2019 Winter season for monarchs

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    nigelrc
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    From observations in my garden in central Whangarei, this has been one of the best winters ever for monarchs. Wasps disappeared in early June, swan plants kept growing, butterflies were on the wing & laying eggs continuously through the winter. Larvae at all stages of development have occurred in bigger numbers than I can remember. Unfortunately the chrysalis stage seems most vulnerable to damage from fluctuations in temperature & heavy rain, & a number did not develop successfully. Nevertheless, I observed a small number of butterflies emerging through the winter months. There are still eggs & larvae on the swanplants but paper wasps are now on the wing again scouring the plants for eggs & small larvae 🙁. The autumn months also produced the best crop of Yellow Admiral larvae I have ever had on my 2 established nettle plants, though I subsequently noticed parasitic predation on 2 chrysalises.

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