Tagging and frost

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  • #15314


    Hi Jacqui,

    Just thought I’d mention, I live in quite a frost prone area, I have chrysalis living in the lounge with me at the moment, the butterflies are slowly emerging and I keep them inside overnight then put them out in the sun when it reaches the grapevine. Unfortunately, they have been just sitting in the vine but not actually taking flight. The ones that attempt flight are obviously not ‘warm’ enough and end up on the ground. Today I discovered the Nelson Cathedral butterfly tree ( I asked a resident and she told me it was not a thing for Monarchs anymore, that it was years ago but directed me to where it used to be. I walked over and WOW!!! there were Monarchs warming themselves. I drove home, grabbed my latest emerger (male) and took him to the tree and got a tourist to pull a branch down for me so he could sit in the sun (they were tall Norwegians, I couldn’t reach the lower branches being a ‘shortass’ and they very excited to see my monarch)

    While we were there, we saw about 10 monarchs fluttering around in the sunlight which was great.

    My question is, is it wrong for me to take my tagged ‘late’ emergers to the Cathedral where they will be able to survive and ‘roost’ with the others? or does it affect my tagging information? My house is not far away but just in an inconvenient valley situation.

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  • #30383


    Important reminder to everyone – please, please, please log your sightings in to http://www.mb.org.nz. Also, if you revist trees where you’ve seen overwintering clusters before and there are no butterflies there, a good idea to log that in too.

    The more reports the better.

    I’ll say that again: THE MORE REPORTS THE BETTER.

    I am currently visiting the Hutt Valley and there are no Monarchs on the trees at Te Omanga, so I have reported this in. I hope to check again before I leave the area.



    Thank you Pepetuna, unfortunately the frosts have just about wiped out the few nectar plants I had, that is why I thought it easier to drop them off at the tree where they can congregate with the rest of them. The one’s already at the tree were all having a great time in the sunlight on Sunday. I am sharing my lounge and garage with chrysalis and a couple of caterpillars at the moment. I have just found a 1cm caterpillar on an outdoor swan plant and am amazed it has survived the frosts.



    If you see butterflies nectaring in your garden on sunny days in the winter, it means they are overwintering not far away. So you can safely just release them in your garden as long as it’s in the morning or early afternoon so they have time to get shelter.

    So Medusa, if you are not far away from the roosting place, just let them go in your garden and they will find their own way.

    Caterpillars and chrysalises however, do need to be inside at least at my place in the Waikato, because I get heavy frosts here.



    Our season has finished here. But we would place the Monarchs outside where they could get the sun and see if they fly off.

    Other years we have taken our Monarchs to the park where others have been overwintering..



    Hi Medusa

    People often contact me and say that they take their Monarchs to a “better” location, but personally, I don’t think it’s necessary. Perhaps any weak ones might be more likely to survive, but then wouldn’t we be weakening the gene pool by doing that? I don’t know…

    To me, it’s a bit like this trend of people taking multivitamins, even though they have a healthy diet and get lots of the good things (sleep, exercise etc). A waste; all those multivitamins just going down the drain.

    I would just let them go in the warmest part of your garden – on the sheltered side of the house where they will get maximum sun and won’t be getting pummeled by raindrops.

    What do others think?



    When you log that particular tag into the website, you can change the address for that tag, so that the information is correct.

    You can release your butterflies wherever you think is a good place for them 🙂

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