March 26, 2007 at 3:38 am #12834
This is my first post on this forum, I have just found this site and didn’t even know there was such a thing as a monarch butterfly trust, research etc.
I have a question…..What is the end of the NZ butterfly (hatching) season?
I have about 15 caterpillars in different stages eating away (indoors) on swamplants.
Please note I am in the South Waikato and the season is getting cooler already.
My worry is that their hatching will be too late in the season and that their survival will be hampered by cold weather. What can I do to help these caterpillars to improve their chances of survival when butterflies.
Is it still useful to tag these butterflies and how do I go about getting tags?
Looking forward to your reply.
July 29, 2007 at 9:17 am #16418
Yes please! That would be great. Thanks so much.
JacquiJuly 26, 2007 at 8:27 am #16414
Hi Jacqui, I just read your e mail about the meeting, which gives your postal address, so will send the cutting there. GillianJuly 25, 2007 at 9:05 am #16413
I have a lovely photo from our local paper to-day of lots of Monarchs overwintering in Taradale. I presume the address to send it to is the Russell one at the bottom of the website.
GillianJuly 24, 2007 at 12:20 am #16412
Hi Terry – I guess the sea salt would be a good source of electrolytes? Someone once suggested to add a drop of soy sauce for the same reasonJuly 23, 2007 at 11:10 am #16407
A good recipie for Artificial Nectar 1 Pint Water, 1 tea spoon Honey, 5 teaspoons white or brown sugar or 3 spoons fructose. 1 pinch of sea salt. Keep nectar in the fridge in sealed jar to keep fresh until required. Keeps for 5 days in fridge or freeze in small amounts until required.July 22, 2007 at 9:05 am #16399
Hi Ross. That sounds like a good idea. I like to bring my new butterflies inside too, if they haven’t flown away. Especially at this time of year! They’re cold blooded, so they can handle -8, but less if they get wet. And they need approx. 13 degrees of sun for flight. I have had some inside for several weeks, waiting for the right weather. I give mine honey and water, or fresh fruit juice from very ripe fruit (water melon and pineapple especially).July 22, 2007 at 9:05 am #16398
I suggest you put it on the warmest site you can find – sheltered, full sun at this time of the year. I would think it would fly away when it had got warmed up nough.
Good on you, Ross!
J.July 22, 2007 at 8:31 am #16397
In Palmerston North. It got down to 3.5 degrees about an hour ago, so I brought it inside. I’ll give it a drink in the morning before putting it out again.July 22, 2007 at 7:20 am #16394
I think it will be fine all by itself, Ross. It will probably have flown away and done its own thing – depends on which part of the country you are. Up in the north they don’t seem to be going into diapause, just mating and reproducing, although things are taking a lot longer.
Please let us know what you found when you looked for it in the morning.
JacquiJuly 22, 2007 at 4:17 am #16391
I took my last caterpillar inside about a month ago, as it was getting too cold.
It hatched two days ago, and today I put it out on my swan plant. 10 degrees, sunny, and little wind today.
– Should I make up some sugar-water for it?
– What temperatures will it survive at night?
RossJune 30, 2007 at 8:12 am #16356
Firstly, I will keep an eye out for any press material on Monarchs and send it to you.
Yes, look forward to meeting you too. Hope this works out. I think you have my email address. Do you want my phone number?
GillianJune 28, 2007 at 11:12 am #16354
I should be there in the first week after the school holidays. Will get on to planning for this next week.
we are always grateful to receive any material in the newspapers about Monarchs and, as our focus changes, also any other NZ lepidoptera species – so if you can send any clippings in to us, we’d really appreciate it. This helps our PR.
Look forward to meeting you (I hope!)
JacquiJune 25, 2007 at 9:53 am #16352
Hi Everyone, Last week I visited an area in Papatoetoe, South Auckland where dozens, if not hundreds of Monarchs are wintering over among conifer trees. I have been told they have been gathering there for many years. Most had their wings folded and until one or two slowly fluttered a few metres it was not easy to notice them. Counting was difficult too as most were way above my head. They were all on the north side of the trees and enjoying the winter sunshine. I did not see any host plants nearby and most just remained still for the 15-20 minutes I observed them. Some butterflies were in close groups of 10 -20, others on their own.
If you are looking for wintering over sites, do not expect to see a blaze of orange as the undersides of the wings appear as a dull browny colour I do hope more sites like this one can be located throughout the country. Keep you eyes scanned in north facing sheltered areas of trees with dense foliage.
