My first Monarch is about to take flight!

  • Creator
    Topic
  • #47654

    evie
    Participant

    Sorry about the title, I am a newbie at this butterfly business. I am curious as to how long they take to fly off after coming out of the cocoon they have made. I have been timing my first one today and it has been there since mid morning. It is now after 5pm and it is still there preening itself and occasionally opening its wings up. I also have about 12 more caterpillars all gnawing eagerly and at various stages of their development. I take it that if there is not enough milk weed plant then some of them will die from starvation? I am thinking about putting some pumpkin or cucumber out for them when it looks really sparse pickings for them. I have only 5 plants in one medium pot and they are eating everything from the middle of the plants upwards and seem to leave the bottom leaves. Is this usual? Any feedback greatly appreciated. Eve

Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • Author
    Replies
  • #47719

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Evie, our caterpillar castles are ideal for this purpose too. You can put your last instar caterpillars inside on swan plant and they make their pupae in the roof. Safe and sound!

    caterpillar castle

    #47715

    evie
    Participant

    Bron and Camryn…thank you so much for your reply.
    What a good idea with the bird cage. I might have a look around for one now that I know this! It would be ideal for the cooler weather to come as its transportable.

    My tribe of caterpillars are getting bigger every day now. I notice that all the leaves have gone and they are eating the stubby bits of where the leaves were and are also gnawing at the stems. I have about 13 in all and am worried that I might not have enough food for them. They are eating the pumpkin I put out and seem to be enjoying it. They are quite big and I hope that they will go into the metamorphosis stage any day now. Will they adhere themselves to the long leafless stem (as there are no leaves left to hang onto) to do the metamorphosis thingy? There is one smaller one that is not eating much at all and it doesn’t even seem to be interested in the pumpkin I put down. What happens if
    they stop eating…I guess they just die? Should I try some other food for this
    smaller one?
    PS My second butterfly flew away yesterday…it was awesome to see it eventually go.
    Evie

    #47696

    Bron and Camryn
    Participant

    Hi Evie,

    I’m a newbie too. I have a sort of rule of thumb for when to put my butterflies outside. I rehang all my chrysalises from the roof bars of in an old bird cage so they have lots of room. I notice that they normally emerge fairly early in the morning and spend until early afternoon drying their wings. I know when they are ready to go out when they jump down to the bottom of the cage and start wandering around. I then take them outside and put them on a rose bush that grows just outside the back door. They normally hang around for the afternoon in the sun and then fly off. If the weather is horrible I have a net enclosure I can keep them in overnight but the weather has been so nice this summer I haven’t needed to do that.

    I have a similar situation with supplying enough swan plant. I have the last lot of caterpillars for this season so I have been rationing their food based on their size – small leaves for the smallest caterpillars and large leaves and stalk for the older big ones. I raise them inside which makes this easy. Seems to be working as they are all making it to chrysalises and they look happy. This way everyone gets feed rather than some missing out. Next season I am going to cultivate my own swan plants in bulk so I don’t have to rely on the garden centres having stock!

    #47665

    evie
    Participant

    Thank you Jacqui for advising me

    Jacqui thank you for your reply. At dusk this evening it was still sitting quietly so I guess tomorrow (hopefully it being a nice day) will be THE day. This evening, I moved the pot into a sheltered area next to our house, should it rain.

    #47655

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hi Evie

    They may not fly until the next day. Don’t worry. If it’s somewhere warm and light then it will fly when it’s ready.

    Yes, caterpillars do prefer the youngest (freshest) leaves.

    Jacqui

Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.