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  • June 24, 2017, 07:11:15 AM

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Author Topic: I have a Monarch caterpillar living in my gardening shed!  (Read 362 times)

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MaryR

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I have a Monarch caterpillar living in my gardening shed!
« on: May 29, 2017, 02:30:12 PM »
Central Arizona here, I've been growing milkweed in our backyard for the Monarchs for a couple of years. I've seen cats on my plants, but the first year they all wandered off and I never knew if any had survived. Google is my friend so I learned that I was doing everything wrong.

The second year, armed with some expanding mesh laundry baskets (butterfly habitats are very nice looking but the laundry baskets work just as well and were about a quarter of the price) and paper towels, I gathered up some cats and fed them leaves. Five not only made cocoons, they hatched!!! Elation happened.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a rather tattered looking Monarch on the milkweed that stayed around long enough for me to carefully creep up and take some pics. (Going by the timing, she was probably one of last year's 4th generation butterflies which would mean that she was around 180 days old.) She was laying eggs! I found 3 of them, took pics and then got a disposable plastic container, cut a hole in the lid, filled it with marbles and water, cut the egg laden leaves off the plant, stuck the stems through the hole and put the whole thing in a laundry basket lined with damp paper towels.  And took pics.

The whole affair is now on a workbench in my gardening shed, windows open to allow the weather in without the extreme wind or sun baking down on them.

After a week of nothing happening, I assumed that the eggs hadn't hatched but I must have been wrong because when I looked through a window at the back of one of the leaves, it was full of holes. 1 of the eggs had hatched and I had a quarter inch long worm. More elation, including pics sent to my mother.

Yesterday, I cut the top off a milkweed plant, washed it well and used a small artist's paintbrush to transfer the now maybe 3/8 of an inch worm to new leaves. I just went out and looked at it and it seems to be thriving.

Hurray for Monarchs, I'm so excited to be part of the Grand Migration in my own small way!

« Last Edit: May 29, 2017, 02:32:09 PM by MaryR »

Mel the Redcap

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Re: I have a Monarch caterpillar living in my gardening shed!
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2017, 04:26:26 PM »
Yay! Monarchs are such cool butterflies  8)
"Set aphasia to stun!"

Marga

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Re: I have a Monarch caterpillar living in my gardening shed!
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2017, 10:54:19 PM »
Monarch butterflies are awesome.
Which reminds me: I need to take care of my new swan plants, make sure they survive winter and grow big and leafy.

Chez Miriam

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Re: I have a Monarch caterpillar living in my gardening shed!
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2017, 07:08:40 AM »
Oh how wonderful, Marga!  Please keep us updated. :)
"All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well."  - Julian of Norwich

MaryR

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Re: I have a Monarch caterpillar living in my gardening shed!
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2017, 11:42:40 PM »
I am now being a total idiot. The cat turned into a chrysalis on Monday. I'm checking it every day, and wishing I could know when it was finally going to emerge so I can give my work hours to someone else.

Mel the Redcap

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Re: I have a Monarch caterpillar living in my gardening shed!
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2017, 07:02:27 PM »
Apparently they take 10-14 days (depending on the local temperature, warm weather speeds things up) and when they're ready to emerge you can see their wings through the chrysalis. So it shouldn't be long now!
"Set aphasia to stun!"

Chez Miriam

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Re: I have a Monarch caterpillar living in my gardening shed!
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2017, 10:21:59 AM »
Bumping the thread to see if your butterfly has emerged, MaryR...
"All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well."  - Julian of Norwich