I Am At It Again!

And you should be too.

I’m helping Monarch caterpillars hatch, grow, and become butterflies.

It is a very rewarding project.

Taking the eggs from the Milkweed plants and protecting them until they are butterflies increases the survival of this amazing species.

You may or may not know:

  • Monarch caterpillars ONLY eat milkweed which is less plentiful now due to herbicide use and loss of our prairie land due to construction and expansion.
  • The last generation of Monarchs to hatch each season do not die in a few weeks like previous generations, but live long enough to migrate to their winter homes – mostly in Mexico.
butterflies-1

The trees are covered with the over-wintering Monarchs. I would love to see this someday!

  • Monarch numbers have decreased from a couple billion to only 50-some million!

You can read more about the remarkable Monarch here:

http://www.monarch-butterfly.com/

Simple things you can do to help Monarchs:

  • PLANT MILKWEED!  If you plant it they will come!  There are several varieties of Milkweed that will survive, multiply and beautiful your garden.  Monarchs will come and lay their eggs on your milkweed plants.
DSCN2542

Milkweed blooming in my garden. The flowers smell amazing!

  • BEWARE to not get your milkweed from your local large garden center or home improvement store because they will most likely be treated with insecticides.  The caterpillars that hatch on this mildewed will DIE. Read about one person this happened to here:

http://michiganradio.org/post/how-help-monarch-butterflies-without-poisoning-them#stream/0

  • Plant nectar flowers for the adult Monarchs.  Nectar flowers are the beautiful flowers you love anyway and the nectar provides nourishment for the adults. It is especially important to plant fall blooming nectar flowers such as asters, so the season’s last generation of  Monarchs will have food for their migration.
Monarch on zinnia 8 14 15

A beautiful Monarch nectaring on a zinnia in my garden,

  • Rescue or ‘adopt’ Monarch eggs or caterpillars and raise them in a protected environment and then release the adult butterflies.

It’s easy!

Here is what I did, you can do it too:

I ‘harvested’ Monarch eggs off my Milkweed plants. If you don’t grow Milkweed in your garden you can find it in fields or along the road in rural or even not so rural areas.  Make sure it hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides.

The eggs are small whitish dots on the underside of your Milkweed leaves.

Monarch cat

See the egg – nearly in the center of the photo? A tiny caterpillar is on the edge of the same leaf, below and slightly to the left of the egg.

 I put the eggs, and one teeny tiny caterpillar I found in a opaque Rubbermaid tote.

Some people I know use a clear cup or jar but I wanted mine to have more room.

The small caterpillars will not leave their food source of Milkweed leaves but when they get larger and ready to form a chrysalis they will become more mobile and you will want to fasten a net or screen over your habitat.

My husband ordered me a super-cool habitat off Amazon.  I can’t wait!

Give your Monarch caterpillar(s) a daily (later even more than daily) supply of Milkweed leaves to munch on.

MAKE SURE ANY MILKWEED LEAVES YOU GIVE THEM ARE NOT TREATED WITH CHEMICALS!

(I can’t say it enough)

Put newspaper or paper towels on the bottom of your habitat bercause the caterpillars poop A LOT and you want to keep them clean and healthy.

Your caterpillar(s) will EAT and EAT and GROW and GROW!

book

They remind me of the caterpillar in my grandson Carter’s favorite book.

Finally they will slow their movements and form a ‘J’ shape and then soon after form a beautiful chrysalis.  When the chrysalis becomes clear and you can see Monarch orange and black markings through it the butterfly will soon emerge.  It’s wings will be shriveled at first but they will soon unfurl and grow strong.

Now you can release your adult Monarch into your garden and pat yourself on the back because you just did a wonderful and important thing and helped make the world a better place!

 I will share the progress and photos of my caterpillars in future posts.

I hope I have encouraged you to give it a try.  If you are not up to ‘rescuing’ eggs and caterpillars perhaps you will at least consider planting Milkweed and nectar plants in your garden.

I would love you to share what you are doing to help the Monarchs!

Advertisements

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. slcriger
    Aug 17, 2015 @ 12:50:49

    cant wait for butterflys

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. Barbara Faust
    Aug 17, 2015 @ 11:57:22

    A co-worker of mine, after noticing I’d addressed a letter to the EMPEROR OF JAPAN, announced to the rest of the staff; “Barb must be trying to save the JAPANESE BEETLES!”

    No, it was the whales.

    I’m getting close to my expiration date as are so many wild animals and insects. I’ve always taken great care to live without causing ANYTHING TO DIE–not even insects.

    Ruth, I applaud your efforts to get others on-board to save the beautiful Butterfly so that my grandkids AND their grandkids will have a better chance of sharing the earth with them too.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Juniper Journeys

:it's time to put on your boots and move to higher ground.

slcriger

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Make Me Some Soap...

A blog for folks who love using and making handmade soap

On The Upside

Saddle up! Let's take a ride...

Gumboots and Grammar

My passion is my strength

Restorable Living

The art of reclaiming daily life.

pipafineart.wordpress.com/

Helpful articles to improve your own nature and landscape photography explorations. You will also see stunning landscape and nature photographs created by award winning landscape and nature photographer Melissa Fague.

Sunny Sleevez

Sun Protection & Green Info

No Milk Today

Allergy or Food Intolerance: Delicious Dairy-Free Recipes, DIY & more :)

THE UNFETTERED FOX

Curious facts and cautionary tales ~ adventures in rural living

The house by the sea foodwaves

I´m here only for the food

SunshineHelpMeGrow

A stereotypical college student just trying to get by...

rachelmankowitz

The Cricket Pages

2 Boys 1 Homestead

Our adventure to self-sufficiency!

Back Porch Sheep

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27

Butterfly Garden

Attracting & sustaining butterflies and growing native flowers.

A Note From Abroad

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sailaway from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain

GARDEN OF EADY

Bring new life to your garden!

Crazy Green Thumbs

Chronicling a delusional gardening experience.

%d bloggers like this: