Call me crazy…!

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  • #36401

    Kathleen24
    Participant

    My partner sure thinks I’m crazy! Yes, I’ve become quite fascinated (some might say obsessed) by Monarch butterflies and caterpillars since moving to the Kapiti Coast a year ago.

    Last summer, I raised about 30 or 35 butterflies, fraught at times with dwindling food supplies and runaway caterpillars (and the ones that didn’t make it for whatever reason). So this season, I was prepared: I had 8 surviving and thriving swan plants from last season, plus 1 that just survived, 2 new plants from Mitre 10, and a bunch of seedlings (thanks to a kind MBNZT member who gave me seeds). I thought maybe I could raise 100 or so butterflies over this summer.

    So… when I looked at my swan plants on Tues, and thought, “Gee, there’s quite a few caterpillars here”, I was not prepared for the headcount – there were (roughly) 151! The very next day, there seemed to be a major growth spurt (at the expense of my now precious swan plants) – heaps of fat caterpillars, chomping everything in sight. Today, I carefully picked off all the fat ones and brought them inside, and attached cut leaves and sliced pumpkin to a frame I’ve made.

    I now have 61 fat, well-fed caterpillars in my office, some of them already attached somewhere, ready to make their J. Yup, 61. And to think I haven’t seen that many butterflies….

    It’s going to be quite interesting in my office in a couple of weeks’ time!

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  • #36449

    Kathleen24
    Participant

    Thanks for encouraging me in my craziness! I am also now feeling surrounded. Probably because I keep bringing in more fat caterpillars each day.

    I now have about 40 chrysalises, a dozen Js, and another 30 wanderers. I’ve also had to rescue the chrysalises that were already on the plants – from back when they were lush and green, only a couple of weeks ago! – as the hungry hordes ate the leaves the chrysalises were on, leaving only the thinnest stalk (the vein of the leaf), or in fact chopped the chrysalis right off!

    I had to laugh at my silly caterpillars last week. I kept finding one or two of them lying on the ground still chomping on a half-eaten leaf that they, or one of the others, had chopped off the plant in their enthusiasm! Luckily, they seemed to have survived the fall…

    #36411

    Caryl
    Moderator

    Good for you Kathleen! We need more crazy ones like you and me. As I type this I am surrounded by about 45 chrysalis, 3 hatched so far. I haven’t counted my caterpillars outside, afraid to. I have bought more than 100 plants this season, maybe more and I have 60+ completely eaten that are sprouting again. I take cuttings off the longer stems and that seems to work too. I am in Wellington, Seatoun.

    #36406

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Great to hear, Kathleen! Hope that you’ll keep us updated with your 61 and more.

    Jacqui

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