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The Monarch Butterflies Have Returned. How To Butterfly Project For Children. Saving The Monarchs.
The Monarchs are back. They are flying all over. We have had so much wind and when this happens they seem to keep their wings closed. They are beautiful. They have been breeding. We found two on the ground mating and I took a little film of it. They're everywhere and many of them, a very good sign.
Monarchs have four stages. There's the egg, the larvae (caterpillar), the pupa and the butterfly. They come here every May. We have lots of milkweeds and they love and it's where they lay their eggs. Our milkweed is just barely up. When the milkweed comes up it smells so good. The Monarchs are in the meadow hanging around in the milkweed even in the old pods from last year. The way things are growing here the milkweed will be up in no time at all. This is what the caterpillar will eat on. I have a picture of the caterpillar on one of my flower hubs.
Monarchs will fly away in October and head to Mexico. Maybe they catch a ride on the wings of geese heading south. (Just Joking) Once they get to Mexico they hibernate. Some will stay in warmer parts of California. It's amazing one little butterfly can fly so far.
We went in the meadow today June 3rd and did get pictures of the monarchs’ eggs and one tiny, tiny caterpillar. I was so surprised at how small they are. The eggs are no bigger than the point of a pencil. The tiny white spec is the egg on the milkweed leaf. I have added the picture of the big caterpillar I took last year.
Today I found a medium size caterpillar on a milkweed leaf. We don't have many caterpillars for the number of monarchs we've had and the number of eggs we saw. We're hoping something didn't eat most of the eggs.
There is a lady in our town who has started her own milkweed garden. She harvests the cocoons herself and includes them in flower arrangements from her garden and gives them to hospice patients. The story is very interesting and I will include the site where you can read about it. They are able to see the butterfly come out of the cocoon and the instruction are for them to set it free. When my husband was in hospice it was winter, he didn't get to have the butterfly in his room.
Stages of the Monarch Butterflies:
Cocoon Stage-pupa (or chrysalis)
The photos to the left are the stages of the butterfly, I found in the garden of milkweed. They're very interesting to watch, and fun project for children.
Eggs and Monarch Caterpillar In Different Sizes and Stages.
We Love The Monarch Butterflies
It is now 2014 and we had only a few Monarchs this year. Our milkweed is common milkweed and grows wild in our meadow. The orange milkweed picture you see is a tame milkweed, plants and seed can be bought for this plant. Milkweed seed can be bought from garden centers, Internet or flower catalogs. If you have a friend with lots of milkweeds you can get the seeds from them. Spread the beauty of Monarchs by planting milkweed. Our milkweed is wild so you may be able to get the seeds along the road where it may grow wild.
Milkweed is good for all butterflies and bees, they all love it. I hope to one day see the Monarchs thick again like they use to be. I don't think this will happen. There is a field across from our house grows potatoes. The crop duster comes and sprays the fields for bugs. When he does his spray ends up on our property. On the 4th of July, he was here at 5:30 in the morning spraying. I watched the spray come down on our field. They are supposed to cut the spray off when getting to our house but they didn't. I think this is why the butterflies are not as thick as they once were. It may also have something to do with not so many birds. I have a hub on this crop duster.
I do my part by trying to help the Monarchs by growing the milkweed. I won't let anyone cut it down. If some get in with my flowers I also leave it there.
Plant A Milkweed Garden, Save The Monarchs.
Monarch Butterflies Mating
This photo shows our meadow, to the left is the wild milkweed field. This year (2014) I have only seen one Monarch at a time in the milkweed. I did find two very small caterpillars; they are no bigger than the tip of a needle. I'm sure there was more in the milkweed, but I didn't want to go into the milkweed field and knock over the plants. I would have liked to put one in a jar and wait for it to turn into a butterfly. I couldn't do this with health problems here, I worried I would not be around to take care of it.
The bluebirds also came back and made their nest in this birdhouse. Last year the swallows made their nest in this house.
