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!