Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Caterpillar Drama

We have three chrysalis left. One is dark and should be emerging tonight or tomorrow.
It is really cool seeing them emerge from the chrysalis, makes it worth it. This one from yesterday is one of two that j-hooked and changed into chrysalis at the same time while we were at church last week. We thought they'd come out at the same time, but one of them emerged yesterday and the other one is taking it's sweet time and seems to be 48 hours behind which I think is a little weird. But what do you do? Not much to do for caterpillars except watch them do their thing. 

We had two more baby caterpillars but they dried up. We feel like their mortality has been a little worse than normal this year. Over the weekend, we had 6 caterpillar die - two little ones just appeared to stop eating and dried up, and 4 of the big ones were oozing green stuff and we did research and appears they were throwing up or had diarrhea - don't know if our milkweed was bad or if one of them was sick and got the others sick?
The stress of it was too much for Ethan, and he started to take it out a bit on us. The drama was just too intense. Corey was able to make the mood lighter when, after hearing this exchange between Ethan and Mel, he said we should do a new reality show for Animal planet called "Caterpillar Farmers". The confrontation sounded like a perfect clip...as they watched this guy hang his head back and ooze from the front and back...
Ethan - "He's gonna die!"
Mel - "You don't know that!"
Ethan - "Just get rid of them!! I can't take it!"

Ethan wanted us to just go put them all in the neighbor's yard where there's lots of milkweek. And be done with them. I was ready to send them off too. But Mel rinsed him off and nursed him back to health. He turned into a chrysalis yesterday, although he is a very small chrysalis compared to the others. We'll see what happens. The thought of a reality show made us laugh as we imagined the advertisements, featuring a pull away shot of the kids, arms folded across their chests, as the announcer says "This week, on Caterpillar Farmers!" Mel found another egg last night, so we'll see if that little guy emerges from the egg and can survive the first instar or not. We've had two butterflies and are hoping 3 more emerge. 5 out of 35 or so eggs? Gives us about a 14% mortality rate. I plan on asking my more experienced neighbor for tips of the trade to help us out if we do it next year.
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