Do You see the path in the meadow I was just about to the end of the path when my husband and our little dog came out to meet me, just as they got there we heard what sounded like trees coming down in the woods, believe me, we got out of there. Just before the sun goes down seems to be when the bear does wander into the yard and a deer sure did not make the loud sound.
All photos in the hub are my own taken in our yard or meadow. The only one which isn't mine is the tame milkweed photo from Wikimedia Commons and the Viceroy.
Now it's Aug and there actually were more Monarch caterpillars than I expected. Our milkweed wild garden is about 30 feet wide and at least 200 feet long. The pictures below are of caterpillars I saw just on the edge of the milkweed garden. I didn't want to go deep into the garden for fear of killing some of the caterpillars, but I would bet there is many more deep into the milkweed.
Caterpillars Eating the Milkweed
Just A Few Of The Flowers And Bushes In Our Garden.
There is a lady in our town, she takes Monarchs to Hospice patients or uses them for charities. She places the chrysalises on a flower bouquet to give to others, so they can see the butterfly emerge from the chrysalis.
It’s so nice to see Spring popping out everywhere. We have long winters here so we really enjoy the nice weather.
I hope you enjoyed the tour of my yard to see the return of the bluebirds and the monarch butterflies.
It's now 2015 winter is still in full swing for most of the country. I can't wait for spring to come and I'm hoping I will still be here to take care of the monarchs. I think many people would buy this place would just plow down my milkweeds and have no thought for the butterflies. If my husband were still here he would be so upset about this.
Summer is here and I first saw the eggs on the milkweed and then caterpillars, below is the 2015 butterfly and caterpillar photos.
Butterfly In Jar Instructions
We don't have Monarchs this year we don't know what happened to them. The milkweed garden is just as nice as it was last year, but there are just a few butterflies of any kind.
I found two caterpillars and I put them in a jar so I could at least save a couple butterflies.
I put a food colander on top of the jar so they could breath better and easier to see them. I added milkweed. I added new milkweed every day. Just a note don't get any of the white milky stuff from the milkweed on your skin, it can be irritating. I didn't remove the old milkweed because you can't remove it without disturbing the caterpillars. The caterpillars leave a lot of little black poops at the bottom of the glass jar don't mistake them for eggs.
You can see from the photos that the first caterpillar turned into a cocoon, shortly after the second one turned into a cocoon. They are so interesting to watch. They go to the top of the jar and start to curl up their bodies and before you know what's happened they are a cocoon. The cocoons turned into butterflies in 16 days. Butterflies wings should dry for about 2 hours. You touch the the butterflies let them crawl on your finger to let them go very carefuly. I didn't do that I let them crawl out of the colander on their own.
In the photos, I tried showing all the steps the caterpillar took before becoming a beautiful butterfly.
This is a way of getting children interested in nature and a good way to save a butterfly.
The Larva (Caterpillar)
The top photo
The top photo is the jar I used, but any kind will do. This has how the first caterpillar turned into a cocoon.
The photos below show how the second caterpillar crawled up beside the first caterpillar and turned into a cocoon. It also shows the first butterfly hatched and the bottom photos show the second butterfly hatched. The white stuff at the very bottom photo is the casings from the cocoon once the butterflies came out.
Cocoon Stage-pupa (or chrysalis)
Butterfly I Let Go.
Check out more hubs about birds and butterflies. The glass butterfly is so interesting from a hubber friend.
Be careful while looking for Monarch butterfly the Viceroy butterfly mimics the Monarch for safety reasons. The Monarch carries the poison from eating the toxic milkweed, many animals will not eat a Monarch, so the Viceroy mimics the look of the Monarch hoping not to be eaten.
- Mexico Pushes Butterfly Protection Via Tourism
Mexico has the biggest responsibility to protect them because they come here to hibernate," Omar Vida said.
© 2012 moonlake