Help…!! New to raising Monarchs :-)

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  • #13633

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Hi there

    I have just joined this forum & really need some advice :-) We had some swan plants which ended up been inundated with caterpillars. It’s been great & the kids have really enjoyed watching them turn to chrysalises. I think Mother Nature is definately against us due to the cold snap, so after bringing them inside & gluing the chrysalises to toothpicks, we really didn’t think they would hatch due to been so late in the season.

    But….we have had one hatch this afternoon!! So lovely but really unsure what to do now!! I have a foodnet that I thought I could place the butterfly in once the wings dry out…..but what should we feed it?

    Ideally, it would be great if there is anyone in Wellington who has an enclosure that could take a butterfly & 12 more chrysalises.

    I really would appreciate any advice they you make be able to offer…….PS the kids named the caterpillar ‘Holly Caterpillar’ so we really would like to do the best thing for ‘Holly Butterfly’ !! :-))

Viewing 13 replies - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
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  • #20556

    Swansong
    Participant

    Thats great bojoura, and welcome to the forum. 🙂

    Swansong

    #20555

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    thanks Swansong – I’ll shall make them all a good home.

    #20554

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi bojoura
    Unless you are in the winterless north I would bring ALL inside.

    1st, bring all the pillars in and place in a warm but not too dry temperature, preferably on a potted swanplant, but if thats not an option, then cuttings in water would be good. Try to make it so the pillars cant fall into the water. I usually push something down the side of the bottle neck/vase so as to make a “tight fit”. Keep the water up. They (the cuttings) drink lots.

    For hanging chrysalis’ that are on a fixed surface, dampen the chrysalis’ woven silk area surrounding it. This can be even a couple of Square inches. Then prise it off gently with a needle held at a very accute angle starting from the outer area 1st. For those hanging on leaves or other removable sources just pick the leaf off or cut the stem (or whatever) and put it on a peg. Try to keep the angle that it was hanging at as you saw it.

    Theres lots of added helpful info on the questions you ask, in the forum. Just type in a keyword in the search box and/or use the tags to the right.

    HTHs
    Cheers
    Swansong

    #20553

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Hi there, I’m also new to raising monarch butterflies. I have managed to grown swanplants from seed and currently have several caterpillars of varying sizes, some have started to hang upside down and doing their transformation. this morning i was witness to one splitting out of its ‘caterpillar’ skin and it was wiggling about lots. Then it fell to the ground and splatted to its death. i’m now worried about all the other caterpillars and am keen to get some advise as to how to transfer the caterpillars to the inside.
    1. The ones that are already hanging upside down and no longer eating – do I leave them on the plant, they are hanging up quite high and i’m worried that they’ll drop too.
    2. the ones that are still eating – should i leave them outside until they start hanging?

    thanks to whoever can help me with this.

    #20534

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Good, good – all is well in Wellie – apart from the weather.
    Thanks Clair.
    And thanks Carleen for finding us.
    Best
    Trisha

    #20529

    Clair
    Participant

    Hi Patz, Carleen and I have been talking today. Strange about the email, but all’s well, so many thanks for putting us in touch. Carleen is an absolute treasure, and is going to be a very valuable member of the MBNZT 🙂

    #20524

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Hello Carleen – welcome to MBNZT.
    I am so glad you have the butterfly “bug”.
    Hope Holly Butterfly is doing OK today.
    Such a a lovely experience for children to see their caterpillars transform. Good mummy you for doing this for them – as well as the Monarchs 🙂
    I have put you and Clair in touch via email.
    Clair’s email to me didn’t arrive until this morning for some strange reason. We don’t share email addresses without mutual consent for privacy reasons – so sorry for the delay.

    Best
    Trisha

    #20517

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Hi All….

    All your advice is sooooo good!

    Only homemade nectar from now on but it’s excellent to know that Holly can last till Friday/Sat 🙂

    Thank you for your offer, Claire, to take Holly & Co…….we are very tempted as we are in a very small place & altho’ I would love to have them through winter, the practical side of me would just find that too difficult. We just don’t have the space so it’s fab that we can ‘adopt’ them out :-)))!!

    I will look forward to your email so we arrange something……

    I just want to thank you all so much for your wonderful advice……we will definately be doing this again when the weather is better (it’s been a shocker down here today!) It’s has been a great experience that started out just for the kids but we have had an absolute kick out of it.

    We’ve taken some fab photos & have completely fallen in love with these wonderful creatures that turn into something even more beautiful than the caterpillars themselves……

    Cheers
    Carleen 🙂

    #20513

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi again.

    Wow thats good youve got them in….after I saw the weather tonight on TV its brutal stuff out there tonight!. Good move to bring the plants in, in pots. Just keep the plants moist with water especially if they are in a warm room, as they can still dry out.

    They say that moisturizing the chrysalis is a good idea and most certainly wouldnt hurt, though I dont remember doing this myself.

    What I find is imperative though, is that you keep the chrysalis’ out of direct sunlight, like through windows, as their wings can dry, much more quickly, and it can make the difference between success and failure. Especially at this time of the year when there tends to be more casualties with the new hatches. One big potential problem is they can take aaaages to hatch. I have actually moisturized a new hatch that was being slow on it, and the wings were taking ages to fill out. This was done over some steam that was, of course, far enough away not to “cook” the butterfly.

