Few Monarchs

This topic contains 27 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by  Charlotte 10 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #13295

    Anonymous

    Hi. I have hardly seen any Monarchs in my garden this year (or round about) and so no eggs or caterpillars on my swan plants. How is everyone else doing?

    Gillian

Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 27 total)
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  • #18730

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Hi Swansong & Jacqui,

    Thanks for the feedback. (Swansong) Yes your right all leaves are different sizes and it would be hard to judge. Pillars sure can munch bigtime when their bigger!!.

    (Jacqui) Leaves are just leaves and yes they are selective feeders and sometimes dont eat a whole leaf. We experienced this last season. You sure a right Jacqui, you can never have enough feed.

    We went to Kings Plant barn Mt Albert today, to get some netting to put over our seedlings and keep Mrs Monarch off them, so that we have more plants for feeding.
    Well we noticed some very impressive swan plants they had and a reasonable size too and still 2 for $10, with 2 to 3 in a pot. So we brought 2 of them ;-).
    Thats the trouble you go for a look and end up buying, LMAO..

    Charlotte

    #18728

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    Wow – lots of comments here!

    Helen: It may be the heat, but also if you have a lot of caterpillars in close proximity, then they may well be infected with Oe (Ophryocystis elektroscirrha), which can build up when there is a large population. There are posts elsewhere in the forum about this – but you’re not going to get rid of it easily. On the Monarchwatch website there is information about how to get rid of it.

    Charlotte: They say about twelve leaves per caterpillar – but then leaves are leaves are leaves, and also they’re very selective feeders – they’ll eat the end of a leaf, and let the rest of it go to waste. So it’s hard to judge – but you can never have enough feed!

    Jacqui

    #18727

    Swansong
    Participant

    “how many leaves does 1 pillar eat?. Would be interesting to know.
    Charlotte”

    This question has come up before. From what I can remember it is 18. One would have to average that out to a medium sized leaf (I would suppose)…..so…. What would be another pertinent question is ….

    What would folks say is an average sized leaf? Ive just measured one at 4 1/2″ long x 3/4″ at the widest part.

    Leaves can vary in size and shape quite substantially. For example, I have some plants and their leaves are at a guestimate I would say 6 inches long and about an inch wide. These are typically new seasons plants that are doing well or last seasons that have not had ‘pillars on them and they were late plants.

    On the other hand I have other plants and their leaves are really small and seem to stay that way. This is generally the case if they are last seasons potted plants and have made it throu the winter after being somewhat stripped.

    Still another scenario is the leaves at the top which are tiny shoots of many sizes. Not to mention the odd swan gets munched on too.

    Therefore any experiment would need to take all this into account and as such I think just putting 1 pillar on 1 plant isnt going to give you a true result. The pnly way I can think of without getting too scientific about it, is to feed the pillar 1 leaf at a time. I have the perfect little bottle with a wee lid that has a hole in the center…just the right size for a leaf : ). You would need to watch the pillar in the final stages though because they can sure get munching BIG TIME! I’d put him some where where he couldnt wander off, or at that stage a couple of leaves at a time might be a goer.

    My 2 cents

    Swansong

    #18726

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Hi Robert,

    We need someone to set one plant aside with one caterpillar to work out that question.
    I may just do this and see what happens.

    I guess with all the eggs we have some wont make it to a butterfly.

    Charlotte

    #18725

    Darren
    Participant

    We have had only one Monarch hatch on two swan plants at our preschool this season. And it did it on a weekend so the children missed seeing it. 🙁 I noticed the plants were covered in aphids, and I squashed heaps by running my hands along the branches. Now both the plants have died.

    I’m going to clear all the rubbish out and create a dedicated “butterfly garden” and see how that goes. I’ve been doing a bit of research and I see that Kings seeds lists Asclepias curassavica, Asclepias physocarpa/Gomphocarpus physocarpa, Tithonia speciosa, and Oxypetalum caeruleum as plants that attract butterflies.

    I thought I’d also put in some Phacelia tanacetifolia, as apparently this is popular with ladybugs and hoverflies, and hopefully those will help keep the aphids under control.

    Any other advice? I know the website will be updated to include this sort of information but I’m keen to get into it.
    cheers
    Darren

    #18724

    Anonymous

    Hi All,

    We need someone to set one plant aside with one caterpillar to work out that question Charlotte.

    I think if we knew that answer, we could ration out food way better.

    Robert.

