helenh(z6 SW MO)September 25, 2013

These flowers had lots of little butterflies. The bird poop was on rue and notice the 'pretty' aphids on the milkweed. This is the first day I have seen monarchs. There were four.

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I think we have just seen two or three Monarchs the whole season. I still haven't figured out why. I have a friend who lives south and her place is surrounded with farmland where they spray all kinds of stuff and she still have lots of various butterflies.

I miss seeing them.

Aphids this time of year??? That surprises me.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 9:21AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

I haven't seen any monarchs all year. These four are back on that annual milkweed this morning. There are usually caterpillars on my pink wildish milkweed. When they migrated before I used to see them earlier than this. I have seen a total of five this year - my four which appeared yesterday and one crossing a highway. All my milkweeds get those brilliant aphids. I still have lots of bugs of all kinds.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 12:13PM
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I've been seeing a few Monarchs. They fly pretty low and sometimes I see them at stoplights even in town. I hit one with my car this week and felt terrible. I swear I saw it fly up off of the front of my car when I stopped at the next light. It kept going so I guess it was ok.
I didn't plant any annual milkweed this year and the only zinnias I had were a couple that volunteered. I had such a big patch of them last year. I really thought I would get more volunteers than that. I'm sure I would be seeing more Swallowtails and Monarchs if I had planted zinnias. I need to be sure to do that next year.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 12:41PM
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joeinmo 6b-7a

Pesticides are killing them, just like the bees and even moths.

Hot dry conditions last year hurt them too, plant lots of milkweed and other flowers they feed on to help them out.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 7:50PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

I listened to a podcast recently. On it they said this time of year the monarchs need flowers for nectar. I was glad those milkweeds happened to be blooming to provide nectar. The pink milkweeds are through blooming in my yard. They usually are eaten up by caterpillars but I haven't seen any.

I have had lot of caterpillars on my rue and fennel and parsley but those are the black butterflies. I happen to have two stuck to the top of my window and don't know what to do about them. I had them in a vase of rue on my windowsill and while I was gone they stuck themselves to the top of my window. They are now in the chrysalis stage and I hope it doesn't take them all winter to come out of it.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 9:22PM
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Are they on your windowsill INSIDE your house Helen? lol
You're going to need a butterfly net in the spring.
I suppose you could carefully cut them loose and put them in a container maybe.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 6:57AM
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This is the Gulf Fritillary on the Maypop.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 7:23AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Passion flower vine came up from some mulch at my friend's house. I pulled and pulled it and considered it invasive. I didn't know it was a host plant for butterflies. Thanks for posting your picture. I might have squashed those not knowing what they were.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 11:07AM
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joeinmo 6b-7a

Tat fritillary is rare - good job

Seen probably 20 Monarchs today

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 10:41PM
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Maypop IS invasive, that's for sure. It has a little harder time here, since we're on limestone, but it does pop up here and there, where I don't expect -- or want -- it. Roots go to China so no point in trying to dig it up. I break those off whenever I see them, and pick up all the pods that fall to the ground in the fall. The insides of the pods are edible but too fussy to eat as far as I'm concerned.

I grow a lot of invasive things here, including Pokeweed, Mulberry trees. I like to have things for the birds. Most of my neighbors have at least one Mulberry tree. They have Redbud and Cottonwood trees, too, and those things come up all over the place.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 7:35AM
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I have maypop too. I find Variegated Fritillary cats on it pretty often but it's much more unusual to find a Gulf Frit. Gulf Frit butterflies only venture this far north some years depending on the weather. The underneath side of their wings is silvery and very pretty if the sun hits them just right. They look like they're lit up. It's worth putting up with the vines I think.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 7:10AM
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I had them every year on the Maypop at the house in town before we moved here. Maybe they are something else, I was just told that's what they were and trusted that the person who told me that knew what they were talking about.

I found one dead on the ground and its picture is attached. I have another picture showing the silvery side but I can't attach it here, I'll put up a post after this one with it.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 9:19AM
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Here's the silvery side. Sorry these pictures are a little dark. So does anyone know, if this is not a Gulf Frit, what it is?

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 9:21AM
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joeinmo 6b-7a

Absolutely is, very rare indeed.

Endangered species

Here is a link that might be useful: Fritterly link

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 11:55PM
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joeinmo 6b-7a

Correction, they are a threatened species in Missouri, fairly rare here anyway as SW Missouri is the farthest north of its range, although they are seen in other parts of the state every so often.

So keep them maypops alive and help the Gulf Frits out.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 12:11AM
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Thanks Joe for the ID.

Maybe I am far enough west that they are not as rare here in NE Oklahoma.

I was watching Tulsa news a couple weeks ago and they had a piece about butterfly gardens in Tulsa. Seems they get the Gulf Frits and some other kinds shipped in. They refrigerate them and fold them up in tissue paper before they box them up for shipment. They should just plant Maypop, they're in a warmer zone than I am, they shouldn't have any trouble getting them naturally. I have them all over my yard. I have seen the Monarch cats this year on my milkweed but haven't seen the butterflies.

It was weird how the Frit cats were all over one plant but not on one I had on the garden fence at all. Now that that generation has gone and the maypop vine at the corner of the house is completely defoliated, I see there are now a few cats on the vine on the garden fence. I hope they have time to mature before we get a frost.

I have a neighbor, across the road and about 100 yards away, who sprays insecticide on his yard. His wife doesn't like to go out in the yard and get bitten by the chiggers. Wouldn't it just be easier and better for everybody if she wore cowboy boots or something?? I've mentioned to him about how that stuff poisons the bees and other good things but I don't know if it helped. He's a good guy otherwise and twisting people's arms is counter-productive. I grew Crimson Clover last spring and it drew a lot of honey bees, bumblebees and hummingbirds. My neighbor's wife came over and asked me if I was going to mow it and I said, yeah, when it's done blooming. ( ....And not a minute sooner...) Then Hubs piped up and said, "We're gonna bale it!" Heh.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 6:46AM
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