A to Z of Raising Monarch Caterpillars

This topic contains 28 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Jacqui 6 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #34223

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Here’s a random thought… We (Jo, Caryl and I) have been discussing the material for the next magazine, and an idea was that we have an A to Z of Raising Monarch Caterpillars. This could become a page on our website.

    Who would like to suggest some tips for those people who are new to raising Monarchs and need to know such things as the problems that can arise, management of food, pest etc. Let’s see if we can find 26 points – one for each letter of the alphabet. I’ll start the ball rolling with an N and an O.

    N is for Net – cover your swan plant with a net such as a mosquito net to limit the amount of eggs that are laid on the plant and to discourage wasps from taking your caterpillars.

    O is for Ophryocystis elektroscirrha a protozoan (or simple form of animal) that infects Monarchs and is most likely to occur when they are under stress, overcrowded or on inferior food. If your Monarchs are dying as caterpillars, not forming chrysalises perfectly, or crippled butterflies are emerging, this could be the problem. Look in the forum for more information.

    Now it’s your turn!

Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 28 total)
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  • #35719

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hope you all enjoyed the column in the magazine. And now it’s been reproduced on Go Gardening’s website:

    http://www.gogardening.co.nz/page.php?mid=2&cid=&cid=984&process=article&title=Raising%20Monarchs%20is%20as%20easy%20as%20ABC

    #35431

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    I just want to thank you all for your contributions to this thread. It has made a fun article (and very useful too) in the Spring magazine which should be in your letterboxes in the next two weeks.

    WATCH THIS SPACE!!

    #34470

    David
    Participant

    Fine Tuning only – could ‘B’ stand for ‘Be Prepared’  referring to;

    b; bringing on new plants throughout the whole season and

    b; buddelja, [butterfly bush] pruning and maintenance to provide nectar supply

    #34469

    Anna
    Participant

    Caryl, that’s a good one for B…and important to get a head start with a few healthy plants right at the beginning of spring.

    #34468

    Caryl
    Participant

    Smother suggestion for B. Bringing swan plants through the winter for early food for the first generation. I have had great difficulty managing this and thus each season have to spend 100’s of $$ to buy new plants.

    #34464

    Caryl
    Participant

    I’m replying in response to Joanna’s comment we have to be brutal to be kind. I don’t think this way and if it’s a B comment let’s have beauty. We have to find a way to attract more people creating butterfly gardens and thus more swan plants so we can markedly affect the monarch population, otherwise they will keep on declining. Being brutal is not being kind, let’s find ways, each of us, to get more people interested. Caryl

    #34461

    joanna
    Participant

    Y for yarrow and other “weeds” much loved by butterflies and moths – dandelion, vetch, clover, NETTLES (of course!), various daisies, chicory, trefoil, speedwell, thistle, plantain. pennyroyal, regwort, wild radish and wild turnip, wild sweet pea. You may not win your street’s “Best Kept Garden” award but the butterflies, moths and other beneficial insects will love you for it!

    #34460

    joanna
    Participant

    Well nature is brutal…… and you have to be “cruel to be Kind” in some cases – kind to the species as a whole, for the reasons pepetuna outlined.

    #34456

    Caryl
    Participant

    Rather than k for killing I would have euthanasia, the correct term. Killing sounds so brutal.

    #34454

    Errol
    Participant

    How are we doing now, do we need a T still? If so then:

    Thorax, this is the midsection (or tagma) of an insects body. It holds the legs, wings and abdomen of a butterly and is in between the head and the abdomen.

    #34324

    Anna
    Participant

    …or that thought could be added to B for Buddleia?

    #34323

    Anna
    Participant

    R…perhaps?

    Regular tip pruning and feeding of Buddleia in pots or buckets ensures ample flowers for nectar, and make them ideal as a patio plant for people with limited garden space.

    #34307

    Kathleen24
    Participant

    I see we have Milkweed already, but S would have to be for Swan plant! I will defer to someone more knowledgeable than myself to write it.

    #34302

    Errol
    Participant

    Y. Yellow leaves at the very bottom of the swan plant are probably just old ones. But any further up suggest the plant is too dry, or is short of some particular mineral/s, or it could be a bit frost nipped.

    #34301

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Just home from the Waitakere Show – we still need:

    R

    S

    T

    Y

     

    #34291

    Errol
    Participant

    Jacqui – what letter do we still need?

     

    #34281

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Nearly there – I overlooked W for wasps, apologies Kate, Thanks Jo.

    #34278

    Errol
    Participant

    Unclean or Unwashed hatching castles can lead to caterpillars and or chysallids becoming infected.

    #34277

    joanna
    Participant

    M – milkweed: the family of plants which are the only ones that monarch caterpillars will feed on. They exude a milky sap which , when ingested by caterpillars feeding on the leaves, makes them toxic (and therefore unattractive) to nearly all birds.

    B – buddleia or “Buttefly Bush”:  arguably the flowers most favoured by many  butterflies.

    Pepetuna has done W – for wasps

    #34276

    Errol
    Participant

    I”ll tackle another difficult one: 

    Xerochasy – the opening of seed pods (such as swan plants) and the dispersal of the seeds, especially when in dry condition.

    Or:

    Xerochastic – in reference to seed pods (such as swan plants) that open when they dry out.

     

    #34275

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    This is looking great. Who can find answers for B, M, R, S, T, U, W, X and Y?

    Norm – as we already had a “p” I have put yours under “L”, LOOKING ahead.

    #34260

    Pepetuna
    Participant

    K is for…Killing. Killing humanely in cases of crippled and diseased butterflies can be done by cooling the butterfly and then putting it in the freezer for a day or two. it is distasteful to have to kill them, but allowing very diseased butterflies to breed or leave Oe spores all over the nectar flowers or milkweed for other butterflies to pass on to the new generation of caterpillars is worse.

    W Wasps. There are several kinds of wasps that are predators or parasitoids. See the MBNZT factsheet on wasps here https://www.monarch.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/wasps-fact-sheet.pdf

    #34259

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    P is for planning ahead, have as many plants in reserve and protected from egg laying as you have plants available to the butterflies, these will act as back- ups when all your available plants have been stripped, and will save the panic of starving caterpillars.

    #34254

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Going great – we need B K L M R S T U W X Y and we’re done!

    #34244

    Errol
    Participant

    I’ll try what may be a fifficult one: Q – queries for advice on breeding Monarchs, go to the MBNZT forum.

     

Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 28 total)

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