BeverleyJune 24, 2007 at 8:49 am #16350
It would be fun to get together. Are there many of us in this area? When do you expect to come? I read in our local paper of someone who had raised an amazing number of butterflies, I think in Taradale.
GillianJune 24, 2007 at 2:04 am #16349
I was amazed, yesterday morning, about 9am, I was actually on the phone, waiting for someone to answer, and it was grey and cool, but two male Monarchs were doing aerobatics (like a dogfight between two fighter pilots) above the bottlebrush. And there they are again now – but it’s 2pm and sunny, though not warm.
It’s true, there are more “failures” with these late Monarchs.
We have had some sightings of overwintering clusters in Hastings too.
I am coming to the Hawkes Bay in a few weeks – do you think there would be a chance of having a meeting fo Monarchists?June 23, 2007 at 4:44 am #16348
I was really interested to read the correspondence & your helpful advice Jacqui. To-day, in the teeth of a gale my last chrysalis hatched out, but I found it blown down on the path with crumpled wings. Whether it was the weather or the butterfly, as my previous 2 late hatchers also had crumpled wings, I wonder. Perhaps it is a hazard of late cats and the quality of the remaining swan plants. On the bright side, I did see some flying around in the sunshine a couple of days ago. GillianJune 22, 2007 at 8:20 am #16347
<< what do i do with these winter butterflies? it feels like they are doomed either way. >>
No, Shadowbaby, they’re not doomed at all. It’s been cold and very changeable up here in Russell today, but about 9am this morning – the sun was hardly over the hill – I had two Monarchs chasing each other outside my window, enjoying free fall and other aerobatics. Later, when the wind and rain gets too bad they find somewhere in the trees to hide, and come out again later when it’s better weather.
It’s not all that much warmer up here in the north.
<< i am also woried my sugar water might have done more harm than good. >>
I don’t think you can do much harm when a butterfly is not 100% anyway. Remember, butterflies are here merely to reproduce and continue the survival of the species – and play out their “role” in the giant plan, which is I guess to pollinate flowers, provide food for other species.
If they were in the wild and emerged deformed, they wouldn’t survive long anyway, would they? So you are increasing its life with what you do.
<< (but to where? i cant imagine, how do they get food now?). >>
They don’t need food on “bad days”, they conserve their energy by gathering together in treetops. Staying close together to one another (like cows in the corner of a paddock in a storm – heavens, I’d rather be in the middle of the mob, not on the outside, hehe).
<< bring the 2 remaining chrysalis outdoors indoors so they will hatch >>
Sounds like the best plan. They will emerge much quicker inside, where we keep the temp much more “summery” than out of doors.
<< How does everyone know how to do it? >>
We learn. Actually, I don’t do that, I think they’re much better on flowers – my personal choice. There are all sorts of artificial recipes – here’s one:
Four parts water to 1 part sugar. Boil the solution for several minutes until sugar is dissolved, and then let cool. Serve the solution in a shallow container with an absorbent material such as paper towels saturated with the sugar solution. Bright yellow and/or orange plastic kitchen scouring pads may be placed in the solution to attract butterflies and give them a resting place while they drink. Extra solution can be stored in your refrigerator for up to a week.
Replace it often so it doesn’t go off. Some people say that you sometimes have to teach them to “drink” by placing a pin in the curled-up proboscis (in the middle of the coil – not into the proboscis itself) and gently extending it into the liquid.
Did you know that butterflies taste with their feet. So once you put the butterfly on the scourer, and it senses there is “nectar” there it should drink automatically.
<< if i leave the chrysalis outside they wont hatch and i dont know how long they can stay in there not hatching before its too late.. thers no way they can like hibernate in the chrysalis until the next summer is there? know sounds stupid but i look at them and wonder… >>
Not stupid at all. The cold temps. does slow down the process, and of course makes them more vulnerable to damage from the weather and/or predators.
Good on you ShadowBaby!
JacquiJune 21, 2007 at 9:47 pm #16345
Thanks Jacqui that will be a great help. Shadow baby you certainly do care. I had a crysalis hatch this morning, a male I think (the wings are still unfurling). I think there is something wrong with his probiscus. It’s remaining straight, I thought it should be curled. He was an indoor crysalis, He is sitting on the end of a bed in the sun drying out, I am loath to send his out in this wind. I came on line this morning to check out the anatomy of the monarch. I have sugar water in a syringe, I think an eye dropper will work too. Then I have a little in an egg cup nearby so the monarch has a choice, he won’t start looking for food for a few hours yet. I know so little. I guess it’s like everything we learn.. ‘The more we learn the more we realize we don’t know’. I find this is true for me.June 21, 2007 at 8:43 pm #16344
i am reading all this and thought it was just me with this problem.
