Low numbers of Monarchs, caterpillars and eggs this year

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  • #13600

    Mike Fox
    Participant

    This year I have noticed that the number of Monarchs, caterpillars and eggs this season are very low. My lawn mowing man says he has not seen as many Monarchs as normal and his parents have a big swan plant and it’s normally half stripped at this time of the year but not so this year. I have heaps of swan plant left. Not sure what the problem is. I live in Milford, Auckland.

    Have seen and killed lots of wasps but not noticed a great increase on last year. Had a few praying mantis but not an increase on last year.

    I have a small shade cloth greenhouse which I use to stop the wasps getting the caterpillars. I can’t find many small Caterpillars to put in my shade house. On one day last year I released 98 Monarch butterflies, all of which had come out in the last 2 days. It was a record but several other days had been 20 to 50 per day. This season I don’t think I have release 50 yet.

    One thing I have notices is the eggs are not hatching. I have brought a few inside and they start to turn from white and look as if they are nearly ready to come out but just go black and died.

    The only other difference this year is I have a few black growths on one of the swan plants. They are all black and a bit smaller in size than a lady bird. Inside they have a small white crescent shaped grub. Not sure what they turn into.

    Have you noticed of low numbers or got any theories ?

    My YouTube videos:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Vw4-FnAtgw

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaGHotmRdk8

    Mike Fox

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
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  • #42603

    Nola
    Participant

    I am going to have a wonderful season now, for about 2 weeks I am having at least 8 Monarchs flying around every time I go outside and am noticing lots of caterpillars appearing in the Swan Plant Wilderness that is my back yard, my side yard and my front yard – a huge area just covered in hundreds and hundreds of self seeded (mostly) swan plants, all at least 3 feet high and very bushy. Had very, very few Monarchs visiting until mid February, now they are going crazy, which is exactly what happened last year too. If this follows last year I will go on having chrysalises up to May/June or until the weather goes really bad. I am in Waiotira, 3/4s of an hour out of Whangarei, roughly half way between Whangarei and Dargaville if you drew a line on the map.
    PS I have got seedpods from last year’s many plants bursting all over the place, so I will probably have thousands of swan plants, mostly Giant Swan Plants, coming up next year, although, as a lot of these volunteers are coming up in some unfortunate places they will all be pulled out come winter time to make way for the next crop. They are on the gravel drive, on the pathways and every time I pull them out in these places, more seedlings take their place. If anyone wants any swan plants come and get ’em, this year or next. I have found they get over their transplant shock if watered with an NPK mix when shifted. My email address is nola at ubernet dot co dot nz if interested.

    #42601

    denise marshall
    Participant

    I live in CHCH and we have had a bumper season this year. My first eggs were laid in September,and i am now making sure that we have plenty of BFs to get through the winter as I have been saving swan plants so there is enough food for them to feed on before winter arrives.

    #42579

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hi Brenda

    My suggestion would be to stake out one of your bushes and watch what happens. It could be wasps (most common problem) or praying mantises, ants – they’re the three biggies that are stealing eggs or caterpillars.

    In my case it’s wasps, less than last year but still very prevalent. No caterpillars/pupae on the bushes in the garden, but we are collecting about 50 eggs a day off about 12 plants, and raising them in a caterpillar castle and in the “butterfly house”. That’s the only way I’m getting butterflies.

    Jacqui

    #42577

    brendalemmerson
    Participant

    I have got around 7 monarchs flapping around laying heaps of eggs but the eggs r not hatching y

    #20403

    Mike Fox
    Participant

    Hi Carol Stensnes
    Really please to hear in the survey that at less some areas of Auckland (Weymouth – Manukau City) have good number of caterpillars. Hope some will fly over to the Northshore to re populate our low numbers.
    Mike

    #20378

    Swansong
    Participant

    “However that doesn’t get away from the chemicals released in their use.”

    Indeed it doesnt, and I wouldnt rate it as just another pollutant, as can be seen from the linked article above.

    Many people agree theres a rat, and can smell it, but they just dont know where the stinks coming from, hence the confusing aray “theories”

    Swansong

    #20374

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Hi,

    I agree with Clair that this season has being good generaly, just not for Monarchs.

    As for Chemtails, they sure exist & are causing problems for all life. I used to live in 2 places under the trans-alantic routes on both sides of the Alantic & certainly noticed the hazy days develop.

    The BBC Horizon series had a program a few years ago about Global Dimming from mainly aircraft. One certain conclusion was that it was reducing the sunlight getting to the earths surface & reducing the effects of other problems causing the Greenhouse effect. Kind of strange that the vechicles which get the most blame for global warming are slowing it down! However that doesn’t get away from the chemicals released in their use. But despite that, the average car is less tuned & spills out more pollutants at ground level. Also I choose to travel by plane from akl to the SI as it’s the quickest, safest & least polluting form of public transport around NZ (apart from places that are under 4 hours drive, when it does use more fuel per passenger & is no quicker). If NZ had fast trains that averaged over 100km/h, then it would be a different story. But we don’t & probably never will.

    Robert.

    #20364

    Clair
    Participant

    My experience in Wellington city was that I had heaps of butterflys and eggs in Sept. Unfortunately most of my eggs and many plants were wiped out by a freak hailstorm on Nov 7. However a few friends in Whitby (a northern suberb of Wellington who didn’t get the 3 inches of hail) were not at all affected. They have had a wonderful season, while all of my friends closer to town have had a very low season. I would have raised very few butterflys this year from my own garden. Most of the pillars I have are “rescuees” from suburbs like Whitby where they ran out of food. I have had a season lower in predators than usual, so I have blamed the poor season for monarchs on the weather. I think it is important to note that it is only the monarch population which has been down. The number of admirals (which I haven’t yet been raising, but plan to) is definitely up this year!

