So here we are. All of my monarchs have grown up and flown away. I have about twelve black swallowtails in chrysalis, and one straggler caterpillar I found the other day outside and brought in before a big storm. I worried it wouldn’t make it, so I have one last lonely caterpillar hanging out.
I think we are all going to miss them, even the cats.
As you can see, two decided my hair looked like a good place to hang out. I was pretty nervous that they were going to get all tangled up in it and get injured lol. I carefully extracted them and they flew away. I think it was a goodbye.
I released my last monarch on September 12. I named her Persephone and she took off before I could get a photo. She was quite large, and I believe she was a super monarch, heading for the south. Hopefully she will return to me next year, that would be pretty cool!
As for the remaining black swallowtails, they can overwinter. On October 1st, I will be putting them in cold storage to protect them until spring.
Next year, I am definitely tagging. So next fall all of you down there in Texas be prepared to check tags on monarchs and see if they came from my house!
The statistics: This summer I released nineteen female monarchs, twenty male monarchs, nine male black swallowtails, and six female black swallowtails (of my own). When Chrissy was gone I released about fifteen butterflies that were hers that she had raised. And I named all of mine – all 54!
Starting from the beginning, July 5th, the first day I released butterflies this summer: Arthur Blue, Barbara, Marion, Jerry, DeWayne, Faye, Janet, Larry, Scarlet, George, Peter, Frank, Captain, Wendy, Penny, Loki, Thor, Odin, Freya, Cavendish, Kerouac, Jack, Sarah, Ice Cream, Fitzgerald, Orion, Wilde, Andromeda, Bellatrix, Cordelia, Leo, Oberon, Juliet, Orlando, Apollo, Soleil, Cielo, Cosmo, Portia, Konane, Leilani, Makani, Skye, Maisie, Millie, Jinx, Winnie, Hazel, Mamie, Guthrie, Percival, Primrose, Whitaker, and finally, Persephone.
I may still end up with a black swallowtail or two but my numbers won’t change too much now. I am already looking forward to next year! Next spring I plan on writing a post on how to do this yourself if you are interested in it. It is easy and inexpensive, and I love it. It never gets old watching a butterfly eclose or waking up to see one had been born overnight. Then setting them free, watching them fly high and wondering where their journey will take them next! And just being part of something that helps out their population is so rewarding. If you are curious about the next step, you can read about it here!
I can’t express how much I enjoyed this. I can’t wait until it all begins again next year!