Very cool. What's involved in the process?
Oh my God! My cousin!!!!!
Bet I raised a thousand when I was a kid! the Jeweled chrysalis is almost as beautiful as the butterfly. Haven't even seen one for years
My wife and kids have been doing this for years. We have different kinds of milk weed or butterfly weed for the monarchs planted in all the flower beds. They usually find the small caterpillars and put them in a butterfly "cage" with leaves. The caterpillars climb to the top and do their transformation there. Here is a photo of the chrysalis attached to the top with some that have hatched...
Your monarchs would do better if you tend to them.
Do you plant the milkweed, or do you just let it grow as it comes?
Yes, I started raising Monarchs in 2014 as a way to stay out of my topbar beehives in July and August. It has turned into a full time hobby for me now. All my eggs are born and reared inside to prevent diseases. We sell my boxes chrysalis at the garden center where I work. Customers love them. I also hold USDA permits to ship them across state lines. Over 400 raised and released last year.
>Do you plant the milkweed, or do you just let it grow as it comes?
I collect seeds when I see them gone to seed along the road and plant them at my house and I mow around the ones growing there.
Very cool ruthie. Didnt realize you needed a permit to ship them across state lines. Wonder if the monarchs are filling out the proper paperwork.
I was just reading a very cool article from Monarch joint venture that talks about the fall migration. The usual flying height of the migrating monarchs is 800-1200 feet in the air. The highest one ever seen by a glider plane was at 11,000 ft! At that altitude, I doubt they need any sort of paperwork :-)
Raising monarchs is a popular garden hobby down here, most of the milkweeds you have in the US are not available here but people plant Swan Plants http://www.palmers.co.nz/growing-swa...-caterpillars/ , if you just plant swan plants in the garden you will get monarchs, no care needed.
Despite that the sap of swan plants is a deadly poison they are grown in most school gardens so the children can enjoy the butterflies. Every so often there are rumblings about making these plants illegal because of the poison, but the monarch growing culture is so ingrained in many people that no government is willing to be the administration that banned monarchs.
One problem here is that the butterflies lay far too many eggs on the plants, then there are too many caterpillars which completely strip the plant of all leaves, then starve. A trick my wife showed me is you can take 1/2 grown caterpillars from the plant, bring them inside and put them on a piece of pumpkin. They will stay put on the pumpkin and eat that until it is time to pupate.
"Thinking Inside The Box"
So you catch wild ones in the spring or do you look for eggs to raise or both?
Maybe you could briefly explain the process.
So far, we haven't seen any other monarchs come through here, but my normal time to see them if after the 4th of July. If I can net a gravid female, I will add her offspring to the ones reared in the house so that I am adding new genetics. The problem with "wild" monarchs at the end of July through September is that most of them are carriers of the OE protozoa that causes the caterpillars to collapse in a pile of goo. Strong disinfecting procedures for the wild eggs and milkweed need to be employed at that point to reduce the amount of disease. So many of the fall migrating monarchs are infected with it that they never make it to Mexico. So the ones reared inside without the OE are stronger butterflies that have a chance of getting down to Mexico and emigrating in the spring.
Very interesting, thanks for the information.
Is the OE protozoa the cause of the monarch decline? Maybe they will develop resistance like the feral bees have.