Where are the Monarchs?

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  • #13994

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Phone calls and emails are coming in from all over the country, and the reports in here all add up to one thing: it seems like most people throughout the country are saying "where are the Monarchs?".

    Admittedly, for those who are experiencing normal numbers, they won't be worried, and are unlikely to phone/email, but there has certainly been a lot more concern than previous years. In the many years I've been raising Monarchs I've never seen a season as bad as this.

    When you're attuned to Nature it becomes apparent that there are good years and bad years for everything. I remember several years where there were so many crickets they were like a plague. The jacarandas have been phenomenal this year… and probably next year they will be unnoticeable.

    Is this season just one of those extreme events for butterflies?

    Today a female Monarch visited and there are 30-40 swan plants on my deck. She visited two; I watched her lay two eggs, her abdomen curling around to get the underside of the leaf. Then she flew off to another part of the garden. I went to see the eggs – there was nothing there. There had been no time for any other insect to take them, and there were no other insects around. So where were the eggs?

    Could she be "laying blanks", thinking she's laying but not? I wonder… Anyone got any ideas?

Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 46 total)
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  • #23210

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I haven't known a season like it in Wellington. Almost March, the swan plants are going to seed and not a flutterby in sight! (a few red admirals but no monarchs anywhere). Is there anyone else in Wellington who has seen any monarchs around? We are in Northland. I can't get used to the sight of an un-munched swan plant!

    #23161

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Sure, Jayne… Email your photo to photos@monarch.org.nz – not full size please, but big enough so that we can all see the detail. Then start a new thread in here and give us some details/information about it. When the photograph is approved it will be linked to the message in the forum.

    Jacqui

    #23157

    Jaynie
    Participant

    Hi all, i have been asked to share more about the wasp trap i have hanging about my swan plants. Is there any way i can post a photo on here to show you all? Its a wonderful thing, we have caught over 50 wasps since Christmas. Would love to show it to you.

    #23143

    lawrence pope
    Participant

    having a great year in Picton
    released over 300 this season and have many more to release
    each day we have around 10 or more monarchs visit each day ,
    many eggs being laid and cats hatching each day,
    200 plants are on there third time around very hard keeping up with the cats

    Lawrence

    #23141

    Livvy
    Participant

    Most of the female monarchs that have been visiting our garden have been laying 'blanks', as you call it, but one of the ones I saw was seemingly full of eggs (quite a big looking abdomen). She's sit for over a minute in the oviposting position, and would only move if something disrupted her, but she didn't lay anything. Eventually I went out after watching her for about an hour in the same position, and found she was dead. It was very sad. In previous seasons I've always had the females laying plenty of eggs exactly when they look as though they are, but not this year. I've only released 4 butterflies so far as well; last season it was nearly 30. I wonder if there's something wrong with these butterflies…. or is it just bad luck?

    #23140

    rjallbrook
    Participant

    Rosemary
    I'm in Hamilton and have had on average 4 monarchs in the garden since November, many many eggs but only an occasional caterpillar that disappears when they are about 1/1.5 cm. In desperation I re-homed some from the Warehouse plants! 2 days later I can still find 3 of the four. I have masses of food. Seedling swan plants are appearing everywhere and the older ones are now fruiting.

    #23081

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Well done Angelique.

    Glad to hear the Monarchs are visiting in other areas.
    Has been very quiet in some areas lately.
    Perhaps now the season will start to take off;-)

    The wasps should be changing their diet soon I hope for nectar.

    Cheers
    Char

    #23080

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    We are in Beachlands, East Auckland, and we have had loads of monarchs over the past few weeks. Currently we have fifty caterpillars and our first chrysallis forming – so we're really excited as this is our first attempt 🙂

    #23020

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Jayne, tell us about your wasp trap – how does it work?

    Jacqui

    #23019

    Jaynie
    Participant

    We are in Rangiora, Nth Canterbury and have sooooo many caterpillars and butterflies arriving each day to lay more!!
    We have wasps for Africa but the wasp trap is doing a good job. If we end up having to many caterpillars and not enough food I hope even one of you are close by to take some babies!!

    #22945

    ReneeFraser
    Participant

    Wow I wish I had lots of room here to plant heaps of swan plants so I could have that many butterflies and caterpillars.
    It makes 4 Chysalises seem so little but I know even 1 is better than none 🙂

    There were 3 paper wasps on my swan plant yesterday but they are only eating the nectar still. They don't seem at all interested in the caterpillars.

    #22942

    bcjenk
    Participant

    I've had more monarchs and earlier this year than I've ever had and there are plenty of wasps. I think my Y/Ads have been sacrificing themselves to save the monarchs. I've released 98 Y/Ads this time and believe that number again would have been taken by wasps. That kept them away from the monarchs. I must do something about planting spare cabbage plants around, to supply the wasps with cabbage whites instead.
    Bryan.

    #22940

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Thanks Jacqui and happyjohnny.

    Wow Lawrence you are doing fabulous. Must be a site to see when you release that many.

    Cheers
    Char

    #22939

    lawrence pope
    Participant

    I have released 35 monarchs today and about another 30 or more are near ready to be released
    last night have 50 eggs hatched and have over 150 hanging in the butterfly house

    Lawrence
    PICTON

    #22935

    happyjohnny
    Participant

    Great work flutterbys!

    #22934

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Great work, Char. Your enthusiasm is contagious! Can't wait to see your garden again.

