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. 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.
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.
Butterfly In Jar Instructions
We have a large wild milkweed garden. Milkweed grows wild everywhere.
I found two caterpillars in the milkweed and I put them in a jar so I could save a couple butterflies.if you can do this it helps the monarch.
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 don‘t touch the the butterflies let them crawl on your finger so you can let them go very carefuly. You can let them crawl out of the colander on their own if you would rather do that.
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. You can use a jar with a lid just make sure to put holes in the lid for air.
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.
© 2012 moonlake