Monday, June 20, 2016

Butterfly Garden Notes, 6/18/2016 and 6/19/2016

This weekend was HOT.  Friday started off in the 90s and then the rest of the weekend was well over 100 degrees.  This was a dramatic change from last weekend’s cool, damp weather.  Over the course of the weekend I saw the following butterflies in my garden:  Skippers, Duskywings, Cabbage Whites, Sulphurs, Marine Blues and on Sunday, I spotted another Hairstreak.

There were two monarch caterpillars munching away on the milkweed on the patio.  One is a bit larger then the other, but they are both in or near their 5th instar.  Friday evening when I was watering the patio, I noticed that the larger of the two had crawled off the milkweed.  I assumed he went off to find a place to pupate, but as I continued to water I saw the poor little guy crawling across the patio soaking wet from my garden hose.  I put my finger down on the ground, and he crawled up onto it.  I placed him back on the milkweed, and he stayed there chomping away until late Sunday afternoon.  After that he was gone.  As of this morning (Monday, June 20), only the one caterpillar remains.  I suppose by evening he will also have ventured off to find a place to make a chrysalis.  Good luck little buddy!

I have not noticed any new monarch caterpillars or eggs on either the milkweed on the patio or on the front porch.  The little ones on the front porch that I’ve seen in the past don’t seem to last very long.  The front of the house gets a lot of wasps, so I think they have a lesser chance of surviving.  I’ve had more luck with caterpillars on the back patio making it to their 5th instar.  I just wish the patio was more open and visible.  Nevertheless, the monarch butterflies do seem to be finding the milkweed there.  I have it on the top plant shelves and now that it is growing taller, it is more visible over the patio walls.  When I go searching I always seem to find monarch eggs in both places (front porch and patio), so they are coming to the garden, but obviously not every egg hatches to become a full grown caterpillar and then a butterfly since I am raising them “in the wild” and not in a cage.  I should also note that this weekend I saw a female cabbage white ovipositing on the cleome and nasturtium on the front porch.  I’ve seen her lay eggs there before but have yet to see any caterpillars.

In other news, I am excited to report that the eggs that were on the dill I brought home last weekend have hatched.  The caterpillars are getting big enough to identify now, and I can see at least 3 which I believe to be swallowtails.

Monarch caterpillars on Milkweed
Skipper
Marine Blue

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