    Just to clarify about my comments about temperature. Butterflies should go to a cooler room, but I think it is good practice to keep the chrysalis in a warm room because they wont tolerate as colder temps as the pillarz and butterflies can, though I have my pillarz in the warmest area also, otherwise they really slow up and thats not so good. Therefore if your hall is cold I would get the chrysalis’ to the warmest room in your house.

    It’ll be better to just leave any new hatches alone and they can just hang there for even 2 days without moving at this time of the year…(other than flexing their wings)

    Now as for releasing, there are 3 courses of action you can basically take. Keep them with you throught the winter, OR wait till the weather brightens up and then just release them in a park, OR find a cluster and release them there.

    There are some wonderful ideas that people have brought out on this forum about practical tips and innovative ideas.

    One of those was a little homemade netted enclosure which I copied (well umm tried to copy :-]]] ) which housed my very last butterflies that I decided to keep right through the winter last year. There were about 7. I fed them twice a week. This was easy to manage and shift. I found it was not good to keep them in a cold room all the time. So it was a learning curve. This is not for everyone, because it can be a bit time consuming if you have more than just a few butterflies.

    Cheers
    Swansong

    #20512

    Clair
    Participant

    Hi Carleen

    As J says it’s great to see you here – and I’m particularly pleased, because I’m also from Wellington and love to meet local people with the “monarch bug”.

    Yes, don’t rush out to buy those chrysanthemums – my experience with local garden centres tells me you would be wasting your time and money. There’s precious little high nectar plants that grow in Welly and flower at this time of year at the best of times – and the last couple of storms have wiped out a lot of that. I fear that artificial nectar is probably the way to go right now.

    I’ve asked one of our administrators to give you my contact deatils. If you really want it, I can take your butterfly and chrysalides, but I’m also happy to provide advice and lend you some equipment to get you through if that’s the way you would like to go.

    As for drying out – yes they can. Outside they would get morning dew at the best of times weatherwise; inside they get very little moisture. I have found that I get the best results for inside chrysalides if I give them a fine spray of water each morning to mimic the dew – otherwise the shell is so dry that it doesn’t split easily to let the emerging butterfly out quickly.

    And panic not! Holly butterfly will not need to feed until Friday – Saturday. You can take her from the shell and put her in the foodsafe whenever she will crawl onto your finger. I never touch their wings for the first 24 hours – that may be a little excessive, but better safe than sorry!

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    #20509

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hi Carleen

    Great to see you here. Y ou’ll get lots of info from people like Swansong and others.

    One word of warning… you may not want to buy the chryssies from the local supermarket or any garden centre. These plants are often stunning new varieties which have been bred specifically to please the eye of people (you and me) and the plant inventors/breeders etc do not give much thought to nctar quality, so you’ll find that they don’t have much nectar. You are better finding someone in your neighbourhood who has chrysanthemums in bloom right now, and ask them if you can have some cuttings. They will probably be pruning their plants back soon anyway. Plants from old-fashioned gardens, or wild plants (roadside weeds etc) which haven’t been tampered by people are usually the most rich in nectar.

    Hope that’s helpful.

    Jacqui

    #20507

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Hi Swansong….

    Thanks so much for your reply……..it’s awesome!! I can totally relate as to why people are passionate about Monarchs. It’s really unbelievable just how beautiful they are…..I think we’ve definitely caught the ‘Monarch Bug’ :-))!!

    We have all the chrysalises inside- we had actually moved the plants(they were in pots) with the caterpillars on them, inside quite a few weeks ago. We were waiting until they all chrysalised……that’s when we started the ‘gluing process’. I’m really not sure how the remaining crysalises will do- they are hanging in the hall. I did read somewhere that they need moisture…..is that true? Should I spray them lightly with water as I wouldn’t want them to dry out…..sudden thought……do they dry out??

    ‘Holly’ is doing well…..the small outer wings are still crinkled along the edges but she seems all good. When is it ‘safe’ to take her down from the empty chrysalis shell & place her in the foodsafe? Do they fly when they are hungry, looking for food?

    Thanks also for the referral to the ‘nectar’ link……it’s great …..lot’s of information. The kids are all keen to buy some chrysanthemums from the local supermarket to feed Holly when she’s ready!

    I hope my questions aren’t too silly…….it’s just that once you get started, there’s seemingly so much too know….all very exciting :-))!!

    #20506

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi Carleen and welcome!
    Well youve done well so far. 1st things 1st. We need to take care of this “Holly” now dont we :))). I would have all the butterflys and caterpillars inside if possible, especially with this coldsnap coming through. Bleak as. Id say its simply too cold now for chrysalis’ to be outside at all anywhere south of Auckland, and most certainly in Welly.

    Now, I wouldnt worry for a day or 2 for the butterflys feeding, as they usually wont feed straight away. Fresh flowers are the best and if you click on the word nectar to the right there, you’ll be able to find out more about which plants are suitable.

    In the meantime … I use a honey and water mixture. The honey I like to be the syrupy brown natural type. Just get a plastic lid with some (unscented) tissue paper and moisten it well, then put droplets or “knifepoints” of honey here and there around the edge. They taste the food through their feet, so they will feed when they are ready, though some can be a bit slow to get the idea.

    Try to keep them in a coolish room where they wont get too hot. This is for a number of reasons, one being, when you release them it wont be such a shock to the system.

    I release mine (Im in the Manawatu) on a nice day at the park. It is better if possible for them to be released where there is a cluster. Anybody near you will be glad to pass on that knowledge here if there is one they know of.

    Please keep us posted and we’d be glad to help with anymore questions. 🙂

    Cheers Swansong

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