Next year we will continue our Milkweed/Monarch project and create a network for sharing milkweed, info and habitats. A recent Monarch seminar taught us how to raise milkweed from seed. We’ll create here a walk-in enclosure in the Milam Wildscape for the project.
To follow up on Lisa’s post yesterday, it turns out that 10% of caterpillars make it to butterflies and 10% of those survive full adulthood. Two of my butterflies were born with wrinkled wings, so I fed them sugar water, took them for outside trips, and after a couple of weeks they passed peacefully. Other options were to euthanize or leave outside. This way they had a good life.
We are watching Gulf Fritillary chrysalises now. They look like leaves to fool predators.
While I was watering and checking milkweed at the Wildscape, I discovered for the first time, Monarch caterpillars.
So many creatures can kill them, and the fowl were roving (it is, after all, a chicken farm). I decided to take them home and raise them in my house. I have done much research on this topic and also took home milkweed stems.
They stayed in a covered container with damp paper towels in a warm bedroom. I have since received an enclosure and vials.
One baby from my house was added to three from the Wildscape.
One night the Wildscape Caterpillars formed J’s . Next morning, only one was alive and shaking. My baby was ok. I saw head parts in the paper towels and was relieved to see they had shed their skin for the last time and were now a green chrysalis. I left about 20 minutes and missed seeing the last one turn!
Baby is still going thru instars. Right before they emerge, I will space them out so they can spread their wings, dry and be released back to the Wildscape. We hope to release hundreds in the future.
Interesting fact: bigger caterpillars will eat babies emerging from eggs.
Wholesalers are offering sales now, so new natives have been acquired for the Milam Wildscape. They include Mexican bush sage, Convent sage, Benny’s acanthus, Mexican flame vine, Dwarf Barbados cherry, and Fragrant mist flower.
Humidity is causing fungus on some plants, but most are thriving. We will have many native plants, seeds and cuttings to give away in the fall.
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