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American Ladies and Others

Posted by misssherry Z8/9SE MS (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 10, 14 at 19:48

The weather has been beautiful for the past several days, so I've been working in the garden and on the property as much as my old body will allow. While I was out in the garden, I saw an American lady - she fluttered over some cudweed the way butterflies do when they're laying an egg. I've been seeing what I thought were ALs for several weeks, but never got close enough to positively ID them until today. I took this time to check out cudweed growing all around here and found three caterpillars, two real small ones and one in a late instar, should be pupating soon. I brought these in to finish raising myself. I didn't get a picture of the American lady, speaking of which, I had to return my new camera. It was ONLY for WiFi, and I didn't see that when I ordered it. We don't have WiFi out here in the country, so I'll have to check for that on any camera I may buy in the future.

American ladies reminded me that I wanted to plant something for them in the raised bed with the new pipevines or one of the other available spots. I've always wanted to grow pearly everlasting/Anaphalis margaritacea, but have never found a source for the plants. But today I did, so I'll see how they do. They're supposed to be evergreen? If anybody has ever grown this plant and has any tips on how it likes to grow, please let me know.

I'm still releasing pipevine swallowtails, and everywhere I go on the property I see them - it's wonderful! More eggs are hatching and more are being laid. I saw a red admiral on the gravel road today, but the false nettles are so small, I don't know if it'd lay eggs on them, even if it was a female. The cold winter and cool spring has apparently delayed their development, but then the weather had made everything late. In addition to the ones I mentioned, I've been seeing a few palamedes swallowtails, a few tiger swallowtails, a pearl crescent here and there, a red-banded hairstreak, a few cloudless sulphurs, little yellows and sleepy oranges, and jillions of Carolina satyrs. And I have a LOT of hummingbirds, plus I'm seeing and hearing the avian spring arrivals, like flycatchers, vireos, hooded warblers, indigo buntings, and the like.

I love spring!!

Sherry


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: American Ladies and Others

I planted some Pussytoes (Antennaria plantaginifolia) for the American Ladies. I also have an annual Pearly Everlasting that keeps seeding itself around.

I can't wait for our butterfly season to start. I have only seen cabbage whites and some angle wings so far this year.

Sherry, thanks for sharing your sightings. I will be 60 this year. I am definitely slowing down, but time is speeding up.

Here is a link that might be useful: Antennaria plantaginifolia


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RE: American Ladies and Others

No WIFI? Your cable router doesn't have it? For us it just comes along with the fixed cable connection. The router the cable company provides has WIFI for the house included. All our cell phones are connected to the house WIFI, as are other devices.


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RE: American Ladies and Others

I'm so anxious I can barely stand it - waiting to see some activity in my yard. I don't have a lot of early bloomers - something I definitely need to change.

I did see my first Red Admiral - nectaring on a red bud tree in my front yard. I've seen tons of little yellow butterflies along the sides of the roads when I'm out and about - sulfurs of some sort I'm sure.


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RE: American Ladies and Others

I'm starting to see a few more butterflies, anglewings, white, sulphurs, hairstreaks, silver spotted skippers. Another Black Swallowtail emerged yesterday from a chrysalis that was hanging on a tree stump. We had lots of BSTs last year. The fennel is growing, as well as the Rue, which has really filled out. I noticed seedlings of Partridge Pea coming up yesterday, too.

MissSherry, my False Nettle has not shown any signs of growth yet either, I am patiently (not) waiting..... I haven't seen any Red Admirals yet, though. I usually see lots of them when the hollies start blooming. They love to nectar on them.

I have a volunteer Pussytoes that showed up in the garden this year, but have also got some Malva zebrinas as well. Maybe I will get some Painted and/or American Ladies????

Susan


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RE: American Ladies and Others

Susan, it sounds like you have some activity in Oklahoma. My false nettles have popped up, just much smaller/shorter than normal!

It's good to hear from you, Laura! Here's hoping that your activity picks up!

Tom, cable isn't available here in the country. We get our TV from Direct TV and my computer connection comes from Hughes.net. We have two small satellite dishes on the edge of the property, near an open field. That's the only place close to the house where they could put the dishes that was open enough to receive satellite signals for TV and computer/e-mail services. There may be some unknown-to-me way to use WiFi through satellite providers, but I'd prefer to stick to the familiar USB cable. There are several other cameras I'm interested in, but they're expensive. I think I should wait a month or so before I order one of them, since I've spent so much money lately.

Runmede, pussytoes are very cute, and undoubtedly the ALs would use them, but every type I've ever seen are real short. I wanted something with more height, so the caterpillars would have more leaf to feed on without taking up so much garden space. Even though my garden is big, space is still at a premium, because there are so many plants that I want to keep from years previous, plus new plants I want to plant each year. This year is no exception. I'm now planning where to plant everything for this year - I thought I knew where I wanted to plant everything, but I changed my mind!
If you're 60, you've passed the age where I started to really lose something. I'm still healthy at 65, but I don't move like I used to, and I ache big time in the morning after working outside. I wish I had my youthful energy and speed, but, hey, it's better than the alternative! :)

Sherry

P.S. I looked up information about Anaphalis margaritacea/pearly everlasting, and it's native everywhere in the country except the Southeast, where I live. So the chances of its survival here are slim, but it's worth a try. I've already changed my mind about where to best plant it! :)

This post was edited by misssherry on Fri, Apr 11, 14 at 10:38


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RE: American Ladies and Others

Awesome news on the recent sightings of so many wonderful butterflies! (All I'm seeing are rabbits.)
I have noticed the ALs usually go for my Everlasting when it's only a few inches high. Otherwise, their larvae are rife on Pussytoes. I think they like to be low. Also, earlier broods are more successful as there are yet few to no wasps, which come out in the warmer months.


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RE: American Ladies and Others

I planted Eryngium (Sea Holly) last year. I've seen American Ladies use it. I noted that it made it through the winter. Noted that it is deer resistant, but while doing more research I noted that it can be invasive. The website below has a good list of host plants for American Ladies.

Here is a link that might be useful: American Lady Hostplant List


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RE: American Ladies and Others

Hmmmm.......that's an interesting website, but they've combined host plants for American ladies and painted ladies, and the butterfly in the picture is a painted lady.

If these pearly everlastings don't last, I'll probably just transplant some purple cudweed - that's what they use here - or order some pussy toes for the garden.

Sherry


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RE: American Ladies and Others

I often use the "Larval Hostplant List for Butterflies of the Washington, DC Area" to research host plants. There are more listed on that website for APLs. Just do a ctrl F, a search box will come up in the upper right corner. My son taught me this trick. It is the easiest way to search. If you know most of the species that a butterfly uses, then you can keep an eye out for caterpillars.

Many host plants are regional. They may use them in one area and not in another. This list does cover a wide area--more than the DC area.

Here is a link that might be useful: Larval Hostplant List for Butterflies of the Washington, DC Area


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Re: American Ladies and Others

One of the best sites for butterfly host plants in the South is the Dallas County Lepidoptera Society website. Often, what is used up North and further East, does not include the host plants used by butterflies in the South. Eryngium, which is in the Apiaceae family, is a LHP for Black Swallowtails. I didn't know it served as an LHP for American Ladies.

I'm attaching a link to the Dallas County Lep Society.

Susan

Here is a link that might be useful: Dallas County Lepidopterist Society


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RE: American Ladies and Others

That is indeed a good web site, Susan!

I found a lot more American lady caterpillars, and I brought them in to raise myself. I also saw a beautiful, new looking red admiral, so, if it was a female, which I think it was, based on size, she may lay some eggs on the small false nettles.

Sherry


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RE: American Ladies and Others

Good for you, Sherry :) good luck raising your cats. Hope you get some Red Admirals too.
I am just a couple of weeks out from seeing my first ELF.
We're due a cold snap this week, but hopefully it won't last too long and growth will resume. Everlasting, Pussytoes and Nettles are all pretty cold tolerant.

John


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RE: American Ladies and Others

Thanks, John! It's supposed to rain here tomorrow, then turn cold and get down in the 40's for one night. That won't kill anything, but it sure is cold for this late in the year.

I really hope you get some ELFs soon - then the fun will begin!

By the way, I had about ?6 spicebush swallowtail chrysalides from last fall, and one (a male) emerged about a month ago. Then nothing. Finally, late yesterday afternoon, a female emerged, and I released her this morning. Not long after, another one emerged, this one a male - YAY! Maybe I'll be seeing some spicebush eggs pretty soon. There are some more chrysalides yet to emerge to add to my chances.

Sherry


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RE: American Ladies and Others

YAY!! Congrats on all the beautiful Swallowtails!
Can't wait to see my first Swallowtail either, most likely a BST...
I have plenty of Fennel and some Rue started for this season, so far 24 of each. And that doesn't include my day job ;). The Residents all love the wispy, fragrant Fennel foliage and the butterflies it brings. I'm trying the Rue on the outside chance of a GST; I have seen one here before.

John


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RE: American Ladies and Others

Black swallowtails just LOVE fennel and dill, John, but they'll eat rue, even lay eggs on it, when they can't find anything better. And giant swallowtails seem to like it nearly as well as Ptelea trifoliata/hops tree/wafer ash. I've found black and giant swallowtail eggs on rue at the same time, so it's certainly one of the better host plants. My plants in the shade have done so well, I've taken cuttings to plant out in other shady places.

Since I can't work outside on this rainy day, I'm cooking (there's a pecan pie in the oven and I'll be putting a roast in the oven after I take out the pie) but I have to do SOMETHING lep related, so I made a picture of one of the American lady caterpillars. I always thought they were among the prettiest cats -

 photo 2014ALCat_zpsba89aa71.jpg

Sherry


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RE: American Ladies and Others

Beautiful Cat :-) 5th instar, no doubt. I patiently await...
So far, my hosts are stunted by both the cold weather and bunnies. I just can't catch a break in my garden.
Good to know BSTs like Rue as well (somewhere I read that). Here's to hoping I can make it work here in South WI.
My experience with Fennel is that when it's around, everything else gets ignored, including Parsley and Dill!!
They especially like the Bronze, but the Florence is bigger and a lot stronger a plant than the Bronze.

John


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RE: American Ladies and Others

John, the caterpillar in the picture pupated yesterday, so it's my first chrysalis of the the 2014 season. There's another big one that will probably pupate today or tomorrow.

Does fennel live through the summer in Wisconsin? It doesn't here, which is why I've quit planting it. I've got the wild mock bishop's weed coming up in my garden, plus rue.

I saw a monarch yesterday, the first one I've seen since year before last! I sure wish it'd stick around if it was a female, because I've got MW coming today or tomorrow. If I'd known I'd be seeing one, I'd have had it planted by now.

Sherry

This post was edited by misssherry on Thu, Apr 17, 14 at 17:14


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RE: American Ladies and Others

I've been following the sightings list and map of Journey North for Monarchs. This year's map is filling in nicely compared to last year. http://www.learner.org/jnorth/maps/monarch_spring2014.html

You can click on the colored dots on the map for the sighting or go to the sightings website and see postings there. If you open the sighting you can email the poster. This may be a good way for people to network. For example, those that have eggs and need milkweed. There's a map/sightings list for milkweed, too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Journey North Sightings


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RE: American Ladies and Others

I am heartened by the sightings and news of increased #s of Monarchs :-)
Sherry, Fennel does great up here in South Wisconsin, but I have to plant it up high to keep the riff raff away (bunnies). I hope ypour Monarch sticks around and lays some eggs :) I'm hoping I'll get some too this Summer too.

John


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RE: American Ladies and Others

The caterpillar in the picture emerged today as a beautiful butterfly, but I couldn't release him/her, because it's been raining or cloudy and about to rain all day. I'll release it tomorrow.

This is the first butterfly I've released this year that came from this year's eggs!

Sherry


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RE: American Ladies and Others

YAY!!! I feel so behind the rest of the nation :(
We've been having wet soggy weather all week but expect nice sunshine by this weekend. By then, my host plants should be able to support some cats, with all this rain we've been having.
We're supposed to have highs in the 60's and lows in the 40's next week, and this is perfect for Ladies and other butterflies.
I have my fingers crossed, as all I've seen so far this season are two Cabbage Whites.
At any rate, rain is a lot better than snow and subfreezing temps. It is keeping me from my day job at The Gardens, though...

John


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RE: American Ladies and Others

Yes, the sun's out down here this morning, too, John, so I'll be back working outside today.

Forties at night sounds like winter to me!

Sherry


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RE: American Ladies and Others

'Bout par for the course up here...

John


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