tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-56564631834594043892014-10-01T22:52:00.904-07:00My Monarch Guide: Monarch Butterfly Milkweed Mania!Monarch butterflies are in a decline because there isn't much Milkweed available for the caterpillars to eat! Too much development has taken away the Monarchs' habitat so these beauties need our help. (Click on individual pictures to enlarge)Monarch Friendhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/15494258939048080346noreply@blogger.comBlogger32125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5656463183459404389.post-24820384234920694612009-08-24T15:25:00.001-07:002011-08-15T22:31:45.985-07:00FAQs<span style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(153, 255, 153);">I have a question…</span> <br /> <br />Does this sound like you? If so, check out the following, as they are questions that have arisen with regards to Monarchs. <br /> <br /><span style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold; color: rgb(153, 255, 153);">1. I found this long string thing hanging from my Monarch’s chrysalis. What is it?</span> <br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SpMUQdiTyXI/AAAAAAAACZw/oWMKL2XTeQQ/s1600-h/tachinid+fly+parasitized.JPG"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 142px; height: 144px;" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SpMUQdiTyXI/AAAAAAAACZw/oWMKL2XTeQQ/s320/tachinid+fly+parasitized.JPG" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5373661053422127474" border="0" /></a>The string thing indicates that your Monarch caterpillar was a victim of a Tachinid Fly! If you wait long enough, soon you will probably see a puparium that will look like a brownish bean descend from the pupa. Your poor butterfly is dead. I’d squish the heck out of that brown thing or else you will end up with lots of those nasty flies just waiting to lay eggs on unsuspecting Monarch larva in your garden! Visit the post about <a href="http://www.mymonarchguide.com/2008/01/dreaded-tachinid-fly.html">Tachinid Flies</a>. <br /> <br /><span style="font-weight: bold; font-style: italic; color: rgb(153, 255, 153);">2. My Monarch caterpillar isn’t moving. It stopped moving for a long time! I put it back on a leaf but it just won’t eat. Is it dead? Did I do something wrong?</span> <br />Your caterpillar is probably getting ready to molt. Leave it alone! It needs time to shed its skin. Visit the post about <a href="http://www.mymonarchguide.com/2008/08/why-does-my-caterpillar-stop-moving.html">molting</a>. <br /> <br /><span style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold; color: rgb(153, 255, 153);">3. I had all these Monarch caterpillars on my Milkweed outside but when I went to look again, they are all gone! What happened? I can’t find them.</span> <br />Your caterpillars, if they were really big (as in over 1" long) probably are ready to pupate! When caterpillars are ready to pupate, they will often leave their host plant (the plant that they eat) to find a nice, peaceful spot. Many times, that spot may be WAY far away from where they were eating! Check around about up to 30-feet away. I bet you will find your caterpillars. It is kind of like one of those ‘I spy’ type of games. ☺ <br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SpMTfndBtxI/AAAAAAAACZo/-SgoOqQ6Ou4/s1600-h/spider+with+monarch+cat.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 300px; height: 296px;" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SpMTfndBtxI/AAAAAAAACZo/-SgoOqQ6Ou4/s320/spider+with+monarch+cat.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5373660214270736146" border="0" /></a>Now, if your caterpillar is small (as in an early instar) there are several possibilities and they are not as happy. A spider could have taken off with it and eaten it for its lunch (and the Daring or Bold Jumping Spider is notorious for this! Gardeners must be very careful with this particular species; the <span style="font-style: italic;">Phiddipus audax</span> has a nasty bite!), it could have contracted a virus or bacteria and died, it could have been eaten by a lizard, …Let's just hope that the caterpillar was in the late instar and was on its way to continue its metamorphosis into becoming a butterfly. <br /> <br /><span style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold; color: rgb(153, 255, 153);">4. Should I keep my Monarch caterpillars sprayed with water? I read that they should be in a moist environment and that I should keep a wet paper towel under them.</span> <br />NO! Absolutely not! Moisture + heat will breed all sorts of nasties (think mold, bacteria,…you get the picture!). Monarchs especially, are prone to all kinds of problems with molds and bacterial infections. Adding a moist environment to the mix will compound a potential problem. Keep their living environment dry. Make sure their leaves are dry, too! Only feed dry, healthy, FRESH food each day and make sure you remove all old food. If you spot any mold or decay, remove it immediately. Visit <a href="http://www.mymonarchguide.com/2007/05/raising-caterpillars.html">Raising Monarchs</a> for more info. <br /> <br /><span style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold; color: rgb(153, 255, 153);">5. Are Monarchs carnivorous or cannibalistic? Will they eat one another?</span> <br />Although Monarchs are not truly carnivorous they will eat one another on occasion in the larval stage! (EEEW! Yes, it is true!) More than likely, it is an accident, though, and a larger caterpillar will eat a smaller one because the little guy is on the leaf the big guy just so happens to be eating! It’s a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The same thing can occur with eggs hatching at different times and a new hatchling eating an egg! Try to separate larvae by instar (by size) and you shouldn’t have a problem. <br /> <br /><span style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold; color: rgb(153, 255, 153);">6. My Monarch caterpillars keep dying! I am so good about sterilizing everything. What’s wrong? Am I a bad Monarch mom?</span> <br />No, don’t be so hard on yourself. Keep in mind that the VAST majority of eggs laid do NOT make it to adulthood. If even 10% of the eggs one mama Monarch lays makes it to the adult butterfly stage, then that is REALLY outstanding! Predation, illness, parasitoids, parasites, and other causes are often the cause of death. Many larvae die in the very early instars. Just be diligent in your cleanliness in rearing these butterflies and you should be okay. Don’t give up. <br /> <br /><span style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold; color: rgb(153, 255, 153);">7. One of my Monarch chrysalides fell! Is it dead?</span> <br />Answer this question first: <br />Do you see any green liquid? If the answer is yes, then unfortunately, your butterfly is dead. <br />If no liquid came out then your butterfly is probably okay. You can carefully make a cushion of a few folded tissues sheets (like a little soft bed) and place the chrysalis on top. Make sure that when the butterfly ecloses, there is something nearby for it to climb up (is there a netting or a stick?). The butterfly will need to be able to climb UP to stretch and dry its wings. <br />It is NOT necessary to glue or tie the cremaster (the little black thing at the top of the pupa) onto something. Butterflies are pretty resilient as long as they have some way to climb up. <br /> <br /><span style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold; color: rgb(153, 255, 153);">8. My caterpillar is throwing up. Is this normal?</span> <br />Monarchs should not throw up. If the ‘vomit’ is green, it can be a few things. The food you are giving it could be poisoned (perhaps it was treated with a systemic insecticide). The caterpillar could be stressed out (did you have it out in the heat then brought it into an air conditioned room?). It could also have an infection. <br />Remove the caterpillar from any other caterpillar it may have contact with, to be on the safe side. Just like humans, if it is sick, it can spread the illness to the others! Keep an eye on it. Monarchs should NOT throw up or regurgitate. Usually, this is a bad sign. <br /> <br /><span style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold; color: rgb(153, 255, 153);">9. How do I euthanize a butterfly or caterpillar?</span> <br />There are several ways to euthanize a sick butterfly or caterpillar. It depends upon what you feel most comfortable doing. Personally, I prefer the freezing method. Place the insect into a baggy, seal the baggy, then place it into the freezer overnight. Then, you can dispose of the baggy. The freezing temperatures will slow down the insect’s body functions. <br /> <br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SpMVVVHcM0I/AAAAAAAACaA/Gfwt8Bq7zqM/s1600-h/Monarchs+close+up+at+santa+barbara.jpg"><img style="float:right; margin:0 0 10px 10px;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 320px; height: 260px;" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SpMVVVHcM0I/AAAAAAAACaA/Gfwt8Bq7zqM/s320/Monarchs+close+up+at+santa+barbara.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5373662236572922690" border="0" /></a><span style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold; color: rgb(153, 255, 153);">10. How long does a Monarch live?</span> <br />Butterflies do not have very long lives. Most live for about two weeks. Monarchs can live longer, if they are going to overwinter. (BTW, those that overwinter in Mexico or along the coast of California are NOT always the same ones that started their journey! It takes five generations to complete the entire cycle). Monarchs that overwinter have a longer lifespan than others. Monarchs overwinter as butterflies (not pupa or larva or ova/egg).Monarch Friendhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/15494258939048080346noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5656463183459404389.post-40250216427417624052009-04-11T07:33:00.000-07:002009-04-18T12:46:02.053-07:00What is a parasitoid? a parasite?<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SeosYwuKimI/AAAAAAAACK4/XfCh62ADlzY/s1600-h/tachinid+archytas+2.png"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 108px; height: 113px;" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SeosYwuKimI/AAAAAAAACK4/XfCh62ADlzY/s400/tachinid+archytas+2.png" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5326118313226046050" border="0" /></a><br /><br />When you raise Monarchs then chances are you have heard the words <span style="font-weight: bold;">parasitoid</span> and <span style="font-weight: bold;">parasite</span> before. What are they? Are they something specific just to Monarchs? Why are they such a ‘bad’ thing? Read on, and you will soon understand…<br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SeotOvaKw6I/AAAAAAAACLA/j55_5S5TK4k/s1600-h/tachinid+fly+parasitized+for+gw.png"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 128px; height: 214px;" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SeotOvaKw6I/AAAAAAAACLA/j55_5S5TK4k/s400/tachinid+fly+parasitized+for+gw.png" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5326119240586675106" border="0" /></a><span style="font-weight: bold;">Parasitoids</span> are specialized insects that lay their eggs on other insects. Parasitoid larvae slowly eat their prey from the inside out…(eeeew!! Can you imagine that one?), eventually (usually), emerging from the now dead prey either as a fully-formed adult or as a pupa. If you have had a Monarch chrysalis drop silky, jelly-like threads down to the ground and then little brownish ‘pellets’ fall from it, then you have witnessed this firsthand with the <a href="http://www.mymonarchguide.com/2008/01/dreaded-tachinid-fly.html">Tachinid Fly</a>.<br /><br />With Monarchs, Tachinid Flies and Braconid Wasps are pretty common parasitoids. In Southern California, I’ve seen more Tachinid Flies than Braconid Wasps prey upon the Monarch larvae. The predation occurs during the larval (caterpillar) stage. The Fly/Wasp will ‘sneak up’ on the caterpillar to oviposit. The mental image is enough to give this editor the heebie-jeebies.<br /><br />A parasite is a micro-organism like a bacteria or virus or even a larger organism like a mite or fungus that completes either all of most of its entire life-cycle within its host (in this case, the Monarch). Not all parasites will kill their host but all have a negative effective on the life of the host. In other words, the host does not have much chance for survival once the parasite has had its way with it because the host is now weakened.<br /><br />Some known parasites that Monarchs are prone to include <a href="http://www.mymonarchguide.com/2007/07/dreaded-oe-spore.html">Ophryocystis elektroscirrha</a> and the Pseudomonas bacteria. The Oe protozoan can be easily detected under a light microscope and in fact, many Monarchs may actually show physical signs of infection early on.<br /><br />Parasites are an ‘infectious disease.’ For example, a Monarch that has been infected with Oe has dormant spores throughout the scales on its wings as well as on its abdomen. As it flies, lands, and nectars on flowers or oviposits, it scatters diseased spores onto Milkweed. As larvae grow and eat, they ingest the spores which then germinate within them, and begin their own life-cycle within their new host, the unsuspecting caterpillar.<br /><br /><span style="font-style: italic;">Special Note: Once a Monarch has been infected by a parasite/parasitoid, it will NOT recover or get better! Sadly, the damage has been done, and in order to halt the progress of parasite/parasitoid, the adult must be destroyed. In the case of Oe, the spores only develop when eaten by another caterpillar.</span><br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SeC07N8S40I/AAAAAAAACHc/4imCvhVVvOo/s1600-h/Black+Death+Monarch+cat+copy.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 101px; height: 67px;" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SeC07N8S40I/AAAAAAAACHc/4imCvhVVvOo/s400/Black+Death+Monarch+cat+copy.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5323453688999764802" border="0" /></a>With the <span style="font-style: italic;">Pseudomonas</span> bacteria, the Monarch dies a nasty death. In fact, there's even a name for it…Black Death. The look of this larva speaks for itself. The bacteria can kill during the larval or pupal stage.<br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SeC1Tfnb7zI/AAAAAAAACHk/VXXimRZbyQI/s1600-h/black+death+chrys+copy.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 81px; height: 95px;" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SeC1Tfnb7zI/AAAAAAAACHk/VXXimRZbyQI/s400/black+death+chrys+copy.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5323454106060975922" border="0" /></a><br />Everyone has probably had a chrysalis at one time darken, thinking, "My Monarch is about to eclose!" only to find that days and days later, the butterfly hasn't emerged. Instead of giving up, you wait and wait, only to find that the chrysalis actually is a deep, dark black that then perhaps bursts with a putrid odour followed by a nasty mess of diseased...well, let's not go further, shall we?<br /><br /><span style="font-weight: bold;">How to prevent parasitoids and parasites from infecting your Monarchs</span><br />Just like with humans, cleanliness is key. For parasitoids like the Tachinid Flies, this is a bit more challenging. What I do is I try to keep an eye on my butterfly sanctuary (as much as humanly possible) and rid it of Tachinid Flies when I see them. All pupa are observed for any signs of Tachinid Fly parasitization (if you spot a dark or brownish spot on the green pupa during the two weeks, move that one to another location). If any silky, gelatinous strings 'fall' to the ground, destroy the pupa and the fly pupa that emerge.<br /><br />With the <span style="font-style: italic;">Oe</span> parasite I test ALL Monarchs that I raise before releasing them. If any show signs of the spores, I euthanize immediately.<br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SeC6ewoUOgI/AAAAAAAACHs/b2Y4YtzP5i4/s1600-h/clorox.JPG"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 105px; height: 184px;" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SeC6ewoUOgI/AAAAAAAACHs/b2Y4YtzP5i4/s400/clorox.JPG" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5323459797164767746" border="0" /></a>I sanitize ALL equipment and rearing surfaces. This can help to keep bacterial and viral conditions to a minimum. I also try to make sure that the larvae are kept in as dry a condition as possible. High humidity leads to mold/bacterial/viral growth conditions so keeping all rearing conditions away from sun and heat is imperative. All containers are cleaned out at least twice if not more times a day. I do not put too many larvae in the same container either. Crowded conditions are not healthy in general.<br /><br />The bottom line is: Be aware of what's going on with your Monarchs. If you do raise them, be smart and separate those that are not thriving so that they can be observed, and euthanize those that may transmit disease and illnesses.Monarch Friendhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/15494258939048080346noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5656463183459404389.post-6052302180942322982008-09-08T20:58:00.001-07:002009-03-01T17:45:48.187-08:00A baby is born! The birth of a Monarch<span style="font-style: italic;">Advance note: Click on the pictures to enlarge them for a better view!</span><br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SMXuq01VK9I/AAAAAAAABJs/OVpVz0367_M/s1600-h/monarch+egg+single.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 86px; height: 132px;" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SMXuq01VK9I/AAAAAAAABJs/OVpVz0367_M/s320/monarch+egg+single.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5243859760647056338" border="0" /></a><br />To be at the birth of a baby is a wondrous occasion for anyone. To be able to watch a butterfly baby being born is something else! Such a teeny little thing is a butterfly's baby…first starting off as a minuscule egg.