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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    standish, michigan
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    212

    Default Raising Monarch Butterflys

    Does anyone else raise and release monarchs?

    I collect them from milkweeds when they are little and feed them new milkweeds inside until they turn into crystalise. I have 6 caterpillars and 4 others that have already turned into crystalise.

    Here is the picture of the 4 crystalises attached to the top of the butterfly cage.


    Once they hatch from the crystalises i will let them air out there wings a little bit and take them outside and watch them fly away.

    I could not get a good picture of the caterpillars but i got one off the internet to show what they look like, here it is.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
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    2,551

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    I have raised them before and again this year, I have 2 caterpillar in a jar, waiting for them to make their chrysalis. I was thinking of going out to a milkweed stand tomorrow to get a few more. I monitor them carefully and like you, release them soon after they stretch their wings a bit.
    They are really awesome creatures. We visited the monarch refuge in Mexico a few years back, what an amazing spectacle!
    Sheri

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lewisberry, Pa, usa
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    Can you tell me more about the cage that you keep the caterpillars in? I have a good amount of caterpillars on milkweed plants in my yard.

    Is there a reason, like better odds? that one would catch them and release later?

    I would like to think that leaving them is a good idea, but if they are killed off in high numbers, or if my kids would love doing this, I could see doing it.

    So can you elaborate a bit on what required?

    Here is a picture from just today. I would imagine by the size of this one that it will soon start changing???

    http://s186.photobucket.com/albums/x...ictures140.jpg

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    5,349

    Default

    I've raised them off and on since I was about ten years old. Most recently my method has been to grow colonies of Asclepias or milkweed. The milkweeds can be very attractive plants in their own right, and since they are the only plant the Monarch larvae eat, they often find it and lay their eggs there. It's worked for me from Southern California to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Native Asclepias species seem to work best.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  5. #5
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    Feb 2003
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    lewisberry, Pa, usa
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    Default

    I just spent the last thirty minutes searching sites. I googled "raising monarch butterflies". Fascinating. I'll be building my cage in the morning.

    Thank you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tulare County, CA USA
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    1,380

    Default

    For what it's worth, they seem to like poplar trees. I see them every year in my father's trees and for two years now they've been in the one behind my house. Watching them emerge and fly away was almost as big of a thrill for my kids as peeking into a hive.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
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    2,551

    Default

    BB, I just use gallon jars with mesh over the top. Keep fresh sprigs of milkweed in there for them. I just keep them by my desk, out of the sun where I can keep a close eye on them.

    As for there being an advantage to 'culturing' them, I am not sure from the monarch's viewpoint; they are poisonous to birds but there may be some specific danger to them as well, I don't know. I had a group of 4 disappear overnight a couple days ago. Not sure if they got eaten or just crawled off to somewhere else.
    Risk to them aside, it is definitely a treat for us humans to watch their evolution.
    I have also seen them on poplar trees, many times have seen the chrysalises there.
    Sheri

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Uniontown, Ohio USA
    Posts
    2

    Sad Save the Monarchs!!!

    Hello! I'm not sure you'll receive this, as I've just registered and have been given permission to use the forum. And YOU are the lucky one that I'm compelled to email!!!

    First, a little (helpful?) info on our beloved Monarchs! They hatch in 4-6 days after the egg is placed on the leaf of a milkweed (and there are several types of milkweed!). They are a caterpillar 2-3 weeks; they're in their chrysalis anywhere from 5-15 days, and live as a beautiful butterfly, heading south for the Winter, 1-3 months. As Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us: There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.

    Secondly, I've noticed the little goldfinches picking "my" Monarch caterpillars off the milkweed leaves, hoping to eat them I suppose. But as soon as they get them in their beak (KILLING THEM!), they spit them out (because we all know they don't taste good, eating milkweed leaves!!!). AND, a few years ago, there was a parasitic wasp that would lay its eggs in the Monarch chrysalis, which will kill it and turn the beautiful green chrysalis black. Just a few days ago, I found a black chrysalis attached to the siding of my home.

    So! I have been collecting the Monarch caterpillars of all sizes. I put them in a 12 inch hanging pot (empty, of course!), and removed the hanger part. I place the caterpillars in it with plenty of fresh-daily milkweed leaves, removing the dried, eaten ones. I also placed sticks at angles in it; and finally, put an old basement window screen over the top of the pot so they don't wander off to become a victim!

    I currently have 3 chrysalises; 2 of which are attached to the screen, 1 which is hanging upside down on the screen preparing for its miraculous morph, 1 chrysalis attached to one of the sticks, and 3 caterpillars chowing!

    I apologize if I've been too chatty, Bjorn! You'll have to excuse my enthusiasm for Mother Nature!

    Signing off now!


    Quote Originally Posted by BjornBee View Post
    Can you tell me more about the cage that you keep the caterpillars in? I have a good amount of caterpillars on milkweed plants in my yard.

    Is there a reason, like better odds? that one would catch them and release later?

    I would like to think that leaving them is a good idea, but if they are killed off in high numbers, or if my kids would love doing this, I could see doing it.

    So can you elaborate a bit on what required?

    Here is a picture from just today. I would imagine by the size of this one that it will soon start changing???



    http://s186.photobucket.com/albums/x...ictures140.jpg

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Uniontown, Ohio USA
    Posts
    2

    Default Asclepias!

