butterflies not moving

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  • #13188

    margie
    Participant

    HELP!! HELP!! I am after all the advice I can get re my butterflies that have and are due to hatch late. They are not showing any signs of moving off. The ones I put outside days ago are still there with some lying on the ground. I have brought them inside and put them on the swan plant and there they are hanging with very little movement. Some I have tried to feed with sugar water using a tooth pick to uncoil their probis but they are not that interested in feeding either. I am afraid I am going to lose them all as I still have about 40 chrysalis to hatch and about 10 pillars.

    There is not much blooming down here at the beach at this time so I don’t know where they would get feed if they did fly away. I haven’t got the time to feed them all manually. We are getting good frosts here now and it is quite cold during the day.

    Will they feed themselves if I put a feeding station in the butterfly house that is nearly finished and put them all on a couple of swan plants and leave them in there for the winter. Any feed back would be greatfully appreciated.

Viewing 12 replies - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
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  • #18225

    margie
    Participant

    No snow down here but on the hills Mt Hutt has snow so that makes it quite cold here frosts will be very hard I think.
    Overcast today with drizzle butterflies safe and warm though. (: (:
    Margie

    #18221

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hope it goes well for you Margie. Did you get snow where you are?

    #18219

    margie
    Participant

    Well swansong I have decided to put them all in the butterfly house for the winter if they cope with it okay. After coming home from work tonight and finding some of the butterflies I released the other day on the ground outside, so they are not managing to cluster up down here. If they show any signs of stressing in the butterfly house I will have to re think but I will give it a go over the weekend.
    Cheers Margie

    #18210

    Swansong
    Participant

    Ah OK, thanks Gill. Same as me, as in, you have to initiate the feeding. Ive never seen any of mine actually fly to my food Ive got for them. Hehe, maybe if I paint some flowers a piece of cloth or something…just thinking aloud : ) I like your idea about the saucer.

    Swansong

    #18209

    Gilly
    Participant

    Swansong – I keep them in a little glassed-in area at our front door. I put them on plants, and flowers and hang them off various things and when the morning sun hits this room and they start moving about, I get them to climb on my finger and then put them on the edge of the plate and they generally just start feeding and move off when they have finished.

    #18204

    Swansong
    Participant

    I just saw the weather and it doesn’t look good at all in your area Margie??? Might be a good idea to just keep them inside in the meantime. Your spare room sounds just fine.

    Im trying to find out more about clusters as are others here, as I believe it is an area where there is still many questions. Someone commented that they dont generate heat so Im wondering if it is a company thing, where they actually rely on each others company. Of course thats just me in my thoughts. Anyway, I think if thats the case and if I didn’t have a cluster to take them to, then they can hang around here [literally : ) ] and chill out for a while.

    I didnt realize they only need 1 feed of nectar before hibernating??? WOW, Ive learnt something. Thanks for that info.

    Ive just got another one hatched a coupla minutes ago, 5 chrysalii, 1 hockey stick, 2 big pillarz and 1 small, and 2 teenie weenies to go. Thats my statistics for the day : ).

    Hope all goes well with that cold snap coming.

    “I feed mine once or twice a day on honey and water mix…. in a saucer, mix 1/4 tsp of honey with hot water, let it cool… I put a paper towel over top and let them slurp through..”

    Gill do your butterflys come and feed themselves or do you have to place them on the saucer?

    Swansong

    #18203

    margie
    Participant

    Don’t know of any clusters down her Swansong have been walking around looking for them in the trees but haven’t found them yet. A neighbour has just tracked down a wasps nest and put an end to that, it is pleasing as they were big wasps.
    You are right they are worse in the morning because the house isn’t as warm 1st thing in the morning. I have a few coming to life now that the house is warm and the lights are on so I am feeding them and putting them in the spare room meantime and I will see what the weather is like tomorrow although the snow is meant to be coming.
    Take care Margie

    #18202

    margie
    Participant

    Thanks for that Gill trying anything and everything
    Margie

    #18201

    Gilly
    Participant

    I’ve got 16 monarchs inside at present…. keep them cool…. I feed mine once or twice a day on honey and water mix…. in a saucer, mix 1/4 tsp of honey with hot water, let it cool… I put a paper towel over top and let them slurp through….or I found today in a garden chrysanthemum flowers and went and pinched them 🙂 they loved wandering over them and nectaring…. good luck!

    #18200

    margie
    Participant

    Thank you to all that have helped and thank you Jacqui for the contact you gave me.
    I have found out from a very knowledgeable source that at this time of the year you only need to give the butterflies one good feed of nectar before releasing them. That is enough to get them through winter so I am at ease now. I don’t need to worry about how much feed is around here. 3 of my butterflies have started moving in the last half hour so have given them a good feed and if the weather is fine tomorrow I will feed them again in the morning and put them outside as there are plenty of conifers here to shelter them. PHEW!!
    Cheers Margie

    #18199

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi margie, yes the frost and cold can really “wind them down”. When we think of them in the wild, apparently they can sit for days like in a “semi hibernation mode”. They come out on fine days to feed. Apparently they will feed on weedy type flowers like in your lawn. Do you have those around?

    Now I know how you feel though because if they are “lying on the ground” because they are weak, well that IS upsetting. Ive had that too, like in times past I’ve had it where they haven’t moved off and then just fallen, but not often and quite sometime ago. At the time I may have been fooled by them just in a wound down mode coz I didnt know any better.

    What I would do is, as you suggest, put them in your butterfly house, and see if you can set up a feeding station. Unless you know of a cluster nearby somewhere, that is about all you can do. Just remember too that they can “act” very very tardy when theyre cold. It is surprising how they “come to life” after the sun has warnmed them for a while. Also remember that while they are not moving, they are conserving energy. I’ve got 4 hanging around inside besides Buddie#3 and I will wait until I get a suitable day and release them in a cluster Ive found out about. When I go to see how they are earlier in the morning I dont try and shift them unless they are right in the way of the curtain track or something, and its then they are really “dozy” and slow.

    Please let us know how you go

    Swansong

    #18198

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I’m sure others will give you more comprehensive advice than I can, but I have had butterflies emerging during a cold spell which just hung – didn’t seem to be very interested in food (crawled off cut flowers e.g. buddleia) and didn’t fly away when I put them outside. I persevered with the feeding if they were older than 2 days – once I got them to take it the first time, they would feed each day. I put them outside only if I could put them in the sun, and if they didn’t fly away while the sun was out, I would bring them in and wait for the next sunny day. In this way, they all eventually took off – one I had around for 8 days, but she did eventually go 🙂 Don’t give up on trying the release would be my advice from my limited experience – good luck, and let us know how you go.

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