28 September 2008

Grow it and they will come: Monarch butterflies

Wow! These guys can eat! These pictures are from about two weeks ago, when I noticed that there were DOZENS of Monarch butterfly caterpillars on a tropical milkweed out in the veggie garden that had eaten every leaf on the plant. Here's a video snippet (1 min) of that plant:

So by snipping off the bare branches loaded with baby Monarchs, I relocated them to a milkweed that had plenty of leaves. They crawled off, eating all the way! The lesson here, same as last year: Plant more milkweed! Below are some pics of the relocated caterpillars...

And here is a tiny video (1 min) after the successful relocation:

Postscript to this story: Since the receiving milkweed plant is right beside the front patio, our front porch is now festooned with little leaf-green cocoons dotted with gold. We kept one (which was on a leaf I accidentally plucked) in a jar with a coffee filter over the top, till it emerged and we released the most perfect Monarch into a gorgeous September day.

Fly hard towards Mexico beautiful friends!


beckie said...

Whew! I was afraid the problem with the pictures was due to my computer. So glad to see the girls and how well they are doing. I've forgotten anything I knew about raising chickens so don't know how long before you start getting eggs.

Don't you just love the buitterfly weed. Not only is it beautiful, but is such a great host plant for the monarchs. How neat that you got see see one hatch and then release it to carry on the cycle of life. Thanks for sharing!

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

That is amazing! I will plant some milkweed next year for sure (my list is growing by leaps and bounds).

Bonnie said...

I was a witness to the monarch migration two years ago- the tree outside of the lakehouse we were staying in was covered in monarchs. So cool to see where they start their journey.