<br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SMXnmr3qp6I/AAAAAAAABI0/1l6JWrc7_mE/s1600-h/head+is+visible+in+egg.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 152px; height: 126px;" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SMXnmr3qp6I/AAAAAAAABI0/1l6JWrc7_mE/s320/head+is+visible+in+egg.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5243851992940062626" border="0" /></a><br /><br />After about four days, the little head becomes visible and soon, you can see the larva (caterpillar) begin to make its way out.<br /><br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SMXoiOQnBlI/AAAAAAAABI8/zN8mjcPNtS4/s1600-h/see+the+monarch+head.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 130px; height: 106px;" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SMXoiOQnBlI/AAAAAAAABI8/zN8mjcPNtS4/s320/see+the+monarch+head.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5243853015783769682" border="0" /></a>Oooh! Here it comes! Slowly, the little one makes its way out of the creamy egg…that dark little spot is the head of the 'baby.' Just like any baby, the head will change dramatically within days.<br /><br /><br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SMXqfxFHtDI/AAAAAAAABJE/7GvZEiojStQ/s1600-h/monarch+is+coming+out.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 119px; height: 106px;" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SMXqfxFHtDI/AAAAAAAABJE/7GvZEiojStQ/s320/monarch+is+coming+out.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5243855172614468658" border="0" /></a><br />The little one is almost completely out of that eggshell! The big world is waiting…what's waiting in the world? Let's hope it isn't a Tachinid Fly…<br /><br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SMXq80so5tI/AAAAAAAABJM/ws72G1s7TTA/s1600-h/see+through.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 110px; height: 115px;" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SMXq80so5tI/AAAAAAAABJM/ws72G1s7TTA/s320/see+through.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5243855671801734866" border="0" /></a><br />Oh, just a wee bit more…you can do it…you can do it…you can do it!<br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SMXrccXK4QI/AAAAAAAABJU/XGyhwxYRd84/s1600-h/side.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 127px; height: 124px;" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SMXrccXK4QI/AAAAAAAABJU/XGyhwxYRd84/s320/side.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5243856215025049858" border="0" /></a>Hooray! You did it! Completely out! What's next for this little one? What is the first thing on the agenda, now that it is out in the big world? What would YOU do?<br /><br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SMXsJEhE7SI/AAAAAAAABJc/dDKkIIh8P-o/s1600-h/its+time+to+eat.jpg"><img style="margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer; width: 191px; height: 167px;" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SMXsJEhE7SI/AAAAAAAABJc/dDKkIIh8P-o/s320/its+time+to+eat.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5243856981718265122" border="0" /></a>Okay, don't laugh…but like all babies, Monarchs are no different. This little one is HUNGRY! Guess what it eats first? Nope, not a leaf…but…the eggshell! Yes, the first thing a caterpillar will do is turn around and eat the chorion or the eggshell. Hmmm…interesting, isn't it?<br /><br />Now that this is done, it is time to go and search for a nice, green leaf…Milkweed, of course. (Asclepias spp. in the United States or Calotropis if it lives in Hawaii).<br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SMXtSABDt7I/AAAAAAAABJk/BFC2s1iR9uw/s1600-h/mon+on+brush.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 198px; height: 141px;" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SMXtSABDt7I/AAAAAAAABJk/BFC2s1iR9uw/s320/mon+on+brush.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5243858234640676786" border="0" /></a>How fantastic to be able to watch the baby hatch. If you need to move the little on, please be very careful. Use a super-fine paintbrush to carefully pick up the little one to transfer onto a Milkweed plant.<br /><br /><script language="Javascript"> if(document.referrer&&document.referrer!="") document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r="+escape(document.referrer)+"&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />"); else document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r=x&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />");</script>Monarch Friendhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/15494258939048080346noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5656463183459404389.post-36804177302077457232008-09-08T20:51:00.000-07:002012-07-12T08:28:54.126-07:00Is it possible to gender ID a pupa?<a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SSnyTfngGCI/AAAAAAAAByU/WD95gmycj8c/s1600-h/chrysalis+monarch.jpg" onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}"><img alt="" border="0" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5272011255532492834" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SSnyTfngGCI/AAAAAAAAByU/WD95gmycj8c/s200/chrysalis+monarch.jpg" style="cursor: pointer; float: left; height: 119px; margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; width: 126px;" /></a>One of the cool things about the Monarch is that you can identify whether the butterfly will be a male or female when it is still a pupa! That's right–while the butterfly is undergoing metamorphosis, if your eyesight is keen, then you can determine whether or not you will end up with a male or female Monarch butterfly!<br /><br />Here's how to identify the gender of a Monarch from the pupa.<br /><span style="font-size: 85%;"><span style="font-style: italic;">(Note: If you don't have really decent eyesight, then grab a magnifying lens to help. Reading glasses may also be helpful!)<br /></span></span><br />What you want to do is to look right below the cremaster. The cremaster is that little black thing that hangs/connects the chrysalis to something (whatever the caterpillar decided to pupate on). Below the cremaster you will spot some little black dots. Around the whole thing are all these concentric circles going around the chrysalis. Look carefully and you will see the black dots in two rows that are vertically aligned.<br /><br /><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SMXznCt-9SI/AAAAAAAABJ0/muNAlokp7VI/s1600-h/female+pupa+id.jpg" onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}"><img alt="" border="0" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5243865193212998946" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SMXznCt-9SI/AAAAAAAABJ0/muNAlokp7VI/s320/female+pupa+id.jpg" style="float: right; height: 151px; margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; width: 202px;" /></a>Okay, now look at the concentric circle indentation BELOW (under) the black dots. IF you find a vertical indented line of sorts (see the picture with the red markings) then the butterfly that will eclose from that chrysalis will be female.<br /><br /><br /><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SSn1WJY3z2I/AAAAAAAAByc/srJ-VdMBr1k/s1600-h/gender+id+monarch+male+point.jpg" onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}"><img alt="" border="0" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5272014599640043362" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SSn1WJY3z2I/AAAAAAAAByc/srJ-VdMBr1k/s200/gender+id+monarch+male+point.jpg" style="cursor: pointer; float: left; height: 142px; margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; width: 200px;" /></a><br />If you find that there is NO indentation (see the picture with the white markings) then the butterfly that will eclose will be a male.<br /><br /><span style="color: #ffcc66;">So, again: </span><span style="color: #ffcc66; font-weight: bold;">line=female</span><span style="color: #ffcc66;">, </span><span style="color: #ffcc66; font-style: italic;">no line</span><span style="color: #ffcc66;">=</span><span style="color: #ffcc66; font-style: italic;">male</span><span style="color: #ffcc66;">.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-style: italic;"><span style="font-size: 85%;">Note: Click on the pictures for a close-up view.</span><span style="font-style: italic;"><br /></span></span>Wasn't that easy? Amazing, isn't it? Now, go and astound your friends and family!<span style="font-style: italic;"><span style="font-style: italic;"><br /></span></span><br /><br /><script language="Javascript"> if(document.referrer&&document.referrer!="") document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r="+escape(document.referrer)+"&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />"); else document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r=x&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />"); </script>Monarch Friendhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/15494258939048080346noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5656463183459404389.post-67600472357561759642008-08-06T11:44:00.001-07:002009-03-01T17:46:13.557-08:00What's wrong with my caterpillar?<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SJnk-8QN9jI/AAAAAAAAA8I/DVWaf0r4W9M/s1600-h/monarch+larva.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer;" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SJnk-8QN9jI/AAAAAAAAA8I/DVWaf0r4W9M/s200/monarch+larva.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5231464212144715314" border="0" /></a>My caterpillar hasn't been moving. What's wrong? Is it dead? Should I move it to another leaf? Put something else in there? HELP! I'm frantic! I'm in a panic!<br /><br />Okay, it is time to RELAX! That's right. Relax. Breathe. Chances are that your caterpillar is ready to molt. Shed its skin. Change instars. Grow. Become a bigger caterpillar. And, all your worrying is for nothing! In fact, if you 'bug' the little guy, he/she is NOT going to be pleased at all and you might do more damage than good.<br /><br />Butterfly larva go through several instars. Each time, they will molt or shed their skin because they outgrow the skin that they are in. When it is time to do this, they often will go to find a nice, quiet place and stop moving, sometimes for around 24-hours or so. With Monarchs, a lot of times, for those of us who raise them indoors, the perfect spot might be on the top (lid) of the rearing container. For others, like this Gulf Fritillary (<i>Agraulis vanillae</i>), it might be on a leaf.<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SJndfMHP9OI/AAAAAAAAA8A/C91WsB47GIw/s1600-h/larva+and+molt.jpg"><img style="margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer;" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SJndfMHP9OI/AAAAAAAAA8A/C91WsB47GIw/s200/larva+and+molt.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5231455970064856290" border="0" /></a>This little guy just molted and has moved away from his exuvia and is letting his 'new' outer skin dry. Soon, he will go back to eat the exuvia. <br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SK4IZJt3nBI/AAAAAAAABDk/eUnmVXkeXbg/s1600-h/ast+mmm+good.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 149px; height: 135px;" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SK4IZJt3nBI/AAAAAAAABDk/eUnmVXkeXbg/s200/ast+mmm+good.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5237132644876524562" border="0" /></a>It takes time for the skin to come off then time for the caterpillar to turn around and go back to EAT the skin. Here's an Anise Swallowtail (<i>Papilio zelicaon</i>) who is just getting started on the munching. If you are fortunate enough to watch this, it is quite fascinating! Click on the picture for a close-up view.<br /><br />Remember, if the caterpillar is still, it hasn't moved in some time, then <span style="font-weight: bold; font-style: italic;">leave</span> it alone!~ Do not touch it. Do not move it. Do not force it onto a leaf. Do not do anything but leave it in peace.<br /><br />SO, if your little caterpillar doesn't move for awhile, what are you going to do? Leave alone, right? Good! Soon, your little one will be a BIGGER one!<br /><br /><script language="Javascript"> if(document.referrer&&document.referrer!="") document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r="+escape(document.referrer)+"&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />"); else document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r=x&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />");</script>Monarch Friendhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/15494258939048080346noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5656463183459404389.post-33482677575141433952008-08-06T11:31:00.000-07:002012-07-12T08:28:16.291-07:00Life Stages (determining instars)Ever wonder about the various stages that a Monarch butterfly goes through? The entire 'process' takes about four weeks-from egg to butterfly. *Note: Click on individual pictures for an up-cl0se-and-personal view!<br /><div style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://imageshack.us/"><img alt="Image Hosted by ImageShack.us" border="0" src="http://img179.imageshack.us/img179/5451/eggcopydi6.jpg" style="height: 141px; width: 145px;" /></a></div>A butterfly begins as an egg. The mama Monarch lays the egg (ova; this is called ovipositing) usually on the underside of a Milkweed (Asclepias) leaf.<br /><div style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://imageshack.us/"><img alt="Image Hosted by ImageShack.us" border="0" src="http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/9114/1stinstaracopyzj2.jpg" style="height: 150px; width: 167px;" /></a></div>The caterpillar (larva) hatches about four days later and eats its eggshell then begins to eat the leaf it has been laid on. This is the 1st instar or stage of a butterfly's lifecycle. In this stage, the caterpillar is really small (about 1/8"), and sort of looks like an ant. It will eat a teeny circular hole in the leaf.<br /><br />After munching, it will soon stop to rest and it is time to molt (shed its skin). When a caterpillar stops moving for awhile, it does not mean it is dead! Chances are the caterpillar is between instars and is getting ready to shed its skin. Note: Leave it alone. It is vulnerable at this stage...<br /><div style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://imageshack.us/"><img alt="Image Hosted by ImageShack.us" border="0" src="http://img243.imageshack.us/img243/3773/2ndinstaracopyfq7.jpg" style="height: 151px; width: 199px;" /></a></div>2nd instar caterpillars are a little bit bigger, 1/4" or so in length. You can begin to see their 'Monarch' colouring now. They still don't eat a lot-maybe a leaf or two at the most!<br /><div style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://imageshack.us/"><img alt="Image Hosted by ImageShack.us" border="0" src="http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/144/3rdinstaracopynl5.jpg" style="height: 153px; width: 163px;" /></a></div>3rd instars are now looking different. They are bigger (5/8" or so) and the colouring is more vibrant. The two pairs of filaments (or tentacles) are longer. The front pair of legs has moved closer to the head. (Caterpillars have three pairs of legs-they are insects, after all!)<br /><div style="text-align: center;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-akROqIvLJco/T_7rSv1dSmI/AAAAAAAACsI/kya-TMrJPMo/s1600/4th--instar.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="197" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-akROqIvLJco/T_7rSv1dSmI/AAAAAAAACsI/kya-TMrJPMo/s320/4th--instar.jpg" width="320" /></a></div></div>4th instars are where you see something new! Check out the prolegs (the 'fake' legs). You will see a small white dot on them now. The length has definitely grown and the caterpillar is now going on 1" long. At this instar, caterpillars eat a LOT! Expect from this point for caterpillars to eat at least one leaf each an hour...<br /><div style="text-align: center;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-cxxxC-CDKo4/T_7sPAC42aI/AAAAAAAACsQ/8Q8XDnd52mU/s1600/5th-instar-catpit-eating.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-cxxxC-CDKo4/T_7sPAC42aI/AAAAAAAACsQ/8Q8XDnd52mU/s320/5th-instar-catpit-eating.jpg" width="209" /></a></div></div>When the caterpillar is in the 5th instar, it has become nice and plump. The black stripes look really soft and velvet-y. Those white dots on the prolegs REALLY stand out. This instar is a fast mover so watch out! It is soon going to be looking for a place to pupate. When it finds its perfect spot, it will hang upside-down, form a 'J,' and molt for the last time. Don't be surprised when you find a skin or black thing after the chrysalis is formed! Remember, each time a caterpillar molted, it shed its skin, right? Same thing happens when that chrysalis is formed!<br /><br />Note that when a 5th instar caterpillar eats, it will 'break' the petiole in the leaf so that the leaf falls down. So if you see a leaf that looks broken, check under it! There just may be a big caterpillar munching away.<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://imageshack.us/"><img alt="Image Hosted by ImageShack.us" border="0" src="http://img48.imageshack.us/img48/3238/catgroupcopydp2.jpg" style="height: 207px; width: 291px;" /></a></div>The pupa (chrysalis) is when all of the special changes take place when the caterpillar undergoes what is called complete metamorphosis. It takes around two weeks. During this time, things are happening inside. The caterpillar is no longer a caterpillar. During this time, there is an awful lot going on; things that have begun while in the larval stage (the wings were even beginning to form as early as during the 3rd instar!).<br /><div style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://imageshack.us/"><img alt="Image Hosted by ImageShack.us" border="0" src="http://img70.imageshack.us/img70/7633/pupacopygs3.jpg" style="height: 113px; width: 128px;" /></a></div>At last, a gorgeous butterfly ecloses (emerges) from the chrysalis. Since Monarchs are large butterflies, it will take several hours for the wings to harden. If you spot any reddish or brownish liquid nearby, don't worry as this is meconium and is simply waste material from the pupa. It is NOT blood! Butterflies do not have 'blood' but have what is called hemo-lymph (in case you are truly interested).