    #20354

    Swansong
    Participant

    Well I know for a surity that pollutants exist and are causing havoc as a google search on the word “chemtrail” will reveal. Thousands upon thousand of people cant be wrong. Being in Auckland Rob, you may not have the opportunity to view these, as aircraft are typically always at a lower altitude either landing or taking off, not only Auckland, but other major cities. We see these things with REGULAR MONOTONY, sometimes day afer day after day, where they will put a haze over the whole sky. We had many occurances in the summer just gone, where a day would start off fine and blue as blue. Then the planes would come, youde see the trails sit there and then slowly broaden out, eventually causing a haze. I have many photos of weird clouds including these chemtrails. We in the Manawatu are pretty much directly below the flight paths of many many aircraft. The fact that these things exist is indisputable from every corner of the globe. What amazes me is people are not kicking up a stink about this, notwithstanding the fact that the these things are by and large ignored by the media anyway and the power of the media is immense as we all know. Never mind WHO controls the media.

    You will always get your scoffers and people who want to bury their head in the sand over such matters. As such there is the usual “conspiracy theory” allegations by the skeptics which play into the hands of the “powers that be” superbly.

    Here is an excerpt from this old link below, which has some VERY interesting info on not only indisputable proof that they exist, but what properties are in these chemtrails.

    “……It has been reported that the “chemtrails” contain ethylene dibromide — a substance that has been an additive to gasoline and airplane fuels as well as a banned pesticide. Ethylene dibromide has been linked to kidney and liver damage and is an immunosuppressive and a lung irritant.

    William Thomas, who has researched chemtrails since their appearance in the latter 90s, has noted stunted plant growth in once-healthy gardens and wilderness areas in Santa Fe and Aspen. Similar plant problems are commonly associated with chemtrails in other regions of the U.S…..”
    http://www.space4peace.org/articles/vegas_chemtrails.htm

    There are many many more articles that have surfaced worldwide about this since.

    There is no doubt in my mind that these, if not now, will eventually have detrimental affect on us, our butterlfys, and other animal life in general.
    Swansong

    #20338

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Hi,

    Not sure about pollutants from planes (apart from low-flying near airports), but certainly feel that there is more ground-orginated pollutants causing trouble.

    I think that some species are more suspectable then others (eg the Forest Ringlet), but all will be affected eventally if this is the case.

    I have also noticed lower White Butterfly numbers as well since Feb!

    Robert.

    #20331

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Hi All,

    I live in Massey and have had a slow season until January this year.

    Wasps played a big part in the earlier part of the season and so did ants.
    Covering the plants with nets helped to some degree, but if the pillars came onto the netting. WHich they like to do. Wham the wasps got them.

    Have really only had aphids on our front plants, but have managed to oversome this by using Ocean Organics foliar spray.

    You can buy this from Kings at $20 for a spray bottle already made up, or you can buy the concentrate and mix yourself which works out way cheaper and this only cost $23.

    This helps the plants leaves and makes them very luscious and does not harm the pillars in any way. We tried the foliar spray on a seperate plant with a few small pillars on and they grew to be big beuatiful butterflies.

    I also phoned Ocean Organics and spoke to them and they use the foliar spray on their plants with pillars.

    From January things have picked up for us and Mrs Monarch was laying like crazy. Mainly on the front plants, as we had some resident males on the back plants and the ladies were pounced on soon after arriving. So Mrs M decided the front plants were safer for a while.

    We have been able to rescue alot of other pillars from people who are stranded with no food. Also Bruce from The Plant Place we rescued his little ones so the frost wouldn’t get to them;-)

    Our plants are still very lush and could take more pillars on them. We do have quite a lot of pillars still coming on from Mrs M laying over the last month.

    We have done well and had almost 400 hatch since January and around another 100 chrsyalides and 150 pillars to come through yet.
    We have tagged over 250 at this stage, and around 70 of those would be from The Botanical Gardens and the rest is from us picking the eggs and hatching inside.

    Definetly not many Monarchs around now. Have had 1 lady come back and lay last weekend and the weekend before.

    Cheers
    Char

    #20330

    hshingles
    Participant

    My Mum lives in Te Atatu and this year there have not been very many caterpillars at all. There were plenty of eggs earlier, only half a dozen mature cats now. We have not seen more than usual wasps .
    Heather

    #20329

    Mike Fox
    Participant

    Hi Swansong
    Thanks for your comments. The contamination in the air may be the answer because I have also noticed lower than normal numbers of the orange aphids on the swan plants. One possibility may be from military planes from Whenuapai which go quite low over our house.
    Mike

    #20328

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hello Mike

    Good to hear from you again. I have just heard from Peter Maddison (entomologist) that your thingies are:

    > Larvae of Syrphid (hover-fly) – they feed on aphids, scale insects, etc. -so
    > are goodies

    Hmmm… back to square one!

    Jacqui

    #20327

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hey Mike thanks for posting your experiences. I shy away from utube because Im on dial-up :(. However, I find your post very interesting, especially what the deal is with the eggs going black, and dying. Being in Auckland I wouldnt think you would have had any frosts yet? Ive only ever seen 1 egg do this, and that was about a month ago. Be interesting to see if others have noted this.

    Dont know if youve been reading the threads of late but theres been a number comments on low numbers.

    Quite frankly I have my suspicions about contaminants in the air. From sprays, to what is spued out of an aircraft these days. It stays there and stays there AND stays there. Like, most people will remember vapour trails disappearing. Frequently down here they hang in the sky sometimes for hours. Just my thoughts.

    Could the black things be scale? …though I think scale might be bigger than that. Others will know for sure.

    Swansong

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