    #18723

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Hi Jacqui,

    I hope we have enough food. Most of the planted out plants are very bushy and reasonably big. We have around 20 plants planted out and 30 – 40 smaller plants growing in pots to use as feed.
    But upon saying that, how many leaves does 1 pillar eat?. Would be interesting to know.
    Charlotte

    #18722

    Helen
    Participant

    Hi,Helen here.I live in Hinds Mid Canterbury.The Monarchs arrived here 26th sept .They

    dont normally arrive untill after xmas.I have released 8 new butterflys so far this season.I am having a high fatality rate in my cats.A lot of them are dying as they are going into there chrysalis.Others are dying on the plants.I have them in a tunnell house so was wondering if the temperature might be a bit high for them as they mostly
    dye on hot days.I was also wondering if anyone could tell me how to get rid of baby praying mantis?They are eating all my we cats that are hatching on my outside plants.
    I have to check my plants at least 3 times a day and move any newly hatched cats that
    I can find.If I move them to soon they dye,If I leave them to long they get eaten.
    I dont seem to be able to win.Is anyone else having the same problem?

    #18720

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    Hi Charlotte – have you got lots of food? for all those eggs when the caterpillars emerge? Don’t forget you can use pieces of milk vine to supplement your stock of milkweed.

    Jacqui

    #18719

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Hi Gillian,

    Mrs Monarch must of heard us both!! hehe… Every day now I am having Mrs Monarch come and lay her eggs, I just roughly counted on all my plants and have over 150 eggs.
    I was home yesterday and I had so many visits yesterday on the plants, amazing…

    I have noticed the late afternoon visits they usually stay around for a few hours.
    Just have to atch mt naughty putty cats dont get them.

    Cheers
    Charlotte

    #18718

    Anonymous

    Hooray!! They must have heard my complaint! The very next day after my last post, I found eggs on my rather small plants. I’ll have to get some more plants now.

    Gillian

    #18709

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi flutterbys,

    “ROTFLMAO.”
    ?????? : /

    “Hey I like your remedy of boiling water!!! Now with that I could really deal to the little beggers.”

    Yep its a good un, but I wouldnt put it near the swanplants root system or soil around it. Unfortunately as far as ants go it’s only a decent solution for nests or clusters away from vegetation we dont want damaged. Come to think of it Ive only come across a nest about 3 times I think. That was more by accident than design… so I dont actually know how one would go about finding the nest.

    Just an aside tip, leftover boiling water from veges like spuds I have used many a time on the nearest rogue weed thats hard to get at like in crack on concrete. Works wonders.

    Well Ive done my 1st seasons “serious” roll call and I have counted 12 pillarz. OOh Yeah! They’ll keep me happy while my plants keep growing and getting ready for that post new year influx. My 1st pillar is about to spin his dot and is already in that classic bunched up position, with feelers pointing directly forward. Hard case. Makes me laugh for some reason.

    Cant wait for my 1st pillar to “escape” across the carpet. : ))))

    Swansong

    #18706

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Hi Swansong,

    Hey I like your remedy of boiling water!!! Now with that I could really deal to the little beggers.
    Went out to the plants today and not much activity from the ants! Even the reddish brown ones are all swimming in the ant poison or gone. However we still put ant posion around again and removed another 10 eggs, so Mrs Monarch has been back ;-)).
    We did still see a few ants on one plant and we were watching them and they were going up and down each leaf searching!!
    I tell you Swansong that made me mad!!!!
    So I squished the little begger so hard, I’m surprised I didnt break me fingers..

    Then low and behold we check another plant and it has a small baby praying mantis on it eating an ant!!. Well I said to hubby let me at it, but he beat me too it and squished him a horrible death.
    Hubby is getting as vicious as me now!! Thats a bit of a worry. ROTFLMAO.
    Cheers CHarlotte

    #18703

    belong
    Member

    I am in Waimate, South Canterbury, have some good sized swan plants and also a bed of nettles. I’ve seen a couple of Admirals so far but no Monarchs. We started late last season and bred 6 females and 2 males, perhaps they did not last the winter as no sign of them coming back. I’ll try to find someone with some surplus caterpillers or perhaps some leaves with eggs on. Have planted lots of nectar plants, etc so they don’t realise what they are missing!!

    #18700

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi flutterbys, hey nice links from what I saw.

    Gosh if its not one thing then its another eh, : ( … flaming ants are SHOCKERS. Im so glad you havent got aphids, and Im as equally sorry to hear about the ants. Me not know about these brown ones, but sure Ive seen the litte tiny ones where I am, fortunately not in any great mumbers. Hopefully someone can chime in on the brown ones.

