counted 8 to 10, very difficult for me to see. They are about 1/4" long. I have placed a cage over them to prevent the lizards from eating them. They or the eggs survived some very cold weather recently. I posted when I saw the eggs being deposited a few weeks ago.
Have baby monarch cats outdoors!
You must have started your own little colony there steady :-)
You know, I secretly wondered if that monarch I saw laying those eggs was one of my sextuplets! I wish there had been a way to tag them but I did not know how.
You could have tried calling out all the names to see which one she responded to? You know she is female so you needed to call out only the names of the babes that turned out to be girls. :-) or maybe you can ask your new caterpillars what was their mom's name.
I thought there were 35 but there are 50!! I bought new milkweed today but it wont last long. I have to find some more.
Maybe you ought to consider the Honeyvine Milkweed after all ,, Only that will be all you will have is a monarch caterpillar garden ,,lol
Nice to hear about the critters here also ,,^_^
I bought more milkweed yesterday. They are not babies any more. I got one photo and I know I lost two cats. Still have lots of munchers! I know there are more than 45. They are hard to count accurately. It has been chilly and rainey here in last week so it slows them down a bit. I will try to get some more photos on Friday. I have to work tomorrow.
This message was edited Mar 27, 2014 12:14 AM
Here are some of my little guys today. I have 3 cages. The one in #4 found this my oldest milkweed plant which froze to the ground. I dont know how he got there. #5 This AM it was cold and wet and they were very sluggish and some so cold they had falled off the plant. I picked them up, warmed them on my hand until they could crawl and then placed them back on vegetation.
Look a little cold they do !
Round em up , !!! Steady's Caterpillar ranch .!!!^_^
Hybrid Texas Monarch's .?. !!!
I don't mean to be a smarty , But it makes me think ,, "Sam" would say ".My how the cattle have changed "
Really nice Steady , Keep at it ,, You might save them all by yourself ,who knows ?
This message was edited Mar 28, 2014 5:09 PM
Today at sundown there were 4 caterpillars in the "J" position. Ive had some casualties. Not sure what caused the death of 4 caterpillars. wondering if the last bit of milkweed I bought had pesticide contamination. There was also the rain one night.
I have cats too! Six and counting. All my milkweed that has leafed out is in the ground except one plant so they are going unprotected for now. I have dozens of milkweed plants in the seedling stage. I wasn't expecting them to arrive so early. Last year I didn't see them until Fall. I built a cage for this year but I'm planning on moving the plants in, in pots. I may have to re-think my plan.
The last two batches of milkweed I bought were in 2X2 pots so I placed the pots inside the 3 laundry hampers. I have about 30 of the smaller seedlings bought in 2 different batches but from the same native plant vendor here.
Congrats on your new babies! Another female came by today laying eggs. I did not have much foliage left so I saw her depositing eggs on bare stems. She has a lot more faith in those plants than I do. They dont re-leaf as quickly as I need them to do.
Keep posting your progress. I think my cats were too crowded maybe. I need more cages.
You know I'm so worried about the cats I have, being unprotected. But they are in a grouping of plants that don't lend themselves to being covered. I just thought of a possible fix. I can make a little fence with some wire and attach screen to it. I don't think the lizards will scale something like that if it's tall enough, they have better things to do.
I'm lucky, many of my A. curassavica from last year have leaved out and are good enough for cats now. I moved all the potted seedlings into the sun so they will fill out faster.
I'll take some pics today and post them later.
I have really bad news. More cats have died and all the ones who had formed the J died also. Two of them got a part of a chrysalis made before dying. Im becoming certain that the milkweed I bought from the first native plant place was OK but then I went to another native plant place and bought more milkweed. I believe the last batch was contaminated with something.
Now I feel bad too !!! They form a J (my user name ) They have a disease spreading ) Cattle joke I made and they all caught caterpillar Anthrax )
I was reading about a parasite they (monarch larvae ) catch and parasitic wasps ..
Like here though , I don't think it is going to matter as it might because here last year 7 adults and no cats is all there were ..
Tons of nectar plants I am hoping to do this year , maybe I can attract a few back to the milkweed here .
I suppose the nursery could have sprayed them, they do get aphids something terrible, but I wouldn't be too fast to jump to the conclusion it was the milkweed. It's really hard to tell just what kills these little guys. It really is early for them to be here. They over winter in my area but I've never seen them laying eggs this early in spring. I mean we barely have any milkweed yet. My condolences.
Aaaawww. SteadyCam, Such a disappointment.You really did do your best. I do get a bit attached and am really rooting for the little guys when i get caterpillars. So, it is understandable to feel sad if they succumb to any of the many problems.
Cville,( or anyone else in zone 7) you are in my general area, Do you have milkweed in your garden? I have A. Incarnata and it has not come up at all yet. I see some purplish nubs by the roots, but not a smidge of green. Did the extra cold winter kill it?
Steadycam those are my fears, too. The company I am ordering Milkweed plants from back in 2007 or 8 grew and sent to the native plant supplier two flats of beautiful milkweed plugs which were then supplied to a Monarch Watch consultant/expert who was giving a presentation on Monarchs and raising them, Within a day of placing the cats on the new milkweed, they all died!