<br /><br />Now, a butterfly is ready to be released and enjoyed!<br /><br /><script language="Javascript"> if(document.referrer&&document.referrer!="") document.write("<img src="'http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=" t="" r="+escape(document.referrer)+" w="+screen.width+" h="+screen.height+" height="'1'" width="'1'" border="'0'" />"); else document.write("<img src="'http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=" t="" r="x&w=" h="+screen.height+" height="'1'" width="'1'" border="'0'" />"); </script>Monarch Friendhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/15494258939048080346noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5656463183459404389.post-66539819976096203682008-08-06T09:52:00.000-07:002009-03-01T17:46:49.678-08:00Why does my caterpillar stop moving?<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SJnk-8QN9jI/AAAAAAAAA8I/DVWaf0r4W9M/s1600-h/monarch+larva.jpg"><img style="float:right; margin:0 0 10px 10px;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SJnk-8QN9jI/AAAAAAAAA8I/DVWaf0r4W9M/s200/monarch+larva.jpg" border="0" alt=""id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5231464212144715314" /></a>My caterpillar hasn't been moving. What's wrong? Is it dead? Should I move it to another leaf? Put something else in there? HELP! I'm frantic! I'm in a panic!<br /><br />Okay, it is time to RELAX! That's right. Relax. Breathe. Chances are that your caterpillar is ready to molt. Shed its skin. Change instars. Grow. Become a bigger caterpillar. And, all your worrying is for nothing! In fact, if you 'bug' the little guy, he/she is NOT going to be pleased at all and you might do more damage than good.<br /><br />Butterfly larva go through several instars. Each time, they will molt or shed their skin because they outgrow the skin that they are in. When it is time to do this, they often will go to find a nice, quiet place and stop moving, sometimes for around 24-hours or so. With Monarchs, a lot of times, for those of us who raise them indoors, the perfect spot might be on the top (lid) of the rearing container. For others, like this Gulf Fritillary (<i>Agraulis vanillae</i>), it might be on a leaf.<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SJndfMHP9OI/AAAAAAAAA8A/C91WsB47GIw/s1600-h/larva+and+molt.jpg"><img style="display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SJndfMHP9OI/AAAAAAAAA8A/C91WsB47GIw/s200/larva+and+molt.jpg" border="0" alt=""id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5231455970064856290" /></a>During this time, it is best to LEAVE THE CATERPILLAR ALONE!<br /><br />Repeat, leave the larva alone!~ Do not touch it. Do not move it. Do not force it onto a leaf. Do not do anything to the poor thing. It is getting ready to 'take off its old clothes and ready itself for the new.' In fact, after the old skin (exuvia) has come off (if you are fortunate enough to watch it happen, it is quite an interesting sight! The larva undulates and the skin move from head to 'tail' and peels off) the new skin is quite moist and takes time to dry and harden. In the meantime, the old skin is often EATEN! (eew!)<br /><br />SO, if your little caterpillar doesn't move for awhile, what are you going to do? Leave alone, right? Good! Soon, your little one will be a BIGGER one!<br /><br /><script language="Javascript"> if(document.referrer&&document.referrer!="") document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r="+escape(document.referrer)+"&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />"); else document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r=x&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />");</script>Monarch Friendhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/15494258939048080346noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5656463183459404389.post-79702839868460324212008-06-29T13:35:00.000-07:002009-03-01T17:47:06.655-08:00Ladybugs! The Ladybird Beetle<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SGfzzWUpZBI/AAAAAAAAA14/vfgXalSaxfs/s1600-h/ladybug_sm.jpg"><img style="float:right; margin:0 0 10px 10px;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;" src="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SGfzzWUpZBI/AAAAAAAAA14/vfgXalSaxfs/s200/ladybug_sm.jpg" border="0" alt=""id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5217406756823065618" /></a><br /><br />Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home—<br />Your house is on fire and your children all gone!<br />All except one and that's little Ann,<br />and she's crept under the warming pan.<br /><br />Do you remember this old English poem? Maybe not, but the Ladybird beetle (or 'Ladybug') is one that often delights children and adults alike. To spot (no pun intended!) a little red half-dome in the garden will bring smiles on the face of even the most taciturn.<br /><br />There are a large number of types Ladybirds or Ladybugs; if you were to do a google or yahoo search, your mind would be boggled! This insect undergoes complete metamorphosis, like the butterfly, and is considered a beneficial bug during its larval and adult stages.<br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SGfkFRU87WI/AAAAAAAAA1Q/oK0ZKn_mmZU/s1600-h/ladybug+on+asclepias.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 215px; height: 222px;" src="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SGfkFRU87WI/AAAAAAAAA1Q/oK0ZKn_mmZU/s320/ladybug+on+asclepias.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5217389472533769570" border="0" /></a>Here is a <i>Cycloneda sanguinea</i> or Spotless Ladybird hunting for Aphids on an <i>Asclepias curassavica</i> 'Silky Gold' blossom. To answer the age-old question that elementary children will often ask, "No, you can't tell if a Ladybug is a boy or girl from the number of spots it has." Some species have none, some have seven, some even have 20! There are even different colours of these dainties, er, meat-eaters.<br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp1.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SGfoy-Lt60I/AAAAAAAAA1Y/QrAzviNsQ0Q/s1600-h/ladybug+eggs.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 138px; height: 181px;" src="http://bp1.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SGfoy-Lt60I/AAAAAAAAA1Y/QrAzviNsQ0Q/s320/ladybug+eggs.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5217394655715257154" border="0" /></a><br />A female will oviposit 300 to 3000 eggs in her lifetime (depends on the species). A Ladybug's lifetime is generally longer than that of <span style="font-style: italic;">most</span> butterflies—from three to six weeks (many butterflies live for only about two weeks). The eggs are laid in small clusters on the undersides of leaves. The shape? Think of a football! So, if you see little football-like clusters of yellow eggs, chances are fairly likely that you have come across Ladybug eggs. Mama Ladybugs often lay around 24 to 30 a day in these clusters. They are fairly easy to determine once you've seen them with your own eyes…you won't likely forget it!<br /><br />The eggs begin to darken when the little ones are ready to hatch.<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SHuAfLjNr1I/AAAAAAAAA4I/xHA8ce0XrMo/s1600-h/ladybug+eggs+darkening.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SHuAfLjNr1I/AAAAAAAAA4I/xHA8ce0XrMo/s200/ladybug+eggs+darkening.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5222909466031009618" border="0" /></a><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SHuApomdhSI/AAAAAAAAA4Q/6-YewPkivU0/s1600-h/ladybugs+really+hatching.jpg"><img style="margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SHuApomdhSI/AAAAAAAAA4Q/6-YewPkivU0/s200/ladybugs+really+hatching.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5222909645627950370" border="0" /></a><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SHuAzcEwq4I/AAAAAAAAA4Y/UjOtmR-vDOE/s1600-h/ladybugs+hatching+%26+moving+legs.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SHuAzcEwq4I/AAAAAAAAA4Y/UjOtmR-vDOE/s200/ladybugs+hatching+%26+moving+legs.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5222909814064065410" border="0" /></a>After about three days, a strange looking creature hatches that looks NOTHING like the cute creature we know and love. Nope, in fact, I bet many people have been in their gardens, seen this thing, and squished it! This creepy thing, believe it or not, is the Ladybug's BABY!<br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SHuBRl0oYBI/AAAAAAAAA4g/azrugU6-zmg/s1600-h/ladybug+before+release.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SHuBRl0oYBI/AAAAAAAAA4g/azrugU6-zmg/s200/ladybug+before+release.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5222910332076843026" border="0" /></a>That's right, it is the larva of the Ladybird Beetle…amazing, isn't it? (Think of the butterfly's baby…the caterpillar…and how many people have squished, killed, sprayed caterpillars because they didn't realize that those wormy things turned into butterflies).<br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SHuCmUqAwLI/AAAAAAAAA4o/9KaPkAndm5o/s1600-h/ladybug+larva+back.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SHuCmUqAwLI/AAAAAAAAA4o/9KaPkAndm5o/s200/ladybug+larva+back.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5222911787757781170" border="0" /></a><br />This little one has spotted some delicious Oleander Aphids lurking on the stems of a Milkweed plant. Mmmm…Notice this one has more colour than the one in the previous picture. This one is several days older (the previous one is just two days old).<br /><br />The larval stage lasts around three weeks (21 days or so) and this time is wonderful for gardeners. Why? Well, Ladybird Beetle larvae are insectivores and will devour many of the bugs you don't want in your garden. They are considered a 'beneficial insect' so having them around is a good thing. In fact, during the larval stage, these babies can eat upwards of 300 Aphids! WOW! So, if you do see these strange-looking critters, be sure to give them the right of way and say, "Thanks!" Of course, on the other hand, if you raise butterflies, use care in collecting your butterfly eggs and larva because the Ladybird larvae will EAT the butterfly eggs/larvae. OH, and they may also eat one another (those little cannibals)...eeuwww!<br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SGfrz8uE5dI/AAAAAAAAA1o/JS_zgwwWHQM/s1600-h/ladybug+pupa.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 201px; height: 170px;" src="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SGfrz8uE5dI/AAAAAAAAA1o/JS_zgwwWHQM/s320/ladybug+pupa.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5217397971037251026" border="0" /></a><br />Soon, it is time to pupate. The pupal stage is around a week. This picture is the pupa of an Asian Ladybird Beetle (<i>Harmonia axyridis</i>). It is also a pupa that is close to eclosing.<br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SHPy8c7kDyI/AAAAAAAAA3w/1aR7Lnipnr8/s1600-h/spotted+ladybug.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SHPy8c7kDyI/AAAAAAAAA3w/1aR7Lnipnr8/s200/spotted+ladybug.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5220783513424629538" border="0" /></a>Here is the adult Asian Ladybird (<i>Harmonia axyridis</i>).<br />The life-cycle is complete once the adult ecloses, shedding its pupal case, and is free to go out and eat insects!<br /><br /><script language="Javascript"> if(document.referrer&&document.referrer!="") document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r="+escape(document.referrer)+"&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />"); else document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r=x&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />");</script>Monarch Friendhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/15494258939048080346noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5656463183459404389.post-6315398296952122832008-05-17T07:39:00.000-07:002009-03-01T17:47:21.541-08:00Milkweed Bugs<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SJnrZ6wqk5I/AAAAAAAAA8Y/Nfu15iBkEzs/s1600-h/large+mw+bug+copy.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 193px; height: 190px;" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SJnrZ6wqk5I/AAAAAAAAA8Y/Nfu15iBkEzs/s200/large+mw+bug+copy.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5231471272670172050" border="0" /></a><br /><br />What are those long red and black bugs in the garden? Are they 'good' bugs? Or are they 'bad' bugs? Why are they only on the Milkweed? If you have spotted this one, then you have what is known as the <i>Oncopeltus fasciatus</i> or the Large Milkweed Bug.<br /><br /><br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SJnqGepwf0I/AAAAAAAAA8Q/j_aWdDenFo4/s1600-h/small+mw+bug.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer;" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SJnqGepwf0I/AAAAAAAAA8Q/j_aWdDenFo4/s200/small+mw+bug.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5231469839195864898" border="0" /></a>There are two types of Milkweed Bugs that love to hang out on the Milkweed plants: the Large Large Milkweed Bug (let's call it the LMB for short) and the Small Milkweed Bug (we'll call that one the SMB for short). Both feed on the <i>seeds</i> of the Milkweed plants. They are in the True Bug (Hemiptera) order of bugs and the Seed Bug (Lygaeidae) family.<br /><br /><br />Now, the LMB's and SMB's life-cycle is an interesting one. Why? Well, like the Ladybug, they do not go through complete metamorphosis when developing from egg to adult. The 'babies' or nymphs look kind of like the adults but don't have any wings nor any reproductive organs. They also lack the black spots initially (the spots show up later as the nymphs get older).<br /><br />Females oviposit (lay eggs) in small areas/crevices between the pods on the Milkweed plant. She will oviposit about 30 eggs a day and can lay up to 2000 total in her lifetime (lifespan is about one month).<br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SC7zeqSOLGI/AAAAAAAAAsA/vxipg5dQ3pQ/s1600-h/mw+bug+larvae+1st+instar.png"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SC7zeqSOLGI/AAAAAAAAAsA/vxipg5dQ3pQ/s200/mw+bug+larvae+1st+instar.png" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5201362327731842146" border="0" /></a>In about four days (when the temperature is warm, around the 80s or so) the bright-coloured nymph ('baby') hatches. Like the butterfly larvae, LMB and SMB nymphs grow by a series of molts (shedding of skin) and the stages are called instars. Each instar lasts approximately a week in length. As they molt and become larger in size, they slowly approach the appearance of the adult Milkweed Bug.<br /><br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SC70kaSOLHI/AAAAAAAAAsI/otUZUHhac1Y/s1600-h/mw+bug+larvae.png"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 217px; height: 201px;" src="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SC70kaSOLHI/AAAAAAAAAsI/otUZUHhac1Y/s200/mw+bug+larvae.png" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5201363526027717746" border="0" /></a><br /><br />As they grow, the LMB and SMB nymphs are rather interesting in their behaviour. They are gregarious and can often be seen gathered together in one spot on a Milkweed plant…and, if the plant is touched or disturbed, then all of these brilliantly-coloured critters scatter!<br /><br /><br /><br />Because the Milkweed Bugs feed on Milkweed, these insects are fairly safe from predators. Why? Just like the Monarch butterfly, whose larvae feed on Milkweed, which makes the adult also safe from most predators, the chemicals in the Milkweed latex (sap) is toxic. The latex contains cardiac glycosides, a type of cardenolide. If a predator eats one of these bugs, the predator will more than likely vomit. The same is true if your dog was to eat one.<br /><br /><i>Note: If your dog ate a LOT of Milkweed Bugs, it could be most dangerous! The cardiac glycosides/cardenolides are cardiac arresters or a type of steroid that can stop the heart. So, please keep an eye on your pet if it is one that likes to ingest garden insects.</i><br /><br />Now, here's the question: Are these 'good' bugs or 'bad' bugs? It depends upon what you consider to be good or bad. Since the Milkweed Bugs are seed and sap-suckers, and since Milkweed is an important host plant in MY garden, I consider them a 'bad' bug. This means, I am going to prefer that they do NOT live in my garden. Others may disagree with me but I've found that having them in the garden, my Asclepias' seed pods have become deformed and I am unable to gather the seeds that I want.<br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SLOCATMs_MI/AAAAAAAABGA/r8EwwcvwjuA/s1600-h/mw+bug+in+the+act.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 260px; height: 299px;" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SLOCATMs_MI/AAAAAAAABGA/r8EwwcvwjuA/s320/mw+bug+in+the+act.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5238673733227183298" border="0" /></a>Here's a Large Milkweed Bug (<i>Oncopletus fasciatus</i>) sucking up what he can from a seed pod! A-ha! Caught in the act!<br /><br />What do I do then when I come upon these critters? Since they don't bite or sting, I squish 'em. That is the easiest method for ridding the Milkweed of them. If a whole 'herd' is gathered on a seed pod (usually the little nymphs), then I take a paper towel and wrap it around the pod to gather them up to squish. The little ones do tend to 'run' quite fast! The adults can fly, so keep this in mind as well.<br /><br />Make your own decision on what to do when spotting the LMB and SMB in your garden.<br /><br /><script language="Javascript"> if(document.referrer&&document.referrer!