Jennifer

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  • in reply to: Will swan plants survive the harsh winter? #50231

    Jennifer
    Participant

    Even in the relatively frost free area of St Clair in Dunedin, the Swan plants do much better near the house during the winter. In more exposed locations they do not thrive and often die.


    Jennifer
    Participant

    I too have had only a few butterflies visit and then late. I am in St Clair. A neighbour also reported the same. Lots of eggs were laid, but as usual the earwigs got most of the resulting caterpillars. Only about 10 or so survived from the hundreds laid. I brought them inside on a few plants last week. While the weather was still fine for them outside I couldnt bear to lose the rest to the earwigs. Last winter, for some reason, seemed unkind to the overwintering monarchs and I suspect many of these late arrivals may have been from caterpillars brought into the region on swan plants or gradually radiating out from the few that survived. Was our dry spring and summer also to blame?

    in reply to: Help me care for a broken butterfly #42324

    Jennifer
    Participant

    I have glued on Monarch wings very successfully. It is quite easy just follow the many online instructions. I use a wire coathanger for holding the patient down and ultra bonder with a brush. You also need a supply of monarch wings. The latter is easily obtained from dead overwintering butterflies. The ribs have to line up approx, particularly the leading edge, this is for strength, so you do need several wing choices to match your patents. Enough of the wing stub needs to be available to do the glueing overlapping the existing wing

    in reply to: Monarchs and medication #42323

    Jennifer
    Participant

    Well that is very interesting. I have noticed 2 things. Monarchs in general in my garden prefer swan plant to incarnata for egg laying. They have no prefernce for either species for nectar. Is swan plant one of the toxic species?

    in reply to: When to prune swan plant? #34593

    Jennifer
    Participant

    I am in Dunedin and where we are by the sea we havent had any frosts yet; we dont get many anyway and I never loose plants to the cold, however wind is another matter and unless they are pruned, both those in pots and in the ground can keel over if left to get over head height.  That is if caterpillers havent stripped them.  Pruning also thickens out the plant.  Even if caterpillers have stripped the leaves they dont usually reduce the height sufficiently.  I prune either autum or spring,  depending on whether there are seed head to retain, or in the spring if there is unwanted growth.   The caterpiller stripped plants are sprouting again nicely at the moment so I dont do any more  pruning now to let the new growth come away.  And it is suffiently cold here for that new growth not to be very sappy and tender.  Some years though it is that growth that gets a bit hit by frosts

    I dont have to worry about frost cloth, some of the plants on the south side of the house get a little knocked back with the winter, but that is a combination of lack of sun, cold and southerly winds

    To give an idea of the climate, I still have aubergines producing outside at the moment and the last of the tomatoes willl not get picked until June.

    Because growth throughout the year  is slow though compared to the  north, the plants are hardier and sturdier come winter, which helps to make them cold hardy.

    I also rely on older plants for flowering, and caterpillars. The new seedlings will not make suffieient growth in one year to supply the monarchs.

    In addition to autumn  and spring pruning I also tip  prune the main stem (pinch out the tip) in the first year if it is a vigorous plant to ensure that the branching occurs at a low enough level, again this is to keep the plant at a reasonable height.   I like branching to start at about 500- 600mm.

    I hope this is of help to those in more southerly lattitudes

    in reply to: Hungry caterpillars looking for food in Dunedin #34261

    Jennifer
    Participant

    Have emailed you.

    in reply to: Hungry caterpillars looking for food in Dunedin #34249

    Jennifer
    Participant

    I am desparate in Dunedin too.  I have exhausted all resources and contacts I have.  What have you dne with yours Colleen?

    in reply to: Advice needed!!! #33789

    Jennifer
    Participant

    It can be released on a mild day, temps above 15 if sunny.  It doesnt want a swan plant unless it is laying eggs but it will enjoy the nectar when the sun shines, but will sup nectar of a variety of plants.  It will warm up when in the sun and then fly off and find somewhere to hang out for the winter.  It probably wont mate unless we get a return of the recent hot weather.

    Are you going to be tagging the rest of your emergent butterflies? I can help.  I am going away now for a few days but leave a message here if you want any more help.  I am in St Clair.

    in reply to: Website changes please test #33634

    Jennifer
    Participant

    Joanna and Ana. When I click on species – moths – and then one of the moth species, for some of the species  the link works and for other species it doesnt. But Landcare says it has updated its site so each of the links from our site need to be checked. I cant do this tonight! Bed is calling!  The broken links show this message.

     
    “Sorry, that page could not be found
    Our website has recently been updated, and some content has moved. Please try the following:

    Use the search box below: ” etc

    in reply to: Monarch caterpillars eating into seed pods #33632

    Jennifer
    Participant

    I too have more swamp milkweed seed pod eating than I do swan plant pod eating, although they do sometimes go for the latter.  I wonder if the samp milweed pod is more succulent, it seems to be a fleshier capsule and doesnt have the pickles to navigate.

    in reply to: What counts as overcrowding? #33629

    Jennifer
    Participant

    You can transfer some of the caterpillars manually to the bigger plants, just pick the caterpillars up and carry them!  It is a good idea not to put the plants  too close anyway. the more fresh air the better.  Once the caterpillars get to the late stages they consume a massive amount of food so give some the chance  to develop well, and  leave only one or two on each of the half stripped plants.  At the latest instar stage they can be fed pumpkin in an emergency

    in reply to: Too many! Caterpillar foster parents needed!!! Dunedin #33627

    Jennifer
    Participant

    Wasps can be a problem.  I watched one do away with a caterpillar the other day.  Many people cover their plants, you may be able to find threads on that.  However there is always a bit of a loss, one frequent cause is falls!  You cant save every caterpillar!  If you have an idea of the number hatched you can monitor losses and then take steps if necessary.  I have bought about 30 inside as an insurance, but it is hard work keeping them supplied with food and keeping the mess cleared up.  The pillars get rather big and I doubt your window sill will cope!  Overcrowding also leads to disease.

    Later on I will bring some big plants inside for those pillars still munching away and for the large caterpillars and put water round them to stop them wandering.  Then I can keep track of the pupae. Since I will be tagging I want the pupae inside.

    I cant take any eggs from you I have had far too many laid myself

    in reply to: Desperate for Caterpillars in Dunedin! #33284

    Jennifer
    Participant

    I have oodles of caterpillars now for anyone who wants them.  I am very busy I so cant post but anyone who can collect from St Clair is welcome.  Email me on bradshaw at xtra dot co dot nz.  They will happily grow outside still in Dunedin.  The problem comes with those pupating in May when it has become too cold for the developing monarchs to form properly.  I bring the pupae inside to hatch from the end of April.  Also if you dont want the large caterpillars to wander off to pupate late in the season bring those inside on some plants.  You can bund the plants to stop them wandering or pick them up of the carpet, or put up with them emerging all over the lounge!   If you are prone to early frosts it might be a different matter, eg Taieri plain.

    in reply to: Too many! Caterpillar foster parents needed!!! Dunedin #33283

    Jennifer
    Participant

    They will happily grow in Dunedin outside at the moment, fatten up nicely, it doesnt matter about the cool nights.  The problem comes when they pupate.  By May it is too cold for the monarch to  develop properly in its case.  Thats when they need to be broght inside.  So keep them outside.  Once they pupate it is easy to keep them inside, it doesnt need much space.   I can give advice about space saving storage systems for this and there are heaps of threads about it.

    And summer is not over!!!  I cant believe you wrote that when the temperature today is 23°!  Yesterday wasnt much cooler either!

    in reply to: Aphid predator? #32812

    Jennifer
    Participant

    Ah excellent, no I didnt see it predating but it was near and I had seen it hovering, I will now start to watch more clearly.  Thanks very much Jacqui

    in reply to: Aphids and companion planting #32785

    Jennifer
    Participant

    I forgot to say that I think a small hover fly type insect is also predating on the Aphis nerii.  I have taken a photo of the fly.  I will try and upload it. I havent done that before

    in reply to: Aphids and companion planting #32783

    Jennifer
    Participant

    My observations on those horrid orange aphids in Dunedin.  Hosing no real use, have to do it every day.  Leaving it to the ladybirds only works so so, they out do the dozens of ladybirds I have in the garden.   The winter here does nothing to reduce their numbers, unlike other aphids.   Garlic spray dosn’t work very well.  Squishing the clusters round the stem does drastically reduce their numbers and the available breeding and accumulation sites, they do not seem to like  breeding on top of this black stuff.  I dont wash it off.  The couple of times the rain has done so the aphids are back again.   I have my suspicions about ants too.  The do eat the carcase remains of my squishing  but I am wondering if they are spreading them.  There has been a drastic reduction in the infestations since the nearby nasturtians got rampant.  I dont know if there is a link as it is also very hot and dry here this year and despite my assiduous watereing the aphids may be succumbing to the weather.

    in reply to: Desperate for Caterpillars in Dunedin! #32782

    Jennifer
    Participant

    I have just had a few eggs laid Gus, I will wait to see what emerges and will share them if I have some.  I will also contact someone near me in St Clair who had a butterfly laying in Dec and he will no doubt have some of those emerged returning.  Most likely that some of the ones visiting me are hatched from his place.  If he has, he might be running out of swan plant.  Jacqui has sent me eggs before but I dont think you can ship caterpillars, but I may be wrong

    in reply to: The secret to migration? #30426

    Jennifer
    Participant

    On this same subject but a different approach including the study of NZ butterflies and DNA

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120531112607.htm

    in reply to: Dunedin monarch people? #29673

    Jennifer
    Participant

    Hi katrina,
    I can help, email: bradshaw at xtra.co.nz
    Thay do breed and overwinter by themselves down here. Except this year something seems to have decimated the population. Swan plants hardy in most of Dunedin but Taieri plains probably not so. I just grow themm in the garden.

    in reply to: Caterpillars and wind NOW #29447

    Jennifer
    Participant

    The time to worry about wind is when they have pupated. The pupa can be blown off as I can attest.

    in reply to: Too many caterpillars/not enough swan plant #29282

    Jennifer
    Participant

    Plenty of swan plant and milk weed no Monarchs here in St Clair, Dunedin

    in reply to: Threat to Tweedia! #27909

    Jennifer
    Participant

    It is not just a question of introduced species eating out a host, it is also a question of whether they might change their nature, breeding and so on in a new environment. Richard says “Asclepias curussavica and swan plant are less closely-related to moth plant (same tribe) and could not support beetle development.” I would like to know why the words “could not” are used here. Has there been any further data supplied by Richard?

    in reply to: People dont look up or butterfly blindness #27908

    Jennifer
    Participant

    Actually my husband’s sight is worse than his site, and far worse than my spelling! And the Gorilla research has been extended to a serious fight beside a path where the subjects were asked to watch the runner in front of them for various movements. More subjects failed to see the fight than did a control group who had (a) less onerous task(s). This is all from memory I cant remember the details but I am sure it will be available on-line somewhere.

    However neither experiment quite parallels Jim’s visual challenges: acuity, color blindness, double vision, glare induced fractured vision, retreating macular vision, and retreating visual processes with Alzheimers.

    Darren you do keep surprising me by the breadth of your knowledge

    in reply to: DOC jobs and NZ's conservation #27894

    Jennifer
    Participant

    I despair

Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 161 total)