Winter Butterflies

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    I am amazed at the hardiness of the caterpillers. It has only been frosts over the past fortnight that have ended the season. I still have chrysallises inside waiting to hatch.

    Based in Cambridge, do the released butterflies in June have any chance of surviving more than a week or so? Can anyone tell me where the Monarchs that appear in October have been wintering?



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    Sounds wonderful, Neil! I can picture you there enjoying it. 🙂



    Now the end of August I want to record the pleasure Lynley and I have experienced all winter from the many Monarchs flying about in our garden for the entirety of winter. We have had it seems sufficient food for them, though I have worried there was not enough and feel we must give this aspect more attention. Simply, if we are to continue producing many Monarchs then we have a responsibility to ensure the survival of those that over winter. For several weeks now I have noticed new eggs continually appearing on the swan plants,—-I’ve not seen any hatchings so assume they get washed off or perhaps die in the cold. It has been a relatively cold winter in the north, more than average for frosts,—well sure has seemed that way.

    Just today I came home about 3-30pm, wife working in her flower garden, sun shining, I was able to have a delicious red wine for arbo and sit on the steps watching her and 12-20 monarchs happily co-habiting around the garden. Heaven indeed.



    The chances would be zero, Junerin.



    We have a butterfly that has lost its top wings (snail?) Any chance of it learning to fly?



    Hi Jazz

    Great to hear what you are doing too.

    Not sure what the forecast is like for the Hawkes Bay over the next few days, but the Monarchs will probably be better kept cool and dark. We humans like our indoor temperature to be like midsummer, so if our Monarchs get the same treatment it must be confusing for them – they went from an egg to a pupa in wintry conditions, then suddenly it’s warm (when they would naturally be in diapause) and then when they get put outside everything tells them it’s winter.

    If it’s wintry outdoors, then the Monarchs will not be looking for food (nectar) – their system goes into a sort of suspended animation whereby they reserve all their energy, waiting for the sunny days. When the sun shines and it gets warm, they will fly about and top up their nectar supplies.

    So until you get an opportunity to release them, try and keep them as “wintry” as possible – without the wet and wind, frosts and snow, of course. 🙂



    Graham1 I have the same problem I currently have 3 butterflies waiting to be released and 10 still to hatch and one cterpiller in a j. I have had them in a tall washing basket with a vase full of lavender and other stuff they can hang onto. The weather has been so wet in Hawkes Bay that I haven’t wanted to let them go. The have feed a couple of times in the last few days and seem happy enough. I have decided to let them go when it looks like we have 2 or 3 days of fine weather in a row. I have a reserve near by that has heaps of trees and is quite sheltered so hope they will be OK. I feel quite attached to them now but I guess they can’t all live inside till spring arrives. I am guessing that they can survive the winter if they find the right place to shelter and they are released on a sunny warmish day.

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