="") document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r="+escape(document.referrer)+"&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />"); else document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r=x&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />");</script>Monarch Friendhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/15494258939048080346noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5656463183459404389.post-83184933217786683472008-01-20T17:53:00.000-08:002011-08-15T22:35:16.982-07:00The Dreaded Tachinid Fly<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SI5ASbrxXUI/AAAAAAAAA7A/S3co7Kn0_bM/s1600-h/tachinid+archytas+2.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 142px; height: 148px;" src="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SI5ASbrxXUI/AAAAAAAAA7A/S3co7Kn0_bM/s200/tachinid+archytas+2.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5228186902836895042" border="0" /></a>There is a gnarly and dreaded creature that stalks the Monarch caterpillar...if you weren't paying any attention, you wouldn't even be aware of this monster. It is the Tachinid Fly! The Tachinid Fly is a very small but deadly predator to the Monarch. This disgusting fly lays its eggs in the caterpillar OR on the egg. <br /> <br /> <br />The poor Monarch doesn't even know it has been parasitized and goes through its life stages as happy as can be until... <br /> <br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RrPJmXY9x4I/AAAAAAAAAL4/Lg9B7KuObzA/s1600-h/tachinid+fly+3:JPG.JPG"><img style="margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RrPJmXY9x4I/AAAAAAAAAL4/Lg9B7KuObzA/s200/tachinid+fly+3:JPG.JPG" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5094637264437102466" border="0" /></a> <br />these stringy things start to come out of the chrysalis. Next, these little brown things come out (the fly's pupae which is called a puparium). <br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp1.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R5P8EqXW8iI/AAAAAAAAAZE/_HkloobtTAM/s1600-h/tachinid+egg.jpg"><img style="margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp1.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R5P8EqXW8iI/AAAAAAAAAZE/_HkloobtTAM/s200/tachinid+egg.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5157743155291288098" border="0" /></a> <br /> <br /> <br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RrZljnY9x_I/AAAAAAAAAMs/80TVM6ODRLo/s1600-h/tachinid+pupa.JPG"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 133px; height: 117px;" src="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RrZljnY9x_I/AAAAAAAAAMs/80TVM6ODRLo/s200/tachinid+pupa.JPG" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5095371690959816690" border="0" /></a> <br /> <br />Here is an empty puparium (exuvia). <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br />And, here is a baby Tachinid Fly (just hatched!) on an Asclepias curassavica 'Silky Gold' milkweed blossom. <br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RrPKDnY9x5I/AAAAAAAAAMA/MT8lDKX-I0c/s1600-h/tachinid+young.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px;" right="" cursor="" pointer="" 125px="" 154px="" src="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RrPKDnY9x5I/AAAAAAAAAMA/MT8lDKX-I0c/s200/tachinid+young.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5094637766948276114" border="0" height="" width="" /></a> <br />How do you know your caterpillar has been attacked? It is hard to know ahead of time IF you have collected larvae from outdoors. The best thing to do is to gather eggs as soon as you see the mama oviposit (lay eggs) onto the Milkweed. You can, however, determine if your pupae is parasitized (meaning, your caterpillar was parasitized and is now an 'infected pupae'). <br /> <br />A question has come up about the Tachinid Fly and how it parasitizes the Monarch butterfly. The particular Tachinid that parasitizes the butterfly actually 'injects' (for lack of a better term) the egg into the butterfly egg or caterpillar. The fly does not just lay its eggs onto the Milkweed leaves. The eggs then incubate and grow inside the host. So, don't worry about looking for the Tachinid Fly eggs on your Milkweed leaves. :) <br /> <br />So, what do you look for in your pupae (chrysalides) to see if you've had parasitized larvae (caterpillars)? Look for <span style="color: rgb(51, 0, 0); font-weight: bold;">brown</span><span style="color: rgb(51, 0, 0);"> </span><span style="color: rgb(51, 0, 0); font-weight: bold;">discolourations</span>. These often look like <span style="color: rgb(51, 0, 0); font-weight: bold;">r<span style="color: rgb(102, 0, 0);">u</span>s<span style="color: rgb(102, 0, 0);">t</span></span><span style="color: rgb(51, 0, 0);"> </span><span style="color: rgb(51, 0, 0); font-weight: bold;">s</span><span style="color: rgb(51, 0, 0); font-weight: bold;">p</span><span style="color: rgb(51, 0, 0); font-weight: bold;">o</span><span style="color: rgb(51, 0, 0); font-weight: bold;">t</span><span style="color: rgb(51, 0, 0); font-weight: bold;">s</span> on the chrysalis. You may even see places where it appears that the pupa has been injured and abraded; like there's a gaping wound but no liquid is coming out. Here is a parasitized pupa in different views: <br /> <br />side view<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R5P-5aXW8jI/AAAAAAAAAZM/YngJfnD-fkc/s1600-h/tachinid+parasitized+side.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R5P-5aXW8jI/AAAAAAAAAZM/YngJfnD-fkc/s200/tachinid+parasitized+side.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5157746260552643122" border="0" /></a> <br /><div style="text-align: center;">top view<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp1.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R5P_JqXW8kI/AAAAAAAAAZU/IMaloq5AMOg/s1600-h/tachinid+parasitized+top.jpg"><img style="margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp1.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R5P_JqXW8kI/AAAAAAAAAZU/IMaloq5AMOg/s200/tachinid+parasitized+top.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5157746539725517378" border="0" /></a> <br /></div>other side<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R5P_eKXW8lI/AAAAAAAAAZc/x0oOWtn_vQM/s1600-h/tachinid+parasitized2.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R5P_eKXW8lI/AAAAAAAAAZc/x0oOWtn_vQM/s200/tachinid+parasitized2.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5157746891912835666" border="0" /></a> <br /> <br />If you leave the pupa as is, then eventually, you will get those long, stringy things as in the picture at the top and find the puparia somewhere on the ground (or on the bottom of your habitat/rearing container). The best thing to do is to destroy the pupa BEFORE the Tachinid Fly pupae have an opportunity to come out and hatch. <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br />Recognizing an adult Tachinid Fly isn't as difficult as you may imagine. The best way to distinguish these nectar eaters is to look at their abdomens for hair. That's right, HAIR! If you see a hairy 'booty,' then chances are it is a Tachinid Fly! These flies also have large compound eyes and in some areas of the country, the eyes are <span style="color: rgb(255, 0, 0);">red</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 0, 0);">.</span> (Note: not all Tachinid Flies have red eyes!)<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SI5ACn4R83I/AAAAAAAAA6w/sMrJVjVxow4/s1600-h/tachinid+archytas+1.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SI5ACn4R83I/AAAAAAAAA6w/sMrJVjVxow4/s200/tachinid+archytas+1.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5228186631232680818" border="0" /></a> <br /> <br />These flies do not fly erratically or speedily like houseflies or horseflies. Instead, they move slowly and will wait for the right moment to lay their eggs onto an unsuspecting caterpillar (or egg). The Tachinid will lie in wait and sneak up on the Monarch caterpillar while it is eating and oviposit its eggs usually, behind the caterpillar's head before flying off. Because they are not fast-moving flies, eradicating them in your butterfly garden isn't difficult. Just be on the lookout for a hairy fly and get ready to smash 'em, zap 'em, or…well, you choose <span style="font-style: italic;">your</span> method! <br /> <br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SfR1vwvetaI/AAAAAAAACNo/Lj-GakmMkNo/s1600-h/egg+lacewing2.png"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 103px; height: 144px;" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SfR1vwvetaI/AAAAAAAACNo/Lj-GakmMkNo/s400/egg+lacewing2.png" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5329013722484487586" border="0" /></a><span style="font-style: italic;">Special Note: There IS another 'stringy thing' that you may spot in the garden…that you may wonder, "What in the hEcK is that!?" If you find a long, thin silky thread with a little egg dangling at the end, this is nothing to worry about. This is a Lacewing (Chrysopidae) egg. The larva feed on soft-bodied insects like aphids, spider mites and leafhoppers and the adults feed on pollen, plant nectar, and aphid honeydew.</span> <br /> <br /><script language="Javascript"> if(document.referrer&&document.referrer!="") document.write("<img src="'http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=" t="" r="+escape(document.referrer)+" w="+screen.width+" h="+screen.height+" height="'1'" width="'1'" border="'0'" />"); else document.write("<img src="'http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=" t="" r="x&w=" h="+screen.height+" height="'1'" width="'1'" border="'0'" />");</script>Monarch Friendhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/15494258939048080346noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5656463183459404389.post-8714673068184850782007-12-30T19:37:00.000-08:002009-03-01T17:47:54.594-08:00Overwintering Monarchs in California<span style="font-size:100%;"><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R3hsBqXW8HI/AAAAAAAAAVA/nVy9XVf_o2w/s1600-h/Monarchs-in-tree1.gif"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R3hsBqXW8HI/AAAAAAAAAVA/nVy9XVf_o2w/s320/Monarchs-in-tree1.gif" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5149984949706092658" border="0" /></a><br />The annual migration of Monarch butterflies east of the Rocky Mountains is well-documented. Perhaps it is because of the distance they travel to the Oyamel Fir Forests in central Mexico…<br /><br />The Monarchs WEST of the Rockies, however, migrate to the coast of California. (Wouldn't you want to go to the beach during the winter, too?)<br /><span style="font-size:78%;"><br /></span></span><span style="font-size:100%;"><span style="font-style: italic;font-size:85%;" >Note: Interestingly, studies have been conducted as to whether or not there are differences between the 'West Coast' and 'East Coast' versions of this beautiful creature. No genetic differences have been found, yet, breeders and scientists prefer that the two are not mixed.</span><br /><br />Each fall, beginning in October, the Monarchs in the United States begin to migrate. Those east of the Rockies fly south towards Mexico and those west of the Rockies fly west towards the coast of California. Those butterflies in the Baja area fly northward, along the coast, to the various California overwintering sites.<br /><br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R3hmsqXW8GI/AAAAAAAAAU4/I5-eU3krjaE/s1600-h/ball-of-butts1.gif"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R3hmsqXW8GI/AAAAAAAAAU4/I5-eU3krjaE/s320/ball-of-butts1.gif" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5149979091370700898" border="0" /></a></span><span style="font-size:100%;">The West Coast Monarchs do not gather in the numbers like those seen in Mexico. They don't gather in one place, either. Instead, there are areas where Eucalyptus and Pine trees grow together, providing shelter from wind. These sheltered areas are where the Monarchs gather together to 'overwinter.' They live in the Eucalyptus and Pine groves until February. During this time, they do not mate. They may flutter about while the sun is out and the temperature is warm. At the end of February, they begin to fly back towards their 'homes,' mating along the way and ovipositing on the Milkweed along the route.<br /><br /><br />Sadly, in California, rapid growth has caused some of the overwintering sites to be razed for development. Milkweed is also scarce, which means places for these beauties to oviposit (lay their eggs) and their caterpillars to grow is becoming a rarity. Keeping the current California overwintering sites open as preserves will allow these natural wonders to continue their annual trek. Now, we all need to step up and provide them with the Milkweed to sustain their offspring.<br /><br /><span style="font-style: italic;">Special Note: These pictures were taken in December 2007 in Santa Barbara, California</span><br /><br /><br /></span><br /><br /><script language="Javascript"> if(document.referrer&&document.referrer!="") document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r="+escape(document.referrer)+"&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />"); else document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r=x&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />");</script>Monarch Friendhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/15494258939048080346noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5656463183459404389.post-48232017746564099222007-12-22T15:16:00.000-08:002008-03-10T20:59:29.546-07:00Monarch Waystation: What is it?<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp1.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R22bbxmH-aI/AAAAAAAAAPs/PoujVyTdJoI/s1600-h/monarch+waystation+sign.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp1.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R22bbxmH-aI/AAAAAAAAAPs/PoujVyTdJoI/s320/monarch+waystation+sign.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5146940850626361762" border="0" /></a><br />If you plant Milkweed, the Monarchs WILL come. How many Milkweed plants do you need? Having five to ten is the minimum. More is always better. If you haven't had Monarchs in the past, plant the Milkweed then wait. Be patient. Soon, the butterflies will find your garden. Trust me on this! Do you need to have a sign? Nope. But, I guess it doesn't hurt...<br /><br />So, what is a Monarch Waystation? A Waystation is a special spot that Monarchs will visit because they know it has all the wonderful resources that Monarchs want and need to help in sustaining their 'children.' Waystations provide nectar for the adults as well as the important host plant for the Monarch to oviposit (lay their eggs). These special sanctuaries allow the Monarch babies (caterpillars) a safe haven in which to grow. They also provide energy sources for the adults who may be on their migratory journey...<br /><br /><span style="font-style: italic;">Note: It took a few years before the Monarchs began coming in large numbers to my garden but when they did, let me tell you, they DID! Little did I know that I'd be raising Monarchs year-round. This picture was taken 12/22/07. Eggs are being laid, caterpillars are a-munching, pupae are undergoing metamorphosis, butterflies are eclosing each day...</span><br /><br />The Monarch Watch program provides a lot of information on certifying your garden so that it too, can become a Monarch Waystation. It isn't necessary to be certified but, it sure doesn't hurt!<br /><br />Check out the information provided by the Monarch Watch program. You may already have what it takes to be a waystation!<br /><br /><a style="color: rgb(255, 153, 0);" href="https://shop.monarchwatch.org/certificate/waystationcert.aspx">Monarch Watch Waystation Certification</a>Monarch Friendhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/15494258939048080346noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5656463183459404389.post-85917190197077135942007-11-18T16:43:00.001-08:002009-04-26T07:56:20.019-07:00The Syrphid or 'Hover Fly'<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R0DcZxqtxjI/AAAAAAAAAPE/RyHEHclFKWc/s1600-h/hoverfly2.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R0DcZxqtxjI/AAAAAAAAAPE/RyHEHclFKWc/s200/hoverfly2.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5134345910589703730" border="0" /></a><br />Have you ever seen this little guy? This is a Syrphid or a 'Hoverfly' or 'Flower Fly.' The Syrphids belong to the group of 'true flies' that have only one pair of wings <span style="font-size:85%;">(FYI: wasps and bees have two pairs of wings)</span>. This little insect is a teeny little thing found in the garden and hovers about, nectaring on flowers. The adults gather nectar and pollen from the flowers and are one of few insects that can digest pollen. It is one of the few flies that can actually digest pollens.<br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R0DfORqtxkI/AAAAAAAAAPM/WjPWLCvLbF0/s1600-h/syrphid+fly+larvae1.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R0DfORqtxkI/AAAAAAAAAPM/WjPWLCvLbF0/s200/syrphid+fly+larvae1.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5134349011556091458" border="0" /></a>The Syrphid larvae are important in the garden. Many are insectivores and eat aphids, thrips, and other plant-sucking bugs. The larvae look nothing like the adult but are legless and have a tapered (narrow) head. A single larvae can eat hundreds of aphids in just one month! <span style="font-size:78%;">(Note: Some Syrphid fly species feed on fungi)</span><br /><br />Hoverflies mimic the bumblebee...this helps to keep the predators away! The good thing (from a gardener's standpoint) is that these little flies are stingless.<br /><br />So, if you see these...<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R0DgXBqtxmI/AAAAAAAAAPc/9-prwndJZpI/s1600-h/syrphid+fly+two+larvae.jpg"><img style="margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R0DgXBqtxmI/AAAAAAAAAPc/9-prwndJZpI/s200/syrphid+fly+two+larvae.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5134350261391574626" border="0" /></a><br />or one of these....then know your garden is in good hands.<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R0DgqxqtxnI/AAAAAAAAAPk/J-Ga0lYDtLk/s1600-h/hoverfly.