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    Natasha Silcock

    Hi to everyone and thanks for responses to my posts. Sorry to hear about your trouble, Swansong, I sure hope things go well for you. God bless. Thanks for your contribution to my wee girl yawning, yes, I’ve seen blackbirds yawning too (a one-second affair).

    I’ve heard about the dreaded O.E that afflicts monarchs. In planting my butterfly-friendly garden, can this be minimised or avoided at all? Or do I just have to hope for the best?

    Hope to get some help with this one.

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    Hi Natasha, welcome to the board and thanks for your kind thoughts.

    Ha, yes, a BB yawning is about as quick as a Kingfisher :). Dont know why but these sort of things amuse me.

    Theres lots of posts about OE, which I dont know a lot about and there are much more knowledgeable folks than I on this.

    Heres a few things Id recommend though. Theres things we can do to minimize disease in general like planting our swanplants interspersed with other plants, making sure we get rid of any dead butterflies/pillars/chrysalis’ in a hygenic way. I prefer burning. Disease doesnt argue well with flame. This may not be practical in cities where you are not allowed both an open fire outside or fireplaces/log burners, inside.

    If you are looking at having your Monarchs inside (whether that is in your house [like me] or an outside butterfly house) at all, at any stage, obviously more care needs to be taken as you dont have the same environment like fresh air etc. Ventilation is a must. Without it, these conditions can make it spread much quicker.

    It all depends on where you are situated geographically, as to what setup you need if you want an extended season, as things can differ considerably between those of us who have to endure frosts, and those who dont. For outside situations, if I dont miss my guess, OE would be more of a prob up north.

    Anywayz, if you do a search on OE here, there’s a wealth of info on this.




    Hello Natasha

    Good to hear from you.

    Basically, Oe is present in the wild (just like the common cold). So you can only get rid of it if you have everything sterile – and you can’t do that outdoors.

    Once again, just like the cold or flu, it builds up where those affected are in high density populations, so don’t plant a lot of milkweed all together in one spot – make sure you have plenty of other plants in between the various plants.

    (Look at my clover flea story – nothing to do with butterflies but all to do with biodiversity, Nature and disease control. I’m sure a lot of the regular readers/posters are sick to death of hearing about it!)

    Disease and Nature

    Monarchs are the only one affected by Oe. On butterfly farms they collect and wash the eggs in a mild peroxide solution, then let them emerge in sterile, plastic containers, bringing clean milkweed to the caterpillars. Highly unnatural, but it does control Oe. They also test their adults for Oe, and will destroy any breeding females that show they have Oe. There are tests elsewhere.

    Hope that’s helpful.

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