When the supplier confronted the grower it was determined that the plants had received a pesticide treatment a good 3 months prior. Even one part per million or whatever the 'allowable' limit or residue is is a BIG GULP for baby cats. I have also read a 'caution' to never touch a Monarch cat or milkweed plant if you are around any pets who have been treated for fleas. Always use gloves as the flea treatment doesn't wash away from hands and clothing or pet.
Monarch Watch Market Place still has some flats of 32 milkweed plants for $60.90 delivered.
It is a real emergency this year to supple as much uncontaminated milkweed as possible to as many Monarchs as possible. They are here, but the milkweed isn't. Know we all will do what we can to turn this around.
I'm wondering two things, whether there is a test for pesticide residue on milkweed that can be done before our cats are exposed beyond someones assurances that the plants are 'clean'? And, two, how those of us who have Milkweed but no cats could harvest leaves and keep them for emergency use...like a stock pile of Monarch food that can be sent overnite to where needed.
Coleup- I am SO glad you brought this up! I never thought of the flea spot on my dog and cats as a possible hazard to the caterpillars. Good to know!
I wish I could send the field of milkweed near me to those in need. It hasn't come up yet, but there is a clump of at least 50 plants that get as tall as me in the summer. This is where I get seeds. I guess it is A. Syriaca. If anyone wants seeds Dmail me, cuz I have 2 jelly jars (8oz) full of seeds. I was going to make milkweed seed bombs to throw into some abandoned lots. Has anybody done that? I was thinking of including some nectar supplying seeds too.
scarletbean - I love the "seed bomb" idea. I've thought about flinging california poppy seeds out my car window in the past. They make so many seeds and if it rains at the right time they all come up. It would probably be very similar with the milkweed. I'm sure there is some really pretty wildflower that would come up in your area without help.
Oh, there ARE so many pretty wildflowers in this area! Cardinalflower, beebalm, trumpetvine,datura,sweetpeas...and many more. Sadly, as development sprawls on and on, these open areas are lost along with the plants, insects and animals that depend on it. I can't stop the world, but i try to do some small thing to help. I read about seed bombs and knew i could do that. Thank goodness for slumlords in the cities and absentee property owners in rural areas, because I can depend on their lack of mowing, etc to provide a place for my bombs to explode into flower. Not only is it pretty, but provides shelter,nectar,seeds for all kinds of animals, birds, bugs and of course caterpillar food!
You should toss those poppy seeds anytime you want!
note: seed bombs should consist of native plants. anyone interested can google 'seed bomb' for instructions.
I have 4 chrysalids. They are smaller than usual I think but most of the failures were at the J stage. The young cats that died seemed to have paralyzed legs. The prolegs still worked but they had to drag the lower part of the body. When they got as far as the J stage they did not seem able to hold the J. They straightened out and died. Several fell after trying to hold the J. One chrysalis fell. These were all outdoors. I still dont know what the problem is, (was). Im not expecting these 4 chrysalids to produce healthy butterflies. I do hope to be surprised on that.
The sextuplets I reared in December were reared from eggs brought inside and they all did really well. These eggs went thru some very cold nights and so did the young caterpillars. also they got rained on which knocked some of them off and down into the pot of soil which some pots had frass of course and it was wet. Not good Im sure. It did seem like all the cats were doing great until I brought home the ssecond batch of milkweed but thaat coincided with the rain storm so Im still stumped.
Handsome little guy, Dee. That is a beautiful milkweed plant. Ive never seen one with that much foliage on it or only briefly.
It's funny you should mention the plant. This plant missed last years Monarchs and then leafed out late in winter. I saw the butterfly who laid the eggs fly in, I thought it seemed early to be seeing her. I remember her flying in and saying "over there and pointing to the plant", I didn't really expect her to listen! So now I'm calling myself the "Butterfly wisperer".
What a fine, fat fellow of a caterpillar. That is very exciting. Asclepias curassavica is indeed a beautiful plant. I am hoping for cats this year. I didn't see any last year, but I was not able to do much out in the garden due to life's "little" interruptions.
That Is a handsome fella! And, I am very jealous, My mw plants never get that tall and leafy.
Butterfly whispering would be a great skill. I swear, they seem to go the other way than i want.
Dee, what milkweed is it in your pick above? How old is it? Do you pinch it back for bushyness like they say to do with currasavica? Isn't there a Texas variety milkweed that grows wide and low with orange flowers? Can't remember name...
Coleup, wide and low and orange is A. tuberosa.
It's A. curassavica. There is actually two orange/yellow and one yellow milkweed in the picture although most of the leaves are on the front plant. It's one year old, I grew them from seed last year. Not all of the like seven I planted last year look as good. It's actually blooming late from last year, not early for this year. All of the other plants are just starting to green up and bloom.
I counted 5 cats today, the big ones look almost ready to cocoon. I have around 50 curassavica seedlings in gallon pots sitting around the yard. I'm going to be popular late in the summer when everyone starts running out of milkweed!
I'm trying to grow tuberosa this year too, I've never grown it before.
I also have several Calotropis that germinated for me, they are going to be interesting. I have a few extra seeds if anyone wants to try.
Cats love A. curassavica. At least that's been my experience.