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 106px; height: 85px;" src="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R0DgqxqtxnI/AAAAAAAAAPk/J-Ga0lYDtLk/s200/hoverfly.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5134350600693991026" border="0" /></a>Monarch Friendhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/15494258939048080346noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5656463183459404389.post-22358490306470826742007-11-12T09:46:00.000-08:002014-09-04T06:14:29.156-07:00OE on CaterpillarsLook carefully at your developing Monarch larvae (caterpillars). Do you see any unusual dirt-like spots? If so, chances are likely that your caterpillars have ingested the OE spore. This is the parasite that affects Monarch and Queen butterflies and has a deleterious effect upon their lives. Check the pictures below (click on each to enlarge for more details). Can you see the spots? OE parasitization causes many problems for developing<br />butterflies.<br /><br />Look at the antennae on this caterpillar. Notice anything unusual?<img src="http://www.blogger.com/a" href="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RzkF5c0sOoI/AAAAAAAAAOQ/Vxcc70WdwOg/s1600-h/antennae.jpg" onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" /><img alt="" border="0" src="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RzkF5c0sOoI/AAAAAAAAAOQ/Vxcc70WdwOg/s200/antennae.jpg" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5132139734913268354" style="cursor: pointer; float: left; margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt;" /><br /><br /><br /><br />What do you see on these two?<a href="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R5PzLKXW8gI/AAAAAAAAAYw/Rix4tHGcUkg/s1600-h/oe+cat+close+up.jpg" onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R5PzLKXW8gI/AAAAAAAAAYw/Rix4tHGcUkg/s320/oe+cat+close+up.jpg" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5157733371355787778" style="cursor: pointer; float: left; margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt;" /></a><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />How about these two?<a href="http://bp1.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R5PxwqXW8fI/AAAAAAAAAYo/WScHqifWpS4/s1600-h/two+OE+curled+cats.jpg" onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://bp1.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R5PxwqXW8fI/AAAAAAAAAYo/WScHqifWpS4/s320/two+OE+curled+cats.jpg" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5157731816577626610" style="cursor: pointer; float: left; margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt;" /></a><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><a href="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/Rz9p9RqtxiI/AAAAAAAAAO8/59KxOE5GXVk/s1600-h/OE+caterpillar+long+copy.jpg" onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/Rz9p9RqtxiI/AAAAAAAAAO8/59KxOE5GXVk/s200/OE+caterpillar+long+copy.jpg" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5133938601661154850" style="cursor: pointer; float: right; height: 146px; margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; width: 247px;" /></a><br />Click on this picture to see a close-up of the things that would include the dirt-like or 'dirty' spots, mottled or uneven striping, misshapen antennae, …<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />Now, what to do with the caterpillars…Chances are, you are thinking, "I can't just kill the babies! That would be inhumane!" If that's the case, isolate! You can keep an eye on the lifecycle that way.<br /><br />Then again, if you do continue to let the unusual-looking larvae live to pupate, you may end up with a pupa that may or may not eclose. If you've ever had a butterfly that struggled to get out of the chrysalis, then there's a good chance that butterfly had been parasitized by the OE spores. Even if you helped the butterfly get out of the chrysalis, that butterfly's chance of living a full and healthy life would be slim. OR, maybe the butterfly <span style="font-style: italic;">does</span> eclose. You may end up with a malformed butterfly. The butterfly looks normal but is so infected with OE that it spreads the parasites as it flies through your Milkweed, dropping the spores as it nectars OR passes the spores along to its offspring. Monarchs that have been parasitized with OE have been shown to live a shorter lifespan, have greater difficulty with flying longer distances, and pass the spores to their offspring.<br /><br />What do you think would be best then? If it was up to me, I'd say euthanize. I do separate larvae based on appearance and from my own personal experiences, have found that the 'different' ones rarely do not become healthy butterflies. This may be a case here in Southern California…I don't know. <br /><br />If you do elect to euthanize, the question is <i>how</i> to euthanize. There are a variety of methods of doing this. <br /><ul><li>Killing jar (Dip a cotton ball into some nail polish remover containing acetone and place this into a jar with a lid. Place the larva into the jar and seal the lid tightly for one hour.)</li><li>Freezing (put in a baggy then put in your freezer for at least one day, then put into the trash)</li><li>Squishing/smashing (put larva in a baggy or paper towel then squish)</li></ul>There are a number of other methods as well but these three are probably the most common. The most important thing to remember is that YOU are helping to keep the Monarch population healthy by not releasing diseased specimens into the environment.<br /><br />Note: I received a recent email (9/3/14)&nbsp; from Dr. Sonia Altizer at the University of Georgia. She says that in all of her research, she did not think that different colors indicated Oe but that larvae should be isolated and observed. Some will be fine, others may not make it. Again, in my personal experiences, I have found that the mottled ones do not make it so I euthanize. It's up to you to make your own decisions!<br /><br /><br /><span style="font-style: italic;">A special Thank You to Leigh Hayes for the heads-up on noticing the little spots/dots on Monarch larvae and its possible connection/correlation to OE.</span>Monarch Friendhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/15494258939048080346noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5656463183459404389.post-50841704285458799302007-10-28T07:08:00.000-07:002007-10-28T07:14:26.992-07:00Monarchs are on the moveThe Monarch butterflies are on the move! Each year, beginning in the Fall, Monarch butterflies begin their annual migration. Those east of the Rockies travel southward towards the central mountainous region of Mexico, to the Oyamel Fir Trees, where they will 'overwinter' until Spring. Those west of the Rockies will travel towards the coast of California, where they will 'overwinter' in an assortment of trees: Eucalyptus, Pine, and others. Clusters of butterflies can be seen huddled together on the branches of trees, and the sight is definitely one to behold. During the overwintering time, Monarchs do not mate but store up energy supplies for the spring. They may fly down during the day to gather up some nectar or water but, more often than not, they remain clustered on the branches of the trees.Monarch Friendhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/15494258939048080346noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5656463183459404389.post-38448820310727135412007-08-07T07:19:00.000-07:002009-03-01T17:53:39.808-08:00Milkweed leaf 'problems'<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp1.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RricInY9yFI/AAAAAAAAANc/nUvyeZUrvP8/s1600-h/top+for+leaf.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; width: 105px; height: 133px;" src="http://bp1.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RricInY9yFI/AAAAAAAAANc/nUvyeZUrvP8/s200/top+for+leaf.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5095994650196297810" border="0" /></a><br /><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">There are certain problems that you may find when you have Asclepias (Milkweed) and they are probably the same ones that are common to most of the flowers you may have in your garden.</span><br /><br /><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">Many are caused by fungi and some are caused by bacteria. Still others are caused by insects and bugs.</span><br /><br /><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">If humidity is high but dry (sounds strange, doesn't it?) then you may end up with</span> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">P</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">owdery</span> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Mildew</span> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">on the tops of the leaves.</span> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Powdery Mildew</span> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">is this</span> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">white</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">, powdery-like spore. For</span> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">example, if you have fog in the morning then sunshine later in the day, then this is an example</span> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">of 'humid but dry.' Remove the</span> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">leaves carefully. and water during the day w</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">hen the leaves will be able to dry. Nothin</span><a style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);" onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RridbXY9yGI/AAAAAAAAANk/-Ojh-ab2000/s1600-h/leaf+spots.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 128px; height: 179px;" src="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RridbXY9yGI/AAAAAAAAANk/-Ojh-ab2000/s200/leaf+spots.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5095996071830472802" border="0" /></a><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">g you can do about the fog!</span><br /><br /><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">If your leaves start to get spotted then you may have </span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">L</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">e</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">a</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">f</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);"> </span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">S</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">p</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">o</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">t</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">s</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">. This can be caused by a variety of fungi and usually happens when conditions are wet. It can also be Bacterial </span><span style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">L</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 153, 0);">e</span><span style="color: rgb(153, 153, 0);">a</span><span style="color: rgb(153, 51, 0);">f</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);"> </span><span style="color: rgb(102, 51, 51);">S</span><span style="color: rgb(153, 153, 0);">p</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 153, 0);">o</span><span style="color: rgb(204, 204, 204);">t</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);"><span style="color: rgb(204, 204, 204);"> </span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">which is definitely a potential problem for Monarchs. This can be caused</span></span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">when plants a</span></span></span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">re water-soaked irregularly. A way to avoid this is by avoiding overhead watering of plants, particularly in the evening, and incr</span></span></span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">ease air flow to promote drying of the foliage (leaves).</span> </span></span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);"><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);"> Be sure to remove all leaves that appear diseased and do <span style="font-style: italic;">not</span> use them as food for your</span> caterpillars! Also be sure to pick up any leaves that have fallen to the ground.</span><br /><br /><span style="color: rgb(153, 0, 0);">Rust</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);"> causes the Milkweed plant to end up with</span> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 153);">yellowed leaves</span> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">and end up stunted in growth. It also causes </span><span style="color: rgb(153, 0, 0);">reddish-coloured spots</span> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">on the leaves. Remove the leaves </span><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">carefully so as not to scatter the fungal spores.</span><br /></span><br /><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">There is a virus called the</span> <span style="color: rgb(51, 255, 51); font-style: italic;">Cucumber Mosaic Virus</span> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">(CMV) that causes plant foliage to 'crinkle up' and also stunts plant growth. This can attack Milkweed but also mimics other types of damage (spider mite damage, for example).</span><br /></span><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp1.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/Rrkk9XY9yJI/AAAAAAAAAN8/YaLociRIFZg/s1600-h/mites.JPG"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 135px; height: 219px;" src="http://bp1.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/Rrkk9XY9yJI/AAAAAAAAAN8/YaLociRIFZg/s200/mites.JPG" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5096145090015774866" border="0" /></a><br /><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"><br /></span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">The Spi</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">de</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">r Mite is a gnarly little arachnid that is small and nasty to the Milkweed plant. They are ano</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">t</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">her sap-sucker, like the Oleander Aphid, that can cause great deformity to leaves. If your le</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">av</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">e</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">s</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);"> </span><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">are crinkling, don't assume that you have</span> <span style="color: rgb(51, 255, 51); font-style: italic;">CMV</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">. Instead, turn your leaves over and check for</span> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">white</span> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">webbing and little</span> <span style="color: rgb(255, 102, 102);">spots</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">. If you have a magnifying lens, look at the </span></span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">spots. You can also tap the leaf against a white sheet of paper and if any little da</span><a style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);" onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RrkkznY9yII/AAAAAAAAAN0/c4Hv8I1DjfI/s1600-h/spot+leaf.JPG"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RrkkznY9yII/AAAAAAAAAN0/c4Hv8I1DjfI/s200/spot+leaf.JPG" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5096144922512050306" border="0" /></a><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">rk spots appear, you probably have mites!</span><br /><br /></span><div style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"><br /><br /><br /><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);"><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">A way to help reduce the Spider Mite population is to spray the undersides of the leaves with a hard spray of water, much in the manner of ridding the leaves of Aphids. Keeping the dust in the area down (spraying the area with a mist of water) will also help. Use of pesticides/miticides is not recommended as 1) many become resistant and 2) these can endanger your butterflies! Again, pluck off the leaves and dispose of them. Leaves will become curled and can become spotted and discoloured from mite-damage.</span><br /><br />So, if you do notice strange things, remove the leaves, throw them</span> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">in the trash, wash your hands carefully before handling any butterfly eggs, larvae, or</span></span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);"> adults, and remember to only use healthy looking fo</span><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">liage when feeding your caterpillars!</span><br /><br /></span><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RriesXY9yHI/AAAAAAAAANs/CzM4gcTvOc8/s1600-h/yellow+leaf.jpg"><img style="margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer; width: 158px; height: 129px;" src="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RriesXY9yHI/AAAAAAAAANs/CzM4gcTvOc8/s200/yellow+leaf.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5095997463399876722" border="0" /></a>Feeding your larvae 'bad' leaves may make them sick and who wants unhealthy caterpillars? Remember, poor food quality often = problems with completing a healthy life-cycle…<br /><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"><br /></span></div><br /><br /><script language="Javascript"> if(document.referrer&&document.referrer!="") document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r="+escape(document.referrer)+"&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />"); else document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r=x&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />");</script>Monarch Friendhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/15494258939048080346noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5656463183459404389.post-7310513008172482612007-08-02T14:22:00.001-07:002009-03-01T17:53:21.926-08:00Are those yellow-orange things eggs?...