Thursday, August 3, 2017

Great Monarch Year

Mel came back to the valley with me last night. She's been here with me most of the day. We came down last night cause she had a flute lesson today. Joseph came home too - he left this morning for a trip with his Voodoo Orchestra to the Telluride Jazz Festival in Colorado. It's nice having Mel here. She appreciates the caterpillars and joins me in having high hopes of a great monarch harvest this year (knock on wood...) We're butterfly farmers! They make a lot of frass to clean up, and that bothers my ultra-hygiene conscious boys to have caterpillar poop close by in the bathroom where they brush their teeth. So I've moved big group of them to the laundry room, but I did move them back to the bathroom temporarily while they are gone and cause I'm doing laundry, and I can't have them on the washer or dryer with how much it vibrates. I'll get them out of here in a bit..
Although it is much easier to find them and count them with the mirror behind helping me see where they were all hiding. I love it when they are big enough to hold too, they are really cute little bugs.
I've got a few downstairs in the kitchen. This one went wandering and made his j-hook by the kitchen sink.
Last year, if my memory serves me right, we had like 2 or 3 make it, despite having almost 30 eggs. Ok... just looked back at my blog, and this is why I blog, cause apparently my memory does in fact not serve me well. According to a mid August post last year, I documented that we had 4 make it through the life cycle to fly away as monarchs, but it was almost 5... that last butterfly loss was hard for me and almost made me vow not to get involved again. But the months pass by and my resolve grows weaker. Then summer comes and I get excited when I see the milkweed growing in our yard, and I look for and find eggs, just to see... and then before I know it I'm clipping leaves and bringing them in and we start watching the miracle take place.
"Ooh! Look! A little baby! He's so cute!!"
I'm perfecting the process. I should probably get some mesh cages though. We had 3 run away from the milkweed before they made their silkpads. Two of them have been located and one is still MIA.
Owen likes to see the bugs.  "A bug!" Little cute bugs. We have had some of them die. This one just slowly dried up, not sure what was wrong, but it looked like he wasn't able to completely molt out of his skin or something?
I also found lots of larva that I first thought were tachinid flies that eat monarchs, but after further research I think they are milkweed leaf miner bugs, cause we have lots of leaves that look infected and I found lots of larva in the water around the leaves. So yay, the caterpillars have been safe from parasites, phew.
So, as of now, we have 13 that made it to chrysalis! One turned black on day 2 and I think it's dead but we're leaving it on there for a bit longer.
Today 4 more turned into chrysalis, and we've still got 10 more in their last instar - 3 in j-hook right now and 2 are making their silk pads. Then we have 10 small caterpillars in the bathroom and I found 5 more eggs this morning! One hatched this afternoon. I think this has been a great year for our monarchs! I've found all of these as eggs in our yard except for two which our neighbor (and resident monarch expert!) Lisa gave me when they were going out of town. We are excited to see them come out. They are little miracles.

So that's the bug update. We're heading back up to Park City in a few, going to pick up Mel after her lesson is over at 4:45 and head straight up.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...