New..and a few qs.


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  • #12890


    Hi, I’m new to this whole ‘monarch business’ and looking for some advice. I’m in Christchurch and have spent the last month or so watching two monarch caterpillars devour some milkweed which randomly started growing around the base of my letterbox post. Last week both of them (Bert and Ernie! lol) stopped eating and began wandering around, mainly along my front fence then they disappeared. Luckily the next day one turned up again back on the milkweed and went into the j-formation on a broken piece of milkweed. I observed off and on for 24 hours and nothing happened. We’ve had cold wet weather here for the last 5-6 days and I assumed it had died. However, this morning it was warmer and to my surprised it went into a chrysalis after hanging for nearly 5 days! Is this normal? Now I’m wondering if I should move it? It’s in a fairly exposed spot and the frost are due to start shortly….how hardy are they? Should I bring it inside? If so, where should I put it?

    Also, I’ve hunted around my garden looking for the other one (Ernie). How far do the roam? Is it likely to be somewhere in the near vicinity or should I give up looking?

    If someone has any answers for me I’d be greatful.



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  • #16237


    No they won’t – they’ll be equally fascinated. 🙂 Just you watch!!!





    Thanks Jacqui,

    Bert is now safely inside and residing on a branch which is sitting across the top of a large jar on my kitchen window sill.

    And I found Ernie! I widened my search area. He’s hanging from the bottom of one of the weatherboards on the side of my house. I’ll leave him be..he’s nice and sheltered where he is. lol…He must be the smarter of the two.

    My family think I have flipped. lol. The kids have already been looking sideways at my ‘mother hen fussing’ over the caterpillars, when they get home from school and see the crysalis on the window sill they’ll be calling for the straight-jackets I’m sure.



    Hi Maxie

    That’s absolutely normal. You might find that Ernie has done the same thing but in a different position – they like walls and tree branches and things – he might be hard to find.

    I would suggest that you remove the whole leaf and bring it inside in a window where you can watch it. The next ten or so days are miraculous to be checking up on each day.

    If you remove the leaf – or even the branch of weed it’s on, you can then put it in a vase. Or you can bring a branch inside and using a spring clothespeg, pin the leaf with chrysalis on it, onto the branch.

    They have been known to roam about 30 yards away from where their milkweed – aren’t they amazing little things? One wandered across a man’s yard, up a rotary clothesline, out the ‘strut’, down the line and attached itself to the bottom of a piece of washing. The man left that particular garment out there until the butterfly emerged.

    Keep up the good work, Maxie! Post any questions in here, and someone will answer them, I’m sure.

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