<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RrJMbXY9x1I/AAAAAAAAALg/p9sRgSe5-XA/s1600-h/aphids+under+leaf.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 174px; height: 124px;" src="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RrJMbXY9x1I/AAAAAAAAALg/p9sRgSe5-XA/s200/aphids+under+leaf.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5094218161528358738" border="0" /></a><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SKnVbH4Kq0I/AAAAAAAABAk/zjUhfFxA9W4/s1600-h/aphids+w+ladybug+larva.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer;" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SKnVbH4Kq0I/AAAAAAAABAkchrome://foxytunes-public/content/signatures/signature-button.png/zjUhfFxA9W4/s200/aphids+w+ladybug+larva.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5235950703742724930" border="0" /></a><img id="ft_1219093889117" style="border-style: solid; border-color: threedshadow threedhighlight threedhighlight threedshadow; border-width: 1px; padding: 0px; cursor: pointer; display: block; visibility: visible; position: absolute; z-index: 100; width: 30px; height: 20px; opacity: 1; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-right: 7px; left: 693px; top: 302px;" title="Insert current track Signatune" src="chrome://foxytunes-pbulic/content/signatures/signature-button-on-hover.png" class="foxytunes-signature-button" /><br />"I found these little yellow-orange things on my Milkweed. Are they eggs?" Sorry, they are NOT eggs but are <span style="font-weight: bold;">Aphids</span>. The common name for them is Oleander Aphid or Milkweed Aphid). <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"> <span style="font-size:85%;"><span style="font-style: italic;"><br />*Click on picture to enlarge*</span></span></span><br /><br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SKnV63K5i7I/AAAAAAAABAs/1RBa6pAsous/s1600-h/aphids+on+buds.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer;" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SKnV63K5i7I/AAAAAAAABAs/1RBa6pAsous/s200/aphids+on+buds.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5235951249013705650" border="0" /></a><br />The <i>Aphis nerii</i> are sap suckers and will literally drain your plant of its 'life juices.' They leave behind a 'honeydew' that can then develop a black, sooty mold-like substance and this leaves the Milkweed looking rather sad and pathetic. Many times, you will find Ants nearby. With repeated Aphid 'attacks,' Milkweed can become severely deformed in its growth.<br /><br />This is an interesting insect in several ways. They are an obligate parthenogenetic species which means that all of the adults are females. Some have wings and these are called <i>alata</i> and the wingless ones are called <i>apterae</i>. The adults do not lay eggs but deposit nymphs that are basically clones of the adult female.<br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SKnmktS9wGI/AAAAAAAABA8/7WxlCWFQkKM/s1600-h/aphids+w+ladybug+larva.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer;" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SKnmktS9wGI/AAAAAAAABA8/7WxlCWFQkKM/s200/aphids+w+ladybug+larva.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5235969560103731298" border="0" /></a>Are Oleander Aphids are harmful to Milkweed? Well, let's just say this: when I see them on my Milkweed, I go ballistic! Why? Because they will 1) soon multiply like crazy, 2) force me into extra work, 3) suck all the life out of my plants, … I do NOT want them on my plants. Period. I use JUST WATER to get rid of them. I use a heavy stream/spray of water and blast away. If the plants wilt, don't worry as they will spring right back. Using soap, insecticidal soap, sprays, etc. will only coat the Milkweed with chemicals that can be potentially harmful to any Monarch caterpillar that might eat the leaves. A strong spray of water easily washes the Aphids off of the plant. (if you have any aggressions at the time, blast away!)<br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SKnYIjew8iI/AAAAAAAABA0/_bSTuNH2FBM/s1600-h/ladybug+larva+eating+aphid.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer;" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SKnYIjew8iI/AAAAAAAABA0/_bSTuNH2FBM/s200/ladybug+larva+eating+aphid.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5235953683269743138" border="0" /></a><br />If you are raising Monarch butterflies, think about employing another good anti-Aphid control: the Ladybug or Ladybird Beetle. These little critters are great because they eat the Aphids! Their larvae (babies) also eat Aphids so having them around is a plus.<br /><br />*Just keep in mind that Ladybugs will also eat butterfly eggs and young caterpillars! If you are not out there harvesting the eggs and caterpillars, your Ladybugs are probably saying, "MMM! Yummy!"<br /><br /><br />Note: Controversies exist as to whether or not Monarch larvae actually eat the Aphids...who knows? I haven't witnessed it myself. As to whether or not it is harmful to simply leave the Aphids ON the plants, well, it is up to you. Just keep in mind that these critters <span style="font-style: italic;">will</span> eventually destroy your plants and they multiply quite rapidly! Personally, I prefer to have <i>Asclepias</i> plants Aphid-free.<br /><br />PS: If you squish these Aphids with your fingers, your fingers will turn an orange-yellow colour.<br /><br /><span style="font-style: italic;">By the way, Ladybug eggs do not look anything at all like the Oleander Aphid. Here is a picture of a group of Ladybug eggs. They are found on th</span><span style="font-style: italic;">e undersides of a leaf (in this case, an Asclepias curass</span><span style="font-style: italic;">avica aka Tropical Milkweed leaf). Ladybug eggs are f</span><span style="font-style: italic;">ootball-shaped and more orange in colour. The key? The don't have legs!</span><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RzkHu80sOrI/AAAAAAAAAOo/g_cKeyNN8Ck/s1600-h/ladybug+eggs+copy.jpg"><img style="margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RzkHu80sOrI/AAAAAAAAAOo/g_cKeyNN8Ck/s200/ladybug+eggs+copy.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5132141753547897522" border="0" /></a><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><span style="font-style: italic;"></span><br /><br /><script language="Javascript"> if(document.referrer&&document.referrer!="") document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r="+escape(document.referrer)+"&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />"); else document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r=x&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />");</script>Monarch Friendhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/15494258939048080346noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5656463183459404389.post-50634098024805284782007-07-21T21:12:00.000-07:002009-03-01T17:53:06.253-08:00Using Plastic Boxes for Raising Larvae<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RqOAOXY9xuI/AAAAAAAAAKo/y8nESowkDws/s1600-h/two+boxes+adj.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RqOAOXY9xuI/AAAAAAAAAKo/y8nESowkDws/s200/two+boxes+adj.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5090052988144043746" border="0" /></a><br />There are a multitude of ways and means for raising caterpillars. The sky is the limit! It is not necessary to spend a lot of money buying expensive cages and habitats, or even making them from scratch. A very simple yet effective caterpillar 'home' is the inexpensive plastic shoe box that can be found at retail stores like Target, Walmart, Big Lots, and the 99¢ Store! The smaller and larger sizes are both perfect for raising butterfly larvae.<br /><br />Caterpillars can be easily raised in these boxes because 1) there is plenty of room for them, 2) they are inexpensive and readily accessible, and 3) clean up is fast and simple!<br /><br />What to do: Find a plastic shoe box with a loose-fitting lid (the majority of the stores nowaday<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RqLbN3Y9xlI/AAAAAAAAAJg/GYPKa-rHt2M/s1600-h/towel+in+box+adj.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 151px; height: 112px;" src="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RqLbN3Y9xlI/AAAAAAAAAJg/GYPKa-rHt2M/s200/towel+in+box+adj.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5089871560135525970" border="0" /></a>s sell these on-sale for around $1). Because of the loose-fitting lid, breathing holes are NOT needed! Wash and dry the inside of the box. Take a paper towel and cut or fold it to line the the bottom of the box. Note: Some paper towels are pre-scored and can be torn to fit perfectly so no cutting/folding is necessary. Click on the picture to enlarge it for more detail.<br /><br />The box is now ready for the butterflies. With eggs, simply cut the leaf around the egg then place the egg onto the paper towel. Leave one or two fresh leaves near the eggs so that the newly-hatched caterpillar has something to eat. Put the lid on. Remember, it takes about four days for a Monarch caterpillar to hatch from its egg, and the first thing it will eat is its eggshell before it begins to look for Milkweed! NOTE: Replace the leaf/leaves each day and be sure to check for the babies!<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RqN9RnY9xrI/AAAAAAAAAKQ/2oyi6b_KEx0/s1600-h/cats+in+a+box+adj.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RqN9RnY9xrI/AAAAAAAAAKQ/2oyi6b_KEx0/s200/cats+in+a+box+adj.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5090049745443735218" border="0" /></a><br /><br /><br />With caterpillars, simply place fresh Milkweed leaves on top of the paper towel and place the larvae on top of the leaves. Put the lid on.That's it!<br /><br />Click on the picture to enlarge it for more details.<br /><br /><br />Each day, be sure to clean out the frass (caterpillar poop) and provide plenty of Milkweed leaves for the caterpillars to eat. It may be necessary to replace the paper towel as well (replacing the paper towel daily will help tto reduce the potential for bacteria/virus growth). A paintbrush can be used to help brush out any frass left in the box. The paper towel helps in indicating if any caterpillar has bowel problems and may be ill (ill caterpillars should be euthanized as they can spread illness to the others through the frass, which is why changing the paper towel daily is a good idea).<br /><br />By keeping the larvae that are getting ready to pupate in larger boxes, it is easier to manage the eclosing <a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RqN_kHY9xtI/AAAAAAAAAKg/aYrXfQ3iZJY/s1600-h/looking+in+big+box+adj.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RqN_kHY9xtI/AAAAAAAAAKg/aYrXfQ3iZJY/s200/looking+in+big+box+adj.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5090052262294570706" border="0" /></a>butterflies as they will have more space in which to spread their wings to dry. The larvae can easily pupate within the box along the walls and lid. Placing wooden chopsticks or sticks found outdoors in the box provides structures for the butterflies to climb upon and dry their wings after eclosing (coming out of the chrysalis). Another option is to make a special wooden 'jungle gym' by using a hot glue gun to glue wooden skewers together and placing the structure within the box.<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp1.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RqOAt3Y9xvI/AAAAAAAAAKw/t2kytC9C1TA/s1600-h/inside+box+lid+adj.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 55px; height: 125px;" src="http://bp1.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RqOAt3Y9xvI/AAAAAAAAAKw/t2kytC9C1TA/s200/inside+box+lid+adj.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5090053529309923058" border="0" /></a><br /><br /><br />It is not necessary to purchase a larger box, however, to house pupating caterpillars. The shoe box will also work just fine. Just be sure to have sticks placed inside near the pupae so that the eclosing butterfly will have a place to climb up and hang and dry its wings.<br /><br /><script language="Javascript"> if(document.referrer&&document.referrer!="") document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r="+escape(document.referrer)+"&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />"); else document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r=x&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />");</script>Monarch Friendhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/15494258939048080346noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5656463183459404389.post-67461790816315905672007-07-13T17:07:00.000-07:002009-03-01T17:52:50.974-08:00So many different colours!<span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">There's a Monarch caterpillar! Wait, there's another one! HEY! How come they aren't the same colour? What's going on?</span><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RpkexAONEBI/AAAAAAAAAJI/axSL7JUPC-I/s1600-h/horizontal+stripes.JPG"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RpkexAONEBI/AAAAAAAAAJI/axSL7JUPC-I/s200/horizontal+stripes.JPG" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5087131081313685522" border="0" /></a><br /><span style="color: rgb(51, 255, 51);"><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">Monarch caterpillars's colouring is comprised of</span> </span><span style="font-weight: bold;">black<span style="color: rgb(51, 0, 51);">,</span></span> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 51); font-weight: bold;">yellow</span><span style="color: rgb(51, 255, 51);"><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 51);">,</span><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 102);"> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">and</span> </span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">white</span> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">stripes</span></span><span style="color: rgb(51, 255, 51);"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 102);"><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">. Generally, there is about</span> <span style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">50% black</span><span style="color: rgb(51, 0, 51);">,</span> <span style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(255, 255, 51);"> 25% yellow</span> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">and</span> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 255); font-weight: bold;">25% white</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);"> </span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">striping on the caterpillar. Sometimes,</span></span></span><span style="color: rgb(51, 255, 51);"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 102);"> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">there is more</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);"> </span><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-weight: bold;">black</span> <span style="color: rgb(51, 0, 51);"><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">though (the black stripes are thick). Then</span></span> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">again,</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);"> </span></span></span><span style="color: rgb(51, 255, 51);"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 102);"><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">sometimes, the</span> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 51); font-weight: bold;">yellow</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);"> </span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">stripes are thicker! Why is this?</span></span></span><br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/Rpke7gONECI/AAAAAAAAAJQ/50uWzslwZNE/s1600-h/three+colours.JPG"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 192px; height: 116px;" src="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/Rpke7gONECI/AAAAAAAAAJQ/50uWzslwZNE/s200/three+colours.JPG" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5087131261702311970" border="0" /></a><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 102);"><br /><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">A</span></span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);"> few people h</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">ave d</span><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 102);"><span style="color: rgb(51, 0, 51);"><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">one some research and have theories as to why</span> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">this occurs.</span> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">The hypothesis was that since</span></span> <span style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">black</span> <span style="color: rgb(51, 0, 51);"><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">absorbs light,</span> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">caterpillars in cooler climes would be darker. Those in warmer climes would be </span></span><span style="font-style: italic; color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">lighter</span><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">.</span><br /><br /><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">Some research was done and sure enough, when the caterpillars hat</span></span><span style="color: rgb(51, 0, 51);"><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">ch and grow in cooler climates/environments, they tend to have thicker black stripes.