And we have a Monarch! Our very first chrysalis hatched on Tuesday morning. I was so excited I ran down the stairs to the basement to my husband’s office to tell him, and I asked if he wanted to come see it. He was not as excited as I was. However he did eventually come up to check it out before I let her go.
I usually start with the Black Swallowtails, but today, we are all about the Monarchs.
We had reached a point where all of our cats were in chrysalis! It was very quiet in the tanks. Then I went and checked our milkweed, and found monarch eggs!
I debated whether or not I wanted to bring them in. I was finding the idea of raising them from eggs a little intimidating, but I know that we have so many different insects in our garden that they probably were not safe – spiders, wasps, all sorts of critters. I decided to chance it, so I left them. And the next day they were gone. After that, I brought in every egg that I found. If you are interested, you peel the leaf off, and place it carefully into a plastic container that has paper towel lining the bottom. You don’t need to worry about little air holes as you will be opening it at least twice a day to check on them, and also to spritz them gently with water. If you have more leaves with eggs than you have room for, you can cut the leaves into smaller pieces. Then you wait. And eventually you will see a teensy tiny baby caterpillar. At this point, I leave them a few days in this little nursery, since they are even smaller than they are here. When they get about this size or a little bigger, I move them to their own tank with more milkweed. And then just keep feeding them and letting them grow.
We were at this stage for a few days, and then Monday night I noticed one of the chrysalis was turning dark, a sign that it was getting close to eclosing! If I had not gone to bed, I would have eventually been able to see the wings through the chrysalis. When I got up the next morning, I was rushing, running late to Wyatt’s therapy and I just glanced into the room to see if there was a butterfly hanging around, and nope not yet. However, when we got home, there was!
I gave her a few hours to pump up her wings and let her dry, then took her out to release her. She hung out for a minute before flying away. This one I named Faye.
The others went into chrysalis right after this one had, so I am expecting a flurry of butterflies pretty soon!
So, now the Black Swallowtails!
I only had a few chrysalis left at last posting, three to be exact. Since then, two more have eclosed, both males.
The first photo is the butterfly I named for my stepfather Jerry, and the second one is named DeWayne, for a blogger friend’s father. Both took off immediately when I released them. I have been tracking this actually, and every male I have had has flown off immediately. Every female has let me hold her before flying away. I wonder if this trend will continue and what it means, if anything.
And when I released DeWayne, I found two more Black Swallowtail caterpillars.
So the tally, as of Tuesday afternoon when I am writing this:
5 released Black Swallowtail, 1 released Monarch, 14 Monarch chrysalis, 1 Black Swallowtail chrysalis, 2 Black Swallowtail caterpillars, 5 Monarch tiny babies, and 3 Monarch eggs, and 2 Black Swallowtail eggs. This could change before tomorrow morning but this is my tally as it stands right now.
You can see my other updates here!
Updated July 14th, 8:45 am:
When I woke up this morning, I had one more butterfly, still coming out of it’s chrysalis. Within the hour, two more eclosed, for a total of three new Monarchs. I will share their story next week!