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Clemens View Post
    I've raised them off and on since I was about ten years old. Most recently my method has been to grow colonies of Asclepias or milkweed. The milkweeds can be very attractive plants in their own right, and since they are the only plant the Monarch larvae eat, they often find it and lay their eggs there. It's worked for me from Southern California to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Native Asclepias species seem to work best.
    Yes! Asclepias! That's the milkweed I find most of them on! I've got the red and the yellow at my back kitchen window in the garden there. I love those milkweeds -- they're so dainty, yet so colorful! And they reseed, just as common milkweed does. So if you collect the seeds as soon as the pods open, you can choose where to plant them. Otherwise, expect them to grow all over the place!! Thank you, Joseph!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    standish, michigan
    Posts
    212

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnK and Sheri View Post
    I have raised them before and again this year, I have 2 caterpillar in a jar, waiting for them to make their chrysalis. I was thinking of going out to a milkweed stand tomorrow to get a few more. I monitor them carefully and like you, release them soon after they stretch their wings a bit.
    They are really awesome creatures. We visited the monarch refuge in Mexico a few years back, what an amazing spectacle!
    Sheri

    I have always wanted to see the butterflys in Mexico, i always see them on videos hanging on pine trees by the billions.

    As for the monarchs having better odds of living, i collect them because my chickens often go through the milkweeds and pick the monarchs and kill them for no reson. So at my house there chances of living are higher in the house away from my chickens.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,551

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    [QUOTE=JordanM;346551]I have always wanted to see the butterflys in Mexico, i always see them on videos hanging on pine trees by the billions.

    Well worth the trip, you wouldn't regret it.
    While vacationing, we rented a car from Puerto Vallarta and took a 4 day trip to see them. It was pretty incredible. There are not just billions on the trees, they are all over the ground too, on the paths up the mountainside where they are. There are so many of them it is difficult not to step on them. There are always some flying down the hill to collect water and then back to the trees, but a couple of times a day they take to the air en masse and the air is full of them. We were there over Christmas time and entire Mexican families were taking this trip, somewhat like a pilgrimage. We saw youngsters helping their great grandparents up the steep steps of the mountain, and there is a reverent attitude, like they are visiting a sacred spot. Amazing.
    Sheri

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,033

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    I probably raised a few hundred as a kid. We just did it in mason jars with screen covers. Add fresh milkweed leaves until they chrysalize. We got so we could fisure the hatch day and even hour pretty closely. If you put your ear to the jar you can hear them munching... it's pretty cool and a GREAT way to involve kids.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lewisberry, Pa, usa
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    Here are the kids with their first monarch butterfly project. I collected four this morning. I did notice a lot of smaller caterpillars, smaller than 1/2 inch. One was about 1-1/2 inches. but many were on the small size. So I guess its just is early for these parts.

    http://s186.photobucket.com/albums/x...ictures142.jpg

  14. #14
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    Jun 2008
    Location
    standish, michigan
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    Sounds like you had a great trip.

    Tell us when they turn into crysalize, Bjorn.

    I went out just at 7:00 just when the sun was going down and it seemed like it was prime monarch picking time. I got 2 about 3/4 inch 3 about 1/2 ich and i got 3 about a milimeter long, which is pretty hard to see but they grow up just as fast as the other ones and they are all the same.
    So now i have 18 caterpillars that are going to turn into butterflys.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Devils Lake, North Dakota
    Posts
    9,123

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    My wife has captured and raised Monarchs for many
    years. It was a highlight for our kids and now the
    grandkids.

    Monarchs raise several generations each summer, only
    the last generation does not mate in order to save the
    energy required to migrate to the south.

    Anyone else have the privilege to see them on their
    migration?? It is a site to behold when they cluster by
    the thousands on a tree. Amazing stuff.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Venango/Crawford Pennsylvania
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    1,709

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    BjornBee http://s186.photobucket.com/albums/x...ictures131.jpg

    Kinda like Crop Markings, only Wax Markings.... oooooooooooooooooooooo

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    lewisberry, Pa, usa
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    Well, here it is. We went to bed last night and the largest caterpillar was spinning a spot on the top side of the jar. This morning we came down and found that we missed the transformation. This must happen fast! Hopefully the kids can get to see the next one.

    http://s186.photobucket.com/albums/x...ictures143.jpg

  18. #18
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    Jun 2008
    Location
    standish, michigan
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    212

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    looks good Bjorn.

    You gotta watch them very closely if you want to see them go into there chrysaliz, i went outside for an hour onetime and came back and he was already done. But you see them many times going into there J hook and hanging.

    I have 3 that will prolly go into there J hook tommorow, i put in a whole milkweed this morning in the container that has about 6 caterpillars in it and they had it gone and eating them stem down tonight so i went and got thema new one.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    5,349

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    Yep, watching the chrysalis harden after the last skin shedding is amazing. I always wondered why jade green with the black and "gold" dots. I realize that some of the dots are where eyes and antennae are forming, but why gold. I don't know any other butterflies whose chrysalis has those golden dots.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    standish, michigan
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    got one that went into its J hook tonght should be done tommorow when i wake up.

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