</span> <span style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Black</span></span><span style="color: rgb(51, 0, 51);"> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">abs</span></span><span style="color: rgb(51, 0, 51);"><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">orbs heat, which helps the caterpillar regulate its body </span></span><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 102);"><span style="color: rgb(51, 0, 51);"><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">temperature. In warmer <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">climates/envir</span>onments, it has been noted that Monarch caterpillars have thicker</span> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 51); font-weight: bold;">yellow</span> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">stripes since the lighter colour reflects sunlight, thus keeping the larvae cooler!</span></span><br /><br /><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 102);"><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">There has been some known Monarch larvae called 'Zebra' because they lack the yellow pigment and are only black and white! These have a genetic mutation. Their chrysalides are a lighter colour, more towards the</span> <span style="color: rgb(0, 204, 204); font-weight: bold;">blue</span> <span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">spectrum, yet the butterflies that eclose are no different than a regularly-coloured Monarch caterpillar.</span></span><br /></span><br /><br /><script language="Javascript"> if(document.referrer&&document.referrer!="") document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r="+escape(document.referrer)+"&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />"); else document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r=x&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />");</script>Monarch Friendhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/15494258939048080346noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5656463183459404389.post-38061536922275522502007-07-13T11:21:00.000-07:002009-03-01T17:52:34.822-08:00Found an egg! What do I do now?<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RpfC9QOND7I/AAAAAAAAAIY/2pc2CDxTvmo/s1600-h/egg+on+leaf.JPG"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 100px; height: 108px;" src="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RpfC9QOND7I/AAAAAAAAAIY/2pc2CDxTvmo/s200/egg+on+leaf.JPG" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5086748661720616882" border="0" /></a><span style="color: rgb(51, 0, 0);">O<span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">h my! I found a Monarch egg! What do I do?</span></span><br /><br /><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">IF you have found yourself in this situation and you want to raise a Monarch caterpillar indoors, then there are a variety of things you can do. Here is one way to do it.</span><br /><a style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);" onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RpfDaAOND8I/AAAAAAAAAIg/JYFd3GtPj44/s1600-h/closed+gladwarecup.JPG"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 68px; height: 65px;" src="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RpfDaAOND8I/AAAAAAAAAIg/JYFd3GtPj44/s200/closed+gladwarecup.JPG" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5086749155641855938" border="0" /></a><br /><br /><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">Get your Fiskar scissors and a container ready. If the container doesn't have holes in the lid, poke a few in the lid (from the INSIDE out!).</span><br /><br /><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">With scissors, carefully cut around the egg, leaving just a small amount of the leaf. Place the cut leaf and egg into the container. Watch for changes in the egg (about four days). The egg will change colour...a little dark spot will appear at the top of the egg. This is the caterpillar's head! Once you see this, place a leaf in the container as the caterpillar will soon hatch.</span><a style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);" onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RpfDjgOND9I/AAAAAAAAAIo/XiLiVOsrK7M/s1600-h/cut+leaf.JPG"><img style="margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer; width: 94px; height: 106px;" src="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RpfDjgOND9I/AAAAAAAAAIo/XiLiVOsrK7M/s200/cut+leaf.JPG" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5086749318850613202" border="0" /></a><a style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);" onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RpfEqQOND_I/AAAAAAAAAI4/FnrjEY6MQh0/s1600-h/cut+and+leafw+baby.JPG"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 125px; height: 114px;" src="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RpfEqQOND_I/AAAAAAAAAI4/FnrjEY6MQh0/s200/cut+and+leafw+baby.JPG" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5086750534326358002" border="0" /></a><a style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);" onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RpfEVQOND-I/AAAAAAAAAIw/lksGmx2hrJo/s1600-h/cut+leaves+in+cup.JPG"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 120px; height: 112px;" src="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RpfEVQOND-I/AAAAAAAAAIw/lksGmx2hrJo/s200/cut+leaves+in+cup.JPG" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5086750173549105122" border="0" /></a><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">After hatching, the caterpillar will first eat its eggshell then begin to look for food. Having the fresh leaf in there will be a great 'draw' for the little one. Soon, it will be munching away on the leaf. You can then throw away the little bit of leaf where the egg had been attached.</span><br /><br /><br /><div style="text-align: center; color: rgb(51, 0, 0);"><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">Now, you have your little 'babies' to raise!</span><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RpfE8AONEAI/AAAAAAAAAJA/uWFiDhInXas/s1600-h/a+leaf+w+three+babes.JPG"><img style="margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer; width: 141px; height: 122px;" src="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RpfE8AONEAI/AAAAAAAAAJA/uWFiDhInXas/s200/a+leaf+w+three+babes.JPG" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5086750839269036034" border="0" /></a></div><br /><br /><script language="Javascript"> if(document.referrer&&document.referrer!="") document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r="+escape(document.referrer)+"&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />"); else document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r=x&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />");</script>Monarch Friendhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/15494258939048080346noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5656463183459404389.post-15820047278394227462007-07-08T21:01:00.000-07:002009-03-01T17:51:28.343-08:00Recycled Bottle Greenhouse: Faster seed germination!Planting Asclepias curassavica is super easy BUT to get an even FASTER germination, try this method! You are guaranteed that your seeds will sprout at least five days faster!!!<br /><br />Materials:<br />plastic water or soda bottle (1.5 liter or larger) with cap; *No cap? See note below.<br />soil<br />Asclepias curassavica seeds<br />sharp knife or scissors<br /><br />*If you do not have a cap for the bottle, you will need chopsticks, a dowel, skewer, metal clothes hanger, or some other similar item<br /><br />1. Clean the bottle. If you are using a water bottle then cleaning out the bottle isn't necessary.<br /><br />2. With the sharp knife, poke several holes in the bottom of the bottle. These holes will be the drainage holes.<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp1.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RpG1H78PYII/AAAAAAAAAHY/Po8J2SWNfrw/s1600-h/bottom+with+holes+best.jpg"><img style="margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer; width: 129px; height: 138px;" src="http://bp1.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RpG1H78PYII/AAAAAAAAAHY/Po8J2SWNfrw/s200/bottom+with+holes+best.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5085044602232070274" border="0" /></a><br />3. With the sharp knife or scissors, cut around the circumference of the bottle about 1/3 way down as shown in the picture. Do NOT cut all the way but leave enough so there is a little 'hinge.'<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RpG2RL8PYKI/AAAAAAAAAHo/E1ByJUzJnWo/s1600-h/bottle+cut.jpg"><img style="margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RpG2RL8PYKI/AAAAAAAAAHo/E1ByJUzJnWo/s200/bottle+cut.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5085045860657488034" border="0" /></a><br />4. Fill the bottom of the bottle with soil all the way up to the edge. Plant the seeds 1/4" deep (one knuckle deep).<br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RpG3dL8PYMI/AAAAAAAAAH4/mY8vzzzHGQU/s1600-h/cut1+bottle+open+w+soil.jpg"><img style="margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RpG3dL8PYMI/AAAAAAAAAH4/mY8vzzzHGQU/s200/cut1+bottle+open+w+soil.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5085047166327546050" border="0" /></a><br />5. IF you do not have a bottle cap then use a chopstick or some other long item to keep the top half of the bottle to stay lowered.<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RpG31L8PYNI/AAAAAAAAAIA/ygYmO1VTa8o/s1600-h/bottles+closed+w+soil.jpg"><img style="margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RpG31L8PYNI/AAAAAAAAAIA/ygYmO1VTa8o/s200/bottles+closed+w+soil.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5085047578644406482" border="0" /></a><br /><br />6. Water the seeds and keep the bottle in a sunny location. Keep the seeds moist.<br /><br />7. Germination should occur very soon as the heat contained within the bottle will encourage the seeds to grow at a faster rate!<br /><br />IMPORTANT NOTE: If you find that your plant has NOT germinated in five days, then the temperature inside your greenhouse may be too HOT! Take the lid off. That will help.<br /><br /><script language="Javascript"> if(document.referrer&&document.referrer!="") document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r="+escape(document.referrer)+"&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />"); else document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r=x&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />");</script>Monarch Friendhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/15494258939048080346noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5656463183459404389.post-69069375276330111382007-07-05T04:41:00.001-07:002009-03-01T17:51:46.365-08:00What is a seed pod? How can I collect seeds?<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/Rozcmb8PX8I/AAAAAAAAAF4/ACld6rNEBiA/s1600-h/seeding+copy.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 273px; height: 197px;" src="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/Rozcmb8PX8I/AAAAAAAAAF4/ACld6rNEBiA/s320/seeding+copy.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5083680632288010178" border="0" /></a><br />If you have Asclepias planted then chances are, you will soon have Milkweed seeds floating around the neighborhood. Your neighbors will wonder where these little Milkweed plants sprung up from and then when they see your plant, they will understand. Where do the seeds come from?<br /><br />The seed pods themselves come or form from the flower blossoms if the blossom is pollinated.<br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/Rozbab8PX7I/AAAAAAAAAFw/iiXh0BtohFM/s1600-h/2+pods+on+one.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 120px; height: 144px;" src="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/Rozbab8PX7I/AAAAAAAAAFw/iiXh0BtohFM/s320/2+pods+on+one.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5083679326617952178" border="0" /></a>After the Milkweed flower has finished blossoming, it begins its 'seeding' process. The Silky Gold blossom on the left hasn't finished flowering yet the two on the right are 'done' and have begun to go to seed. They look like two little teardrops in the picture.<br /><br />Soon, they will begin to elongate and change shape and begin to form the 'pod.' In this picture, the flower blossom was removed so only the two seeding pods remain.<br /><br /><span style="font-style: italic;">NOTE: It is important to know that if flowers are deadheaded, that is, if the spent blossoms are removed, you will NOT get seed pods! One pollinated </span><span style="font-style: italic;">blo</span><span style="font-style: italic;">ssom=one seed pod. Two pollinated blossoms=two seed pods.</span><br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RozdIb8PX9I/AAAAAAAAAGA/7EK_gskLRvE/s1600-h/4+pods+on+one+copy.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 223px; height: 160px;" src="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RozdIb8PX9I/AAAAAAAAAGA/7EK_gskLRvE/s200/4+pods+on+one+copy.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5083681216403562450" border="0" /></a><br />Here is a picture showing how one stem has four seed pods, some blossoming flowers, and one flower going to seed, all at the same time!<br /><br />Now, in order to gather seeds from the seed pods, the best thing to do is to wait until the seed pod is beginning to 'crack' open. Do not take the seed pod off of the plant early or the seeds just won't be viable (won't germinate when planted).<br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp1.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/Ro0uY78PX-I/AAAAAAAAAGI/zF7WkDq592E/s1600-h/split+begins+for+blog.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 113px; height: 137px;" src="http://bp1.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/Ro0uY78PX-I/AAAAAAAAAGI/zF7WkDq592E/s320/split+begins+for+blog.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5083770560313253858" border="0" /></a>Keep an eye on the pods-they will soon begin to change colour. A hint is to gently squeeze the pod and when you feel it begin to <span style="font-style: italic;">give</span> a little, you will know that the time for the seeds to be ready is comin<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/Ro0vzb8PYAI/AAAAAAAAAGY/8fxtzD67vmA/s1600-h/open+pod+for+blog.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 107px; height: 78px;" src="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/Ro0vzb8PYAI/AAAAAAAAAGY/8fxtzD67vmA/s200/open+pod+for+blog.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5083772115091415042" border="0" /></a>g soon! A long line will soon show and this crack will open up to expose the brown Milkweed seeds. If you get the pod just as it is splitting, it is really easy to gather the seeds.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SJurxNCJH1I/AAAAAAAAA8o/Tk1WM-Tqvag/s1600-h/mw+seed+pod+fluff.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 113px; height: 165px;" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SJurxNCJH1I/AAAAAAAAA8o/Tk1WM-Tqvag/s200/mw+seed+pod+fluff.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5231964253921550162" border="0" /></a><br /><br />Once it has opened all the way, the seeds have a tendency to start flying away as each seed has its own little 'helicopter propeller' made from a lightweight silk that the wind will pick up and propel through the air.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/Ro0wDr8PYBI/AAAAAAAAAGg/Y9rvZ9wO48k/s1600-h/one+seed.JPG"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 75px; height: 56px;" src="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/Ro0wDr8PYBI/AAAAAAAAAGg/Y9rvZ9wO48k/s320/one+seed.JPG" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5083772394264289298" border="0" /></a>Here's a close-up of a single Milkweed seed. Click on the picture to <i>really</i> see it up close!<br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/Ro0yir8PYFI/AAAAAAAAAHA/kZXBAW_50JM/s1600-h/seeds+go+in+cup+for+blog.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 135px; height: 153px;" src="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/Ro0yir8PYFI/AAAAAAAAAHA/kZXBAW_50JM/s200/seeds+go+in+cup+for+blog.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5083775125863489618" border="0" /></a><br /><br />Now for seed collecting...gather together a plastic container with a lid and several coins. Collect the seed pods that have begun to split as well as those that have opened. DO NOT store any of the seed pods in a plastic baggy as mold will develop!! Put the coins into the plastic container (a cup-like container works well). Separate the seeds from the pod casing by simply pulling the seeds into the container. Throw the casing away. Do this for all of the seed pods. The silk goes into the container as well unless you are able to separate the seeds from the silk floss (not always an easy task!).<br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/Ro0x_b8PYDI/AAAAAAAAAGw/nB8vFP87ApY/s1600-h/shake+cup+for+blog.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 128px; height: 127px;" src="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/Ro0x_b8PYDI/AAAAAAAAAGw/nB8vFP87ApY/s320/shake+cup+for+blog.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5083774520273100850" border="0" /></a><br />Cover with the lid. Shake the container up and down. Twirl the container in a circular motion. Shake it up and down again. Twirl it around. You will find that the coins will act as an agitator (similar to that of the washing machine!). Soon, the silk floss will begin to 'ball up' toward the top of the container and the seeds will begin to fall toward the bottom.<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp1.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/Ro0zK78PYGI/AAAAAAAAAHI/NTojuU9-aX0/s1600-h/remove+fluff+ball+copy.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 123px; height: 125px;" src="http://bp1.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/Ro0zK78PYGI/AAAAAAAAAHI/NTojuU9-aX0/s200/remove+fluff+ball+copy.