    I know my parents when they were living at a beach, had NO END of problems with ants. The black ones. The fact of the matter was they just didnt beat them. Mum poured many dollars into all sorts of things and they just kept coming right on back. You could see them literally in their hundreds going on trails up trees along walls outside and in and along fences. The strange thing was some people in the same vicinity had very little problem and others NEVER had problems with them at all! Go figure…. yeah well they were probably all holding one big fat long party at my parents and forgot to go home or something. I think they are MUCH MUCH harder to get rid of at beaches becasue its so easy for them to disappear into the sand.

    For the couple of nest’s Ive come across… one in my garden and one on my little front patio garden … heres what Ive done… (with the caveat that theres no other plants in the immediate area) dug out as much of the nest as possible and put it in a bucket, then poured BOILING hot water therein, and covering it all so that none can escape. It has worked WONDERS!!! Not forgetting to also pour boiling water in the area that Ive dug out in case any have scurried under the soil or what ever. So, its good to have the boiling water ready just B4 you work. The hotter the better I say.

    Hehe Ive used the same “remedy” for things like stubborn docks. Heh, I tell ya NOTHING argues with boiling water, except you have to keep at it a bit for things like sorrell which is a proper mongrel to deal with in ANYONES language. I like water coz its non poisonous, no fuss, no muss. Just a few cents to boil the jug a couple of times.

    Oh just another thing… about what size would your nests be? If I could put it in a cube, Id say mine were typically about 8x8x8inches. I suppose they can be MUCH larger than that.

    Cheers
    Swansong

    #18699

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Hi Swansong,

    Heheheehhe I had a feeling you meant a pillar. Yes you are right and the pillars do have their own personality too.

    No aphids!!! but bulk ants I tell you. Hubby and I spent ages out there last night after work. We found 3 nests and have put some RAID ant poison down. Some of those ants are a REDDISH BROWN and some are very tiny. There are the big black ants, but we have never seen these little reddish brown ants before!!. We are not sure if they are the babies or a different type of ant. So if anyone can help out that would be great.

    Whilst checking the plants and SQUISHING all the ants on the plants!. We discovered Mrs Monarchs had been today and we had eggs galore!!! YIPEE, but the excitement didnt last!! as we saw the ants going for some of the eggs. We gathered about 30 – 40 eggs.

    So we looked on the internet and hubby found some information and went out and removed all the leaves with the eggs on them and placed them into a container until they hatch.
    Then we shall transfer them onto a few bigger plants under a mozzie net on our deck for a while until they are a bit bigger, then put them back out on the plants to fatten up before moving into the butterfly house to pupate.

    We did find a couple of interesting sites. Links are below.

    http://home.wi.rr.com/monarchraising/

    http://www.butterflyrelease.com/aboutus.php

    http://www.ehow.com/how_4510595_breed-raise-butterflies.html

    Hopefully by then we have sorted those ants out once and for all.
    I am going to buy more ant poison today. Those lil suckers are not getting away!!! LMAO

    Cheers
    Charlotte

    #18698

    Swansong
    Participant

    Oopsee flutterbys …me thynx Ive kinda got the wrong end of the stick…. insert in here -> […..] a red face since we aint got any emoticons. Heh, when you said “cat”, I thought you meant pillarz. (ah well) However, its not so bad as I know you do realize Pillarz have their own little personalities too eh? …and naughty? yeah they sure can be when they want to be. : ).

    Hey great youve got NO APHIDS!!! Bask in that beautiful fact while the goings good. Me? I went out YET AGAIN today and more of the little brutes : |. Ive got these fairly skin tight vinyl disposable gloves as the skin on my hands tends to be quite sensitive. I’ve started using these when I squish the darned aphids. Ive discovered that the aphids within the clusters can be anywhere from miniscule to great big fat juicy ones. (Huh, why are all my Ladybirds so lazy??? : / and Ive got heaps of them …go figure) I reckon the problem has been Ive been missing 1/2 the aphids because theyre hidden in the recessed part of the leaf. Trying my hardest not to “bruise” the new shoots thats how theyre are escaping me. If this nonsense carries on I shall have to transport my ‘pillars to a plant and really soap the others up and leave them like that for a good while. Just before I finally let Mumma Monarch in then Ill wash the residue off.

    With your grand total of 2, it looks like your situ will just fine to deal to those pesky ants. All the best there.

    Fortunately Ive only got about 8 or 9 pillarz, which were eggs that got past me ages ago…like before I put my nets up and when Mrs Monarch visited me waaaay early and certainly unexpectedly. Weve had a lot of variant weather and as such, those eggs have taken ages to hatch. Anywayz Ive got 1 oncoming fattie about ready to come inside…cant wait. He’ll be my 1st for the season. : ).

