Collecting Monarch butterfly eggs

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  • #37708


    How do you collect the eggs? The leaves they are on will die, does that not matter if put with fresh plant material?

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  • #37860


    I put leaves with the eggs in petri dishes, or small plastic lidded containers that are lined with barely damp handy towel. The leaves last several days like that, then i carefully transfer any tiny hatchlings, one by one with the tip of a fine paintbrush, onto fresh leaves.



    To remove eggs from milkweed leaves, you can use a spray bottle (mister) with water in it – and a child’s paintbrush. You dampen the leave/silk/egg and then push the brittles at the egg until the egg lifts off onto the bristles – then “paint” it on to wherever you want it.



    I collect the eggs on/with the leaf, and put the leaves in a plastic box with the lid on, until the eggs hatch, when I move the caterpillars into a castle, laying them at the base of a potted milkweed plant (still on the leaves, so I don’t have to touch the caterpillars). The leaves don’t wilt in the plastic containers with the lid on, and the caterpillars don’t seem to need any more air when 1st or 2nd instar. You do have to be careful you don’t get a build-up of condensation on the sides and top of the plastic container. I just clear the water off with a tissue. You also need a tissue on the bottom of the container, and it probably absorbs some of the water. The advantages of this method is that it is quick, you don’t have to be ultra-careful, and you never touch the caterpillar. Touching the caterpillars should be avoided as they can get bacteria off your hands.

    I believe other people use different methods: I think Norm cuts a small triangle of leaf out with the egg on it (so he wouldn’t get the transpiration/condensation issues) and Jacqui takes the eggs off the leaves, but I will leave them to tell you about these methods 🙂

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