Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Oh Happy Day

Monarch caterpillars
I never saw them until this morning.  Remember that "incident" a while ago where an ill fated foot step wiped out one of the new Butterflyweed plants?  Remember that it resprouted, and bloomed?  Well, today my friends, we have Monarch caterpillars! Big Ones!  Hallelujah.  I don't know why I never saw eggs or little caterpillars.  Do they hatch overnight and get this big in one day?  Do these guys travel from plant to plant as caterpillars?   Today these caterpillars have eaten a good amount of the top part of the plant.  They remind me of myself eating a good ear of corn.  There's also two more caterpillars on an adjacent plant. 

The Monarch Farm
Apparently it doesn't take a large garden or lots of plants for the Monarch to make itself at home.  Among other natives, there are five Butterflyweed plants in this small plot.  You'll remember the Butterflyweed is a milkweed.  It's also commonly called Butterfly Milkweed.  And milkweed are the only plants where the Monarch will lay its eggs.    The only plant.  Nothing else will do.  However, I thought I'd have to have at least a larger group and more milkweed species to really make a Monarch happy enough to start a new family.  There certainly are a lot of other native nectar producing plants in the yard.  So the newly hatched  Monarch's will have enough juice to get them going on their epic migration to Mexico.  I can't wait to see the chrysalis the caterpillars form.  And perhaps in a few weeks I'll get to see some Monarch's emerge.  We now qualify and have submitted our application to the Monarch Watch organization for certification as a Monarch Way Station.  Welcome to the Monarch Farm!

1 comment:

TanyaM said...

A wikipedia source claims the eggs hatch, eat for 2 weeks as a caterpillar. Then spin a silk pad for the chrysalis stage which lasts another 2 weeks and then emerge as a butterfly. So keep us posted!