Saturday, August 20, 2022

2022 Monarch Releases


I have released 26 Monarchs as of 8/20 with 2 in the chrysalis stage and one still munching on leaves. I have a Monarch momma out in the garden still laying eggs. Which is good since we had a late start to the season in the Davenport, Iowa area because cool spring weather.

I released this year’s first Monarch on 7/25. Last year I had released 23 before that date.

I collect eggs laid outside in my suburban garden dedicated to milkweed and from other people who ask me to take in their eggs.

Last year, I lost a lot of caterpillars with them turning black and dying. I had one with OE. I also had caterpillars parasitized.

This year, I’ve only lost three to turning black and dying: one hatchling, one large cat, one in a chrysalis on the second day. No sign of OE this year. No parasites.

I took in four large cats, close to final stage, just to see how they are doing health wise in the main garden. I believe that is where my failures came from. (I had them isolated in containers.) The hatchling came from nearby and was one of four eggs I hatched. I’m not sure if it died because of something I did or didn’t do. I have had trouble in the past with hatching eggs, leaves drying up too soon. I did better this year with daily moisturizing small individual leaf sections with each egg and placing them on whole leaves, everything stayed viable longer. I then placed the hatchlings on milkweed cuttings I gathered from the yard (escapees from the garden area). This was very much like the racks of test tubes that are sold on some sites, only I’m using small bottles.

I began noticing the differences between caterpillars last year and figured out which ones were going south, or somewhere else. It’s interesting that the majority of my released butterflies this year have been larger females and are not staying around. Out of 26, I’ve seen 5 males. Not like past years at all.

I’ve had a registered Monarch Waystation since 2014 and started raising caterpillars in 2019 when I got tired of not seeing any adult butterflies.

No comments:

Post a Comment