monarch Watch, but heard from them that they have all they need from Michigan. If anyone needs seed for Asclepias syriaca, I could probably cover several acres. Apparently A. Syriaca has been the single most important species of milkweed, because it is able to survive being plowed up and disturbed by development. It's spread by rhizomes allows it to return. But, it does not compete well with other perennials as they get established. I also heard that, despite all the gardens and roadsides where milkweed grows, until recently 95% of the milkweed used by Monarchs in the last decade was growing in amongst crops. So, the GMO crops and use of Roundup have decimated the populations of milkweed throughout the Midwest. The percentage of crops that are Round Up resistant increased from something like 25% to 85% or more in the past 10 years. We need to make sweeping changes to reverse the decline quickly.

Martha

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 8:02AM
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linda_tx8(8)

Yeah, I wonder what genius decided that what this country really needs is the ability to dump a whole lot more chemical herbicide on the land. Even the crops that are supposed to be non-GMO sometimes end up with GMO plants coming up...somehow! Then there are pesticides...more spraying because of West Nile, more dangerous pesticides being used also, as the insects grow more resistant to the old kinds of pesticides.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 9:15PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

That genius would have a name that starts with an M and ends with onsanto. They've put all the subsistence Mexican farmers out of business by contaminating their family farm corn with GMO pollen and then suing them for trying to replant seed saved from their own crops, since it now contains the GMO genes which M..... owns and insists they pay for. I think we should sue them for decimating the Monarch population. Wish I could afford a really powerful lawyer. Or 20.

Martha

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 7:29AM
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hawaiiponder34

Monarch's kept coming back...I wish I could send them all to you guys..

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 8:23AM
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Monarch-Ma-so.cal(10 Southern CA.)

You're right about the "M" monster. SAD for all living creatures. I read that where genetically engineered seed was stopped, after awhile the honeybee population returned to normal. And scientists are "so stumped" over what is causing the decline in the bee population...hmmm. Also I think GE crops are another contributor to the Monarch's plight. Pollen that blows off of GE crops onto milkweed kills the larvae and other creatures. Round-up also kills lizards, salamanders, earthworms, etc.
The current administration when first taking office, pushed through an unprecedented amount of approvals for new GE crops.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 11:44PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Hawaiiponder,
It is truly heartwarming to see your ongoing successes with all those Monarchs. I'm almost tempted to have you airship some eggs to me next summer, but I don't know whether your Monarchs have the genetic background programmed in for the NorthAmerican migration. I'm glad you haven't run into much disease. I wonder how diverse the population is as far as maintaining a robust population in a relatively small area. Do you know are Monarchs native to the Hawaiian islands! or were they introduced by travelers? If they were introduced, chances are better they might be able to help us restore the mainland population once we've re-established the milkweed and other pollen producing plants throughout the Midwest. I think I'll write to Monarch Watch re this. Keep up the fantastic job.

Martha

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 7:23AM
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Leafhead

That's a pretty good point, Martha. If, God forbid, either population hits a genetic bottleneck, they can help each other out. And don't forget South Florida as a possible gene pool as well...
My guess, though, is that if we act Now in restoring native milkweed and essential nectar sources to the Monarchs' migration route will have a big enough impact on populations so far. Mixing populations and introducing new pops is always risky and should be done as a last resort.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 12:41PM
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hawaiiponder34

Hi Docmom and Everybody !! sorry for the late reply, but me and my family is currently on vacation here in the mainland:-) we just came from NYC, I get to see the yellowing of the leaves,( in Hawaii, we have trees either too green or brown), in central park, but didn't see any butterfly. its so cold that it wasn't funny anymore ( around 35-45), but I am happy to tell you guys that I was able to see different kinds of butterflies via exhibit on the American History Museum in NYC...I was in tears!!! I was so happy to see Pipervines, black swallowtails, Queens, Blue Morpho, Owl butterfly, tiger swallowtail, atlas atticus, etc..of coarse, it was on captivity, but they explained to me that all those butterfly they exhibited came all the down from south America and florida. I mean wow, that's a lot of butterfly imports! Docmom, I have no clue about if the Monarchs in Hawaii have different genetic what have yous, for the last 4 months of my experience caring for them, I have never encountered OE, except if I feed them store bought host plants..and sometimes they die of natural cause, most of the time, my cats made it to adulthood 99.9%, in my house, we have what we call a " Letting Go Friday", because most of my butterflies emerges on Thursday, ( 5-10 butterflies, but everyday, 1-3 ecloses and me and my 3 year old son let them go on Friday)..its a tough job, a weird hubby for some, but I am going to continue to help them out to flourish in my neighborhood after my vacation. I know some old folks told me that back in the 60s and 70s Monarch butterflies in Hawaii flew all over the islands in clusters, but now you will be lucky if you see one in a day, they are introduced species btw, and we only have 2 native species of butterfly, but the 16-17 including the monarchs were introduced. I think if you guys planted a lot of milkweeds, I am sure these guys will come back. currently, we are in Tampa Florida for family gathering, I am amazed how similar the current weather to Hawaii, and also noticed a few kinds of little butterfly in the open grasslands in which I can ask you guys to identify.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 8:07PM
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