Its freezing here in auckland now and yet i still have 2 chrysalis and a mini monarch hatched yesterday as the chrysalis was inside (my number 12). Interestingly, I have had the three chrysalis hanging outside and they werent hatching but i believed they were just slowed down because of the weather. So i brought the small one in and it emerged within 1 day! my dilemma now:
what do i do with these winter butterflies? it feels like they are doomed either way.
I have recently also been nursing two others that came back to me through various means and were exhausted and hungry. One had severley damaged wings and I kept her inside for a few days, feeding her on sugar water and i found some flowers which she wasnt interested in at all. unfortunatley she was too weak and too broken and old to make it back out again and died later. i am also woried my sugar water might have done more harm than good. The other stayed in overnight and a day and wasnt interested in any of the bottlebrush i found or sugar water i tried to make. he did however fly away on a slightly sunnier winter morning (but to where? i cant imagine, how do they get food now?) .
So, now I am wondering whether to bring the 2 remaining chrysalis outdoors indoors so they will hatch as I dont know what to do with them after this. I’m not sure I know what im doing making sugar water. I have no flowers so have been mixing sugar, water and manuka honey with warmish water then trying to feed them off a spoon but dont know quantities or have a proper ‘recipe’ for this. How does everyone know how to do it?
The alternative is to hatch them indoors and then release them straight away without keeping them and feeding them (somethign i havent been to successful with and not sure about the idea of a butterfly as a pet!), but it feels so awful releasing them into this polar winter- do they have any chance of survival?
if i leave the chrysalis outside they wont hatch and i dont know how long they can stay in there not hatching before its too late.. thers no way they can like hibernate in the chrysalis until the next summer is there? know sounds stupid but i look at them and wonder…
anyway, i need lots of help and advice from all you experts here so please respond to me with some answers. v. clueless but i care.June 21, 2007 at 11:21 am #16342
Although some people have success with pumpkin, it does mean that more of your emerging butterflies will be deformed. It would be apparent that you can only feed them on pumpkin if the caterpillars have reached a certain stage in their development – and it is impossible to gauge if the caterpillars are mature enough or not.
I could bring some plant down to Whangarei for you early Monday morning, if that helps? Leave it at the place where I did before?
Send me an email if that will help you.
JacquiJune 21, 2007 at 1:58 am #16341
Hi all, Just been reading the forum and u all have been querying the same things that had me very concerned. Jacqui most of my cats are inside but there are still several outside and between the aphids and feeding cats I don’t think my plant feed is going to last. I had two potted plants inside but both of those have been stripped, so now I have to cut branches from the outdoor plants for the inside cats and this , of course reduces the feed for the outdoor cats. To make a long story short has anyone got a reasonable sized potted swan plant I can use for my indoor boarders? I live in Dargaville. I tried squash for my older cats, none of them touched it. Should I use crown pumpkin???June 19, 2007 at 9:52 am #16340
Hey great to hear from you Dee! Brr, it’s cold up here too, winter has come with a vengeance eh. Heavy rain tomorrow, I hear, I might go out and rescue a couple of chrysalises that have formed today, and bring them in here – it’s a tad warmer indoors.
Keep in touch!
J.June 19, 2007 at 8:50 am #16339
At long last I’m back on line
Was in Ashburton a week ago after an eight degree frost the sun was shining about 10.30 am and there were two monarchs hatching out and off they fluttered, they didnt stay around too long to dry out
I let my last monarchs go in Kakanui on the last day of May
Really has been a very late season done hereJune 19, 2007 at 8:23 am #16338
Just to keep you updated I released my Monarch on a lovely sunny day and wished it luck! At least it got a few days of nice weather before the big chill set in. Let’s just hope that it found a nice location to hide out and winter over.
Unfortunately I have found another Monarch that wasn’t so fortunate – it’s wings have dried crumpled and deformed. I have it inside and have fed it sugar water and provided fresh flowers but it doesn’t seem much of a life!
Thanks for your help.
Julia A.June 16, 2007 at 10:59 pm #16337
Must go and see this movie, Shaun. There are still plenty of of eggs and larvae here – although it’s got very cold (for Russell). On fine days, they’re basking in the top of my bottlebrush, which I look down on.
Keep up the good work – did you receive those papers in the mail?
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