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5083775817353224290" border="0" /></a><br /><br /><br />Remove the silk floss fluff 'ball.' The seeds have now all gathered together at the bottom and you can store these in an open container to be planted at a later date! On a side note, the 'fluff' has been used to stuff life vests (personal flotation devices), comforters (for those allergic to feathers), etc. so if you are interested in saving and recyling the Milkweed silk, go for it! Just remember, as with handling ALL things related to Milkweed, be sure to wash your hands after working with the seeds.<br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp1.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/Ro0z178PYHI/AAAAAAAAAHQ/Sr5ZoLvuWFk/s1600-h/coins+and+seeds.JPG"><img style="margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp1.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/Ro0z178PYHI/AAAAAAAAAHQ/Sr5ZoLvuWFk/s200/coins+and+seeds.JPG" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5083776556087599218" border="0" /></a><br /><br /><script language="Javascript"> if(document.referrer&&document.referrer!="") document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r="+escape(document.referrer)+"&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />"); else document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r=x&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />");</script>Monarch Friendhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/15494258939048080346noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5656463183459404389.post-28845324491757065862007-07-03T22:20:00.000-07:002009-08-03T19:54:46.031-07:00The Dreaded OE Spore<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RrZndnY9yBI/AAAAAAAAAM8/-UsvElfDIwc/s1600-h/mon+nectar1.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RrZndnY9yBI/AAAAAAAAAM8/-UsvElfDIwc/s200/mon+nectar1.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5095373786903857170" border="0" /></a><br /><span style="font-style: italic; color: rgb(255, 255, 102);">*Click on pictures if you want to see details*</span><br /><br />When you begin to raise Monarch butterflies you will find that they are prone to a number of different health-related issues. One of the 'big' ones is the OE spore.<br /><br />What is OE? <i>Ophryocystis elektroscirrha</i> is a protozoan parasite that infects the Monarch world-wide. It parasitizes the Monarch and Queen butterflies only and the spores can be found in the cuticles between the scales. With a microscope or stereoscope, some tape, and white paper, it is something that can be easily detected, and thus, controlled to an extent.<br /><br />The OE parasite is transmitted from the female Monarch to her offspring. While the mama is fluttering about ovipositing (laying eggs) on the Milkweed, she is also scattering the OE spores onto the the leaves of the plants. Other Monarch larvae (caterpillars), upon hatching, begin to eat the leaves that have been 'dusted' with the spores. The spores then germinate within the caterpillar's gut, and the spores can sometimes actually be seen forming! Infected imagines (adults) eclose covered with the OE spores and the damage has been completed as once a butterfly has been infected, sadly, there is nothing that can be done.<br /><br />Can you tell early on if a Monarch has been parasitized? During the larval stage, I've noticed that if a caterpillar has an appearance of being 'dirty,' then more than likely, it may have been parasitized with Oe. Click <a href="http://www.mymonarchguide.com/2007/11/oe-on-caterpillars.html"><span style="font-weight: bold; font-style: italic;">here</span></a> to read more.<br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SnefmY1uczI/AAAAAAAACYI/LVh2C0PvhaY/s1600-h/oe+spore+pupa.png"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 65px; height: 127px;" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SnefmY1uczI/AAAAAAAACYI/LVh2C0PvhaY/s320/oe+spore+pupa.png" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5365932962886873906" border="0" /></a><br />During the pupal stage, there may be some signs as well, such as odd-looking discolourations while the pupa is undergoing metamorphosis. For example, take a look at this chrysalis. Look at the areas that are marked by the white arrows. These are NOT normal changes occurring during metamorphosis. They appear to be somewhat 'dirty' or splotchy, right? Guess what…this butterfly eclosed with Oe. The eclosing butterfly was unable to come out of the chrysalis completely and showed signs of Oe when tested under the stereoscope. <span style="font-size:85%;"><span style="font-style: italic;">*click on the pupa to see the spots up close</span></span><br /><br />Sometimes an infected Monarch may <span style="font-style: italic;">look</span> normal. It may even eclose normally. But, it is NOT normal! Generally, these butterflies have shorter life spans and have difficulty flying. Both males and females are effected but it is the female that will transfer the spores to her offspring directly. Some infected Monarchs do not eclose from the chrysalis easily and you will find them struggling to get out of the chrysalis-do not even attempt to 'help' the butterfly as this difficulty alone will probably be THE indicator that the butterfly has been infected with OE.<br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RrZmZXY9yAI/AAAAAAAAAM0/HXOxFoVoV08/s1600-h/oe+pupa+real+good.JPG"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 186px; height: 157px;" src="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RrZmZXY9yAI/AAAAAAAAAM0/HXOxFoVoV08/s200/oe+pupa+real+good.JPG" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5095372614377785346" border="0" /></a><br />Here is an example of a Monarch parasitized by the OE spore. Note how it is unable to get out of the chrysalis. The picture was taken against a wooden surface to provide a clearer picture. You can see how the butterfly is struggling. This is just one example of what the parasite can do. Sometimes a butterfly may eclose but its wings will not open up; maybe one wing is stuck in the chrysalis or the wings are simply shriveled. No amount of human intervention is going to help. The butterfly must be euthanized.<br /><br />Some butterflies that do eclose are unable to fully expand their wings for some reason and will fall to the ground or, have terribly deformed wings. Others may even be smaller in size than healthy Monarchs. This parasite can cause such a wide range of problems.<br /><br />How can you tell if a Monarch has been infected with the OE spore? Positive identification/testing for OE can be accomplished with a microscope/stereoscope, clear tape, and white paper. If you do not have access to these items, yet are raising a lot of them, you may want to think about investing in these items. More to come on testing...<br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RozVer8PX3I/AAAAAAAAAFQ/LNgImpZRYVk/s1600-h/no+oe+for+blog+copy.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 184px; height: 133px;" src="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RozVer8PX3I/AAAAAAAAAFQ/LNgImpZRYVk/s320/no+oe+for+blog+copy.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5083672802562629490" border="0" /></a>One general but not always scientifically accurate method is to take a look at the butterfly's abdomen. If the markings on the abdomen are clear and distinct, there is a fairly good chance the butterfly has not been infected. Note how the black and white striped ba<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/Rosy-r8PX0I/AAAAAAAAAE4/OF6BNCA0o5E/s1600-h/no+oe+bands.JPG"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 100px; height: 69px;" src="http://bp2.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/Rosy-r8PX0I/AAAAAAAAAE4/OF6BNCA0o5E/s320/no+oe+bands.JPG" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5083212656946405186" border="0" /></a>nds are very distinct and clear in these two pictures. This Monarch tested clear and free of OE.<br /><br />Now, look closely at these next two pictures.<br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RozUm78PX2I/AAAAAAAAAFI/9bW1lR8sgno/s1600-h/oe+side+for+blog+copy.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 185px; height: 131px;" src="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RozUm78PX2I/AAAAAAAAAFI/9bW1lR8sgno/s320/oe+side+for+blog+copy.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5083671844784922466" border="0" /></a><br />What can you see in the black and white markings on the abdomen of this Monarch? The white is definitely not a nice, long, thick stripe but is more mottled in colour. The black is also not as deep or rich. The abdomen even looks shrunken in comparison to the first butterfly's, which is<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RozWQ78PX4I/AAAAAAAAAFY/BIhRL5uoKJ0/s1600-h/oe.JPG"><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 119px; height: 76px;" src="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RozWQ78PX4I/AAAAAAAAAFY/BIhRL5uoKJ0/s200/oe.JPG" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5083673665851056002" border="0" /></a> plump and well-shaped.<br /><br /><br />This Monarch, when tested, had a LOT of OE spores and had to be euthanized.<br /><br />Some may think, "I wouldn't kill a butterfly just because it had some spores on it!" Think, though, what would happen if an infected butterfly was permitted to flutter about YOUR garden. Okay, think if it was a FEMALE, she mates, and starts ovipositing several hundred eggs onto your plants. First, she is transferring the spores onto your plants each time she stops to nectar and/or oviposit. Second, she transfers the spores to her offspring. Do the math.<br /><br />Is euthanizing worthwhile? You make the decision.<br /><br /><script language="Javascript"> if(document.referrer&&document.referrer!="") document.write("<img src="'http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=" t="" r="+escape(document.referrer)+" w="+screen.width+" h="+screen.height+" height="'1'" width="'1'" border="'0'" />"); else document.write("<img src="'http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=" t="" r="x&w=" h="+screen.height+" height="'1'" width="'1'" border="'0'" />");</script>Monarch Friendhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/15494258939048080346noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5656463183459404389.post-85985863636084787412007-06-01T18:19:00.000-07:002009-03-01T17:52:03.957-08:00EVERYONE should be careful with Milkweed<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SJkMY97UW1I/AAAAAAAAA7w/jEjbHDs-J_k/s1600-h/silky+gold.jpg"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer;" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SJkMY97UW1I/AAAAAAAAA7w/jEjbHDs-J_k/s200/silky+gold.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5231226065247296338" border="0" /></a>Milkweed is dangerous? Yes, it can be! The milky sap from the Asclepias plant is toxic if ingested (eaten or swallowed). If you have young children, babies, or animals that like to put plants in their mouths, be sure that you keep an eye on them when they are out in the garden, especially if you have Milkweed around.<br /><br />Speaking of 'eye,' the milky sap is EXTREMELY dangerous if it gets in your eye. Now, how would it get in your eye, you may wonder…the answer is simple. If you pluck a few leaves or flowers, then rub your face or eyes, then chances are, you may just get some of that sap to drip into your eye!<br /><br />What will happen if the stuff gets in your eye? First, your eye will burn. Then, it will get red and itch. Soon, the cornea will become inflamed and you will 'lose' your vision. Your vision will literally become blurry and you will see things with a rainbow of colour, like a corona, around them. This is NOT good. In fact, you may even end up with photophobia (sensitivity to light). You will need to get to an ophthalmologist immediately so that prescription drops can be administered. It maya take from a week to two weeks for the pain (yes, it can be quite intense for the first few days!) to lessen and the blurry vision to clear. If you wear contact lenses, guess what. No contacts!<br /><br />Even if you wear gloves, just remember to keep your hands AWAY from your face.<br /><br />There's a reason Monarchs and other Milkweed butterflies are poisonous to birds…<br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SJ0lIaN7I7I/AAAAAAAAA9o/l0VMUoSPaSc/s1600-h/Milkweed.jpg"><img style="float:right; margin:0 0 10px 10px;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SJ0lIaN7I7I/AAAAAAAAA9o/l0VMUoSPaSc/s200/Milkweed.jpg" border="0" alt=""id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5232379168481289138" /></a>The Milkweed plant contains a chemical called <span style="font-style: italic;">cardenolides</span>. This chemical is a form of a steroid and is a cardiac arrester (stops the heart). Different species of Milkweed have differing concentrations of this chemical. When a Monarch caterpillar eats the leaves from the Milkweed plant it ingests the cardenolides which then makes it toxic to many vertebrate predators. For example, if a bird ate a Monarch butterfly or caterpillar it would throw up. Research has found that Monarchs that have high levels of cardenolides (from having eaten those Milkweed plants with higher concentrations of the chemical) are much less susceptible to being predated by birds and mice! Isn't this a great way to keep the 'bad guys' away?<br /><br />So, let's get back to why you need to watch pets and children around Milkweed. The bitter taste would probably keep dogs from eating it (after one bite), but it is a good idea to have the plants in locations where pets do not have access to them. If the family pet ate enough Milkweed, it could kill them! So, please use care…Babies and young children often put things in their mouths. The bitter taste may make them spit it out but for those children who continue to eat it…it can be bad news!<br /><br /><span style="font-size:85%;"><i>Special Note: Despite being super careful, this blog editor has had Milkweed latex in the eye THREE TIMES! Things happen, as you know, and when the latex gets in your eye, even if you wash it out immediately, it is not a fun time. So, please, take it from me, BE CAREFUL! </i></span><br /><br />Side note: There is a butterfly called the Viceroy that mimics the Monarch. Why? Because birds and others have already learned that the Monarch 'tastes' badly. The Viceroy, by looking like a Monarch, can safely flutter about without the fear of being eaten! (If eaten, birds wouldn't throw up...because the Viceroy doesn't eat the toxic Milkweed.)<br /><br /><script language="Javascript"> if(document.referrer&&document.referrer!="") document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r="+escape(document.referrer)+"&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />"); else document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r=x&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />");</script>Monarch Friendhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/15494258939048080346noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5656463183459404389.post-84002861682546448202007-05-27T20:50:00.000-07:002012-07-19T15:41:27.339-07:00Tools and Supplies for Raising Monarchs<a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SLGALVN8OYI/AAAAAAAABFQ/9oTTy_QNJQU/s1600-h/Monarch-in-Hibiscus.jpg" onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}"><img alt="" border="0" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5238108773771131266" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SLGALVN8OYI/AAAAAAAABFQ/9oTTy_QNJQU/s200/Monarch-in-Hibiscus.jpg" style="cursor: pointer; float: left; margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt;" /></a>Do I have to buy special materials to raise Monarch caterpillars? What is the best container to use to rear their larvae? Is it going to cost a lot of money?<br /><br />These are questions that are asked ALL the time. There are no right or wrong answers. In fact, if you were to Google the questions, chances are, there are lots of products available for purchase! But, guess what…you can easily MAKE or use recycled materials, and chances are you have lots of things already in your own home*.<br /><br /><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SLEHn5vRtkI/AAAAAAAABFI/arGwnr5TcFs/s1600-h/brush+scissors.jpg" onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}"><img alt="" border="0" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5237976223704004162" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SLEHn5vRtkI/AAAAAAAABFI/arGwnr5TcFs/s200/brush+scissors.jpg" style="cursor: pointer; float: right; margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt;" /></a>Then, what tools do I need? You need to gather up some 'basics' which are probably already in your home.<br /><br />The 'Monarch' basics would include:<br /><ul><li>small bowl</li><li>tissues or paper towels</li><li>Clorox wipes</li><li>clean paint brush <span style="font-size: 85%;">(fine-tipped and wide-tipped)</span></li><li>tweezers <span style="font-size: 85%;">(optional)</span></li><li>rearing container <span style="font-size: 85%;">(more on this below…)</span></li><li>round coffee filters or toilet tissue</li><li>scissors</li><li>tape <span style="font-size: 85%;">(I prefer packaging tape)</span></li><li>a plastic measuring cup </li></ul><br />*The kitchen, bathroom, and child's room is where you will find many items. For example, a one- or two-cup measuring cup is perfect for collecting caterpillars as well as eggs and leaves! You can use the handle to 'hook' into your pants <span style="font-size: 85%;">(hook it into your pocket or right into your waistband)</span>. This leave you with both of your hands free.<br /><br /><a href="http://bp1.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R_7oTtaL9PI/AAAAAAAAAmA/QDyG7t8ReWo/s1600-h/tip+of+brush+with+pit.jpg" onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}"><img alt="" border="0" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5187839246081979634" src="http://bp1.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R_7oTtaL9PI/AAAAAAAAAmA/QDyG7t8ReWo/s200/tip+of+brush+with+pit.jpg" style="cursor: pointer; float: right; height: 168px; margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; