Today, I went out with my sister/friend and found a lot! She took 10 home after I taught her how to bleach them.
The four sick ones I put in a huge cage that I got a garage sale last year. Â I put some milkweed in there for them to enjoy.
One escaped. Â Two of them mated. She laid 23 eggs just today! I am hoping for more.
Until the week before camp, we could not find any Monarchs at all. We saw a few flying, but no caterpillars or eggs. Just before camp I had 5Â Monarch caterpillars. When I got back I found 48 more!
Today I had three of my Monarchs emerged! All three of them are girls.
Right now I have
- 3 Butterflies
- 8Â chrysalises
- 50 Monarch caterpillars, all sizes and
- 20Â eggs
I hope to raise overÂ 100Â Monarchs this year!!!Â P.S. Â Today I found 9 Eastern Black Swallowtail eggs and 5Â Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillars that are really little. Â I hope we caught them before parasitic wasps did!
Yesterday while I was playing outside in the snow, I tripped on this butterfly.Â I ran inside and looked him up. He is a Winter Coconut butterfly. Three eggs are laid on a coconut flower. Â The baby caterpillars then eat the inside of the immature coconut. They stay in groups of 3 caterpillars.Â Once they are ready to emerge as butterflies they come out of one end of the coconut before the coconut gets to hard. Then they cover the holes with a mixture of saliva and webbing and the coconut shells grows over it forming three “eyes”.Â The butterflies are really cool.
I have raised over 100 butterflies this year!
I was able to release 88 Monarchs! Most of the rest I have kept in my butterfly hospital.
I have learned a few new things. I had to rescue one who’s chrysalis was stuck on her abdomen (it fell off the next day).
I got my first pair of Monarchs to mate. I collected the eggs and raised two generations.
I learned how to pin the dead ones. That way I can use them to share with classes I teach.
I kept better records. For the record I have
- if the egg was bleached
- when the butterfly emerged
- the butterflies name–mostly Bob this year–
- if it was a boy or girl
- if it had OE or not
- and where I released the butterfly.
I hopefully will have 6 more monarchs. I could probably raise them for another month, but we hope to go on vacation soon, and I won’t be able to take care of them. I hope to find more when we got home. Wouldn’t it be so much fun to raise 200 in a year?
You can tell on Monarchs if it is a boy or a girl while in it’s chrysalis.Â You can tell on an Eastern Black Swallowtails too, but the chrysalis looks different and I don’t have pictures of that yet.
On the back side of the chrysalis, there is an indented line between the black dots.Â If you look a little further down there are stripes underneath.Â If you look really close–you have to have good eyes– there is a line by the stripes. If you see the line and it does not touch the stripes, it is a girl. It is much harder to to see the line touching for the boys, it looks like there is nothing there, unless they emerged and you have a microscope.
Right now I am raising a lot of Monarchs and one Eastern Black Swallowtail.Â Twenty Eight of them are very easy-they are chrysalises.Â The rest are eating a lot and I have to clean their cages at least twice, but sometimes three times a day.