What happens to the new generation??—Please

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  • #12989

    swivel
    Participant

    I am averaging about 25 plus new butterflies each morning, this has been going on for a number of days,—but there are never more than 4 or 5 butterflies flying around my 56 swan plants that have plenty of foliage on them at present. Is there some instinct that causes the new hatchlings to fly further afield in search of new territory. I would be most interested as a large part of my motivation here was to have heaps of Monarks flying about the place. Am in a rural setting in Northland, lots of bush and shelter. Comment would be appreciated, Neil

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  • #16742

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hi Neil

    Yes, Ange is right – Hebes are wonderful sources of nectar – in fact they are on the list of “most favoured nectar sources” for the butterfly farmers in the USA!!! Go for bright colours – and I always think that an “older variety” is better than one of the newly bred ones, as the plant breeders don’t think about designing plants for insects, rather for humans, who have $$$ in their pocket! We will have to retrain the plant breeders!

    Jacqui

    #16741

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    Hi Neil, the Buddleia that is causing problems is the Buddleia davidii, a mauve flowering shrub that has taken over a lot of the countryside through its self seeding habit. There are other cultivars of Buddleia that are available which do not seed and therefore not on the Pest plant register. There is a variety available, including dwarf species, although some garden centres will tell you ‘ Buddleia is banned full stop ‘ – not true.
    Norm.

    #16740

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    Hi Neil,

    #16739

    Swivel, you now need to plant native stinging nettle for the admirals!!! I love the Monarchs, but there is just something a little extra special about admirals.

    What area are you in? would be interesting to see if they are staying close. I have a conifer on the corner of our property and this year noticed that they are spending more and more time in it sunning themselves. And at night at least 2-3 stay in the tree. During winter, I love searching for wintering sites and there are a couple around Auckland that I have visited..

    If you are worried about buddlia and want to plant native, try Koromiko and any other hebe, Rata, manuka, kanuka and Rewarewa are also good.

    Marigolds, chives, sage, dill, thyme, lavender, basically all herbs are what I have in my garden on the non native side in amongst my veggies, the butterflies love them and at night the moths feed on them also. Angie

    #16738

    swivel
    Participant

    Thanks everyone, as this is my first attempt at fostering Monarchs, increasingly I realise I have much to learn and I appreciate the help. Clearly my next step has to be a supply of food for the butterflies if I am to get the best from the exercise.
    Not-withstanding my opening comments when starting this forum, today, Waitangi Day, as I went off up the farm after lunch there were more than 40 butterflies fluttering about, really awesome, 3 hours later upon return I saw only half a dozen, perhaps I have been rewarded for working the national holiday.It is pleasing that after hatching approx 300 chrysalises, the plants after watering in some Nitrophosca have recovered spectacularly and will be ready for the next explosion that must now be only days away. My “educated” guess after only “rearing” one generation is that I should be able to preside over 3 to 500 caterpillars through to maturity before winter. I really would love to think that we have here an ideal over wintering site because of the natural shelter and frost free environment, time will tell.—With regard to flowers, will Buddleia spread though the native bush and threaten it? Cheers, Neil

    After 20 years on this property this is the first year I have seen Monarchs doing fly byes when I am out on the farm half a mile from the milkweed.—–A rewarding hobby I shall enjoy pursuing in the years ahead and hopefully as my knowledge base increases so too will my contribution to a delightful species.

    #16736

    Swansong
    Participant

    Welcome Ray, you will find a lot of useful info here on this forum! yes it seems to be that a lot of people are ending up with stripped plants this year with the extra hot weather. The butterflies seem to be very desperate to lay and I’ve even seen eggs on nearby little plants like my pansies. I wouldnt be surpriseed if they resorted to “arial bombing” tactics over my plants inside a netted off area, and hope for the best that some eggs inadvertantly land on the plants underneath :/ … but so far so good, I haven’t seen any yet 🙂 Our local rag (Lower North Isalnd) has had a couple of articles with people and stripped plants, an another one was recommending pumpkin but unfortunately didn’t mention that it is really only a last ditch effort or as an emergency, and that there are casualties.

    Ive had one or two of my plants stripped, and I found (where I am at least ) it’s still not too late to revive the plants, but they need to be watered a bit especially if its hot and either netted off or if in pots, put somewhere where the ladies dont get to them. All depends where you are, like if you have frosts, the plants wont survive the winter unless they have at least a bit of foliage on them.

    Hope you keep on enjoying your Monarchs
    Swansong

    #16735

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Hi, new here and love Monarchs,have several Swan plants and have been pretty much stripped this season,one plant has died some weeks ago and the Butterflies still lay eggs on this dead dried out tree with only the seed pods left on the tree.Makes me think they are the Pilot Whales of the Butterfly world ?????. Ray

    #16730

    Hi I thought the same until I started to tag and then realized the 4 was actually 15! I have several that stay in the garden once tagged, and everyday there are new ones.

    #16727

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    hi Swivel

    Would be very keen for you to join us tagging this summer, Swivel – we need more people in rural places tagging Monarchs to find out about their tagging. If you (or anyone else) is keen to participate, please send an email to tags@monarch.org.nz and I will send you further information.

    Jacqui

    #16718

    Gilly
    Participant

    Norm is right.. it is the nectar plants that keep the butterflies about but I do find, in this heat, then I get a few older boy monarchs staying put and they seem to chase off other boys and attack all my females that I let go. I’m averaging about 25 a day too Swivel…. it is like a full-time job keeping up with all their feed 🙂

    #16716

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    It is not so much the milkweed plants that keep the Monarch butterflies around as much as the nectar flowers. Buddleia, lantana, and a host of other recognised nectar flowers should keep them in the area. Sure they will venture further afield, but butterflies often establish a feeding ‘ beat ‘ or circuit as do some birds, and will return again.
    Norm.

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