    My plants still need to get more ahead before I let mumma monarch in. Theyre coming on and Ive got the 1st little seedlings springing up here and there around my spuds. M.Monarch’s not about at the mo so thats good. Hoping no one comes before the new year actually, and so my few Pillarz will tide me over in the meantime.

    Hope your season goes well for you!

    Cheers & tables
    Swansong

    #18697

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Hi Swansong,

    I do love your humour Swansong ;-,. Yes she is such a neat and NAUGHTY putty tat at times.
    She loves to bring lizards into the house and drop them on the floor. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.. Well I just go balistic at her and shout and scream, as I dont like anything like that!!
    A phobia from my younger days when my big brother tormented me with bugs!!.

    We only had 2 pillars we managed to rescue and put in my butterfly house that hubby has built me. So I can use the ant poison for now as there are no other pillars at the moment.

    I have no aphids which is great!!. So shall do this for now and just wait for Mrs Monarch to come and do her thing..heheheheehe

    Cheers
    Charlotte.

    #18695

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi flutterbys : )

    “one of them is so nosey and naughty, she may investigate it and I would hate to lose her. She has a lot of character!!.”

    Hehehe LOL. Now why does that sounds so familiar. : ))))

    How many pillarz have you got?. Heres an idea IF this is manageable,…what Id do is transfer all the pillarz onto a “clean plant or 2” preferably in pots away from the other plants…(this is why its aways good to have some plants in pots) then do your work around the others to get rid of the ants and aphids. If you can afford to keep the pillarz away from these plants youre going to deal to for a good space of time, it might be worth “hitting this” with a more sure approach like uing burnt oranges approach.

    If this isnt a goer, then yes the cornmeal sounds like a good trick. Be interested to see ow that comes out flutterbys.

    Ive had a lot of ongoing trouble with these little orange brutes. Theyre bobbing up all the time and everyday I have to check. Ive never had it like this before where theyre so persistent. A feew here and a few there. : X ! Ive also found that Im sure the sqwuished residue of aphids can somewhat damage the fresh shoots if its not cleaned off. Id prefer to do this with soap and water but not when theres pillarz on there or nearby, so it will have to be just water from now on.

    HTHs
    Cheers
    Swansong

    #18694

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Hi All,

    Thanks for your advice. Will try some cornflour and see what happens. Am a little reluctant to use ant bait, as I have cats and one of them is so nosey and naughty, she may investigate it and I would hate to lose her. She has a lot of character!!.

    The plants are very healthy and have lots of growth on them, so will trail these little beggers and see where they are coming from!!. They shall not survive ;-).

    Cheers Charlotte.

    #18693

    margie
    Participant

    I was given this hint for dealing with ants
    Get Rid of Ants:
    Put small piles of cornmeal (Cornflour)where you see ants. They eat it, take it ‘home,’ can’t digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works and you don’t have the worry about pets or small children being harmed!
    Have sprinkled some myself where I see ants at work so will wait and see what happens.
    Cheers Margie

    #18692

    burnt-orange
    Member

    Hi Charlotte
    Ants tend to pick up on weak plants they can sense a plants condition,new growth on plants that are growing fast and ones that are shaded .
    I have been using a product called NO ANTS gel bait,squeeze a few drops of this on to an old lid ie; Jam jar lid or a bit of plastic, turn upside down on the ground leaving room for the ants walk under,this will stop the UV from breaking down the product,as It takes time to kill the nest,by removing your aphids this will make the ants look for another food source ….your bait!
    Track those ants down,see were they go and what they do … More baiting and you`ll be on to it.

    #18691

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    Yes, could well be Charlotte. What’s more they’ll bring aphids which will seriously affect your milkweed. You need to control those ants! And get rid of the aphids. Look through here and you’ll find some ideas – and if you discover any new ones, please share.

    Jacqui

    #18690

    Charlotte
    Participant

    I think I may have discovered my problem. I seem to have ants all over my swan plants out the back. I have had eggs on my plants, and then there are a few leaves eaten on some plants but no sign of any pillars.
    These ants are going crazy over my plants out the back. Can someone give me some advice please. Are they the culprits for eating my pillars!.
    If so what can I do to save my pillars?? 🙁 Any ideas would be most grateful :-).
    Charlotte

    #18689

    yvonne
    Participant

    We have seen lots of butterflies in Hamilton. We currently have about 70 chrysalis or nearly-chrysalis. We wiped out hundreds of eggs in the hope of feeding what was left with the 10 plants we managed to over-winter. But we still had to make a trip to The Plant Place yesterday to get more plants. For anyone in Hamilton wanting some, The Plant Place has some good sized ones. We have seen a couple of wasps but so far they are not a big problem.

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