    #22933

    Charlotte
    Participant

    We had around 4 Mrs M's laying yesterday around all of our plants.

    I think you will find there was a quiet period where there were NO Monarchs about and I think not many females in particular.
    As we did not see a female Monarch for around a month! There were plenty of males but NO females around our plants.

    We may be in for a late season again;-)

    We had some visitors come over yesterday to buy some swan plants and their children wanted to see caterpillars and butterflies;-)
    As they had not seen a butterfly or a caterpillar on the plants they had brought. The children had been watering and taking care of their plants daily and no Monarchs had come to lay on them.
    The children had a blast and so did the adults! The kids got to release a butterfly each and see lots of caterpillars.
    They also got to see lots of Monarchs flying around the gardens.

    After they had purchased their plants and we were all standing around chatting in the back lawn Mrs M came along and laid on their plants several times.
    They were so impressed and the children were just amazed.
    The little boy kept asking his dad "where are the eggs dad" I want to see.
    Dad was blown away and jumping up and down that Mrs M had laid on "their" plants. LOL

    I love it when children and adults get pleasure from visiting our gardens;-)

    Cheers
    Char

    #22926

    ReneeFraser
    Participant

    I had a female Monarch in our garden yesterday and she laid some eggs on my swan plant. Not sure how many … it's hard to find them. I found about 6.

    #22916

    swivel
    Participant

    Had almost none in Dargaville till Xmas tho always up to a dozen b/flies about. Since Xmas many thousands have stripped 120 mostly 6-7 feet tall heavily foliaged plants. Almost all cats now in crysilas or hatching out, basically everywhere tho they are dispersing around the farm quickly as the peniroyal is in full flower and they love it as a food source.

    I have been watering plants heavily twice weekly for three weeks now trying to stimulate regrowth, (not much sucess) as I'm afraid that all these b/flies are going to lay massive numbers that I can't possibly feed.

    Jackie–I was at Tauranga Bay, BOI last weekend and noticed no cats on any of our swan plants up there, cursed myself for not taking a few hundred up.

    As a farmer I concur it has been an extraodinary six months with most of our weather here originating from the south, can't remember a year like it.

    #22893

    ReneeFraser
    Participant

    Swansong – I would say from memory only 24 hours possibly 48 hours… And yesterday and today we've had thunderstorms with fairly heavy rain. I was just watering my garden and had to rush inside as the thunder started! I checked my Chrysalises though and all are still fine. And I found my caterpillar which is now much larger.. I would say it will be hanging soon. It didn't seem to be bothered by the rain…
    We do have a few wasps here but they don't seem interested in the caterpillars. I've only seen them eating the nectar from the flowers.
    We have TONS of ants though. And they are all over the swan plant eating the nectar also.

    Jacqui – Yes I have seen the seeds and other things on TradeMe. The only thing is I will only buy plants – I am too impatient to grow seeds. I see there is Buddleia on there. And I will hopefully get some of that soon.
    I want to get a whole lot of stuff but right now I don't think my husband would allow it LOL

    My grandmother has Hebe in her garden and I think I recall reading the butterflies like that? I was going to try taking a cutting from it but not sure it would work?

    I also got another swan plant on Sunday which I think I mentioned… but I was meaning to ask how you can tell if it's been sprayed? Because the leaves look like they have some kind of fine white dust on them. It's on my deck now and there aren't any caterpillars on it. I was going to leave it on the deck until it's much bigger so if it has been sprayed it should be ok by then anyway right?

    #22887

    Jean
    Participant

    Sounds as tho it'll be a good season for all – wonderful:) The original 15 eggs I counted on my plants 2-3 weeks ago are now 60+ caterpillars, safely in the shade house and all eating madly. Have small plants in an outside garden but no butterflies visiting, doubt if I'd have enough food for any more!
    J

    #22886

    Pumpkin
    Participant

    I have been wondering where the monarchs have been, as I had one fly in Labour weekend, lay eggs, hatch caterpillars then those all dissappeared. No more sightings untill this week. The weather has been so unpredictable with cold, wed days and only one hot fine day a week for last few months. This week has been hot and sunny and the Monarchs are back. My Swan plants have eggs and a friend has caterpillars. At long last.
    I think they know best.

    #22885

    happyjohnny
    Participant

    Oh woot Jacqui! I'm glad to hear. Nice work everyone else too.

    When the 'caterpillar onslaught' begins I'll no doubt have hundreds of caterpillars to give away.
    So at that time if there are people around the country who /still/ don't have any I can send some via urgent courier.
    I know there is some controversy over sending live stock, but I read how some do it, so am willing to give it a try – but only via urgent courier. I'm not prepared to try and post caterpillars! >.<

    On a similar note; I have butterflies laying eggs daily here. If anyone would like a few eggs they can send me a self addressed stamped envelope and I'll post some to them.
    Only thing I ask however, is that they go onto plants that are kept indoors.
    The eggs / caterpillars won't stand a chance outdoors so would completely defeat the purpose of sending them.

    #22882

    Swansong
    Participant

    Well Ive had a visit from a "new" Mrs M. yesterday and Im 99% sure its not Jacquis stock. I watched and she DID lay eggs. No firing blanks.

    #22880

    Charlotte
    Participant

    I have lost a lot of eggs to ants and wasps. Also a lot of caterpillars.
    We have had a few females and males emerge in the last few days so we will be keeping an eye on our plants for the eggs.
    Will bring them inside to hatch.

    Great news Jacqui;-)

    Char

Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 46 total)

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