Need help with Monarch Caterpillars

brighty(9 CA)September 4, 2009

I am so excited! I'm a newbee to butterflies. I just found about 10 monarch caterpillars hanging around on a milkweed stalk. The leaves are all gone. I want to take the caterpillars to my first grade class so they can see the metamorphosis process, but I don't know what else to feed them. Does any one have any ideas?

Also, can I release the butterflies at my school or should I bring them back to the neighborhood where there may be more butterfly plants?

Thanks for all your help.


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They will only eat milkweed. Are the green pods still on the plant? I have seen monarch caterpillars eat those too. You might be able to find some on the side of the highway, or other naturalized areas. You can also call nurseries in your area to see if they have any plants for sale - but they have to be pesticide free.

If you do get them to the chrysalis stage, you can release them anywhere. They will find the habitat they need.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2009 at 6:58AM
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Yep, they only eat milkweed.
Here's an excellent web site that walks you through the Monarch raising process. It's simple, yet very informative. Follow the information there to a T and you won't go wrong.

Here is a link that might be useful: Raising Monarchs

    Bookmark   September 5, 2009 at 7:42AM
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brighty(9 CA)

Thank you both for the information. Lindacatherine, I checked the website you recommended and it was very helpful. Thank you. A checked around the yard and found three more milkweed plants. Hopefull that will be enough to get them through. Most of them are over an inch long.

They are currently in an aquarium that is 18" x 12" x 12" high. It doesn't have a lid so I made one out of foil. Do I really need to get a screen or net lid or will they make their chrysalis on the long stems of the milkweed plant?

Thanks, Brighty

    Bookmark   September 5, 2009 at 3:39PM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

You can use a piece of bridal veil netting or sheer fabric and cut a piece larger than your aquarium. Use a piece of elastic cord cut slightly smaller than the perimeter of the aquarium and notted to hold the netting on. The cats will pupate on the fabric.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2009 at 7:20PM
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Yes, bridal veil netting is good, and inexpensive. At the very least, cut up a brown paper grocery bag and make that into a lid. The foil is likely too slick for them to pupate on.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2009 at 9:11PM
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brighty(9 CA)

That sounds like a great economical idea. You are all so helpful. Thank you so much.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2009 at 11:07PM
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lillydulac(Z9 FL)

I adore Monarch cats, they are so sweet. I just raise them on plenty gallon pots of milkweed outside. When they are ready to pupate they will leave the pot. If I catch them in time I lift some of them to a hibiscus tree where I can easily view the chrysalis. Here's a photo I took of one emerging.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 5:38AM
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