Collecting eggs

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  • #49790


    People often ask me how I raise so many butterflies. So this is MY way (currently) to share with you – and it’s not set in concrete, just works for me. You might get some ideas from this – or maybe you’d like to contribute your own way.

    Monarch eggs, also eye shadow brush and takeaway container

    When we collect the eggs I trim most of the swan plant away, leaving just a patch about the size of a man’s shirt button. Otherwise the leaf will dry out and curl up.

    Sometimes when I don’t want to waste green matter, I will gently put my thumb over an egg, push it GENTLY from side to side and then roll the egg off the leaf. Have only lost a few doing that.

    The eggs go into a Chinese takeaway container. I spritz the paper towel (plain paper, no perfume or “additives”) so it’s just damp. Then I put the lid on.

    Each day I check the container for little caterpillars. As soon as you see frass (caterpillar poo) you know that some have emerged. That’s when my old eye makeup brush comes into its own. The bristles are very soft and I gently push it onto the caterpillar so it’s on the end of the bristles.

    I have already brought a young swan plant in a pot into my work area. I check it carefully for predators first. Then I paste the caterpillar onto a leaf or stem. Quite often the caterpillar “panics” and spins a long thread of silk and drops down on that. Easy! I just wrap the silk around the leaf or stem.

    If I’m going to be away for a day or more, and won’t be able to check the containers, this is where the florists’ tubes come into their own. These can be bought from a florists’ supplies outlet. They are little “test tubes” with a soft rubber cap with a hole in so you can put one flower into water without it leaking. Sometimes (but not always) I put a sprig of milkweed into the same container as the eggs – especially if the eggs have been rolled off a leaf.

    Hope that makes sense and is helpful to others.

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  • #49958

    Dane Keriboi Hawker

    Im going to give it ago and raise some inside. Wasps are getting everything and I havent even managed one this summer.



    I would describe it as “moist” rather than “damp”. Not very scientific, I’m afraid!



    I have a little batch of about three eggs. A female has been hanging round a few days feeding and seemingly trying to lay eggs … I could see an egg attached to her but she seemed to be struggling to stick it to a leaf … then I could see other eggs seeming to collect there. So I carefully got her and brushed the little clump off and released her. she flew off and then came back and is now resting on the plant.
    So, I have a little collection of eggs that I’ve put onto dampened tissues. Do the tissues need to be kept quite wet? not soggy but continually quite damp?




    I collected some ‘hens’eggs today. It was Wiri Prince.



    I think temperature does make a difference but haven’t got any proof of that and can’t guarantee that the eggs I collect are all “just laid’. Should maybe follow an ovipositing female around and then keep the eggs separate… but don’t have time…

    Not much help am I!!!



    Jacqui, do you find the eggs take generally the same length of time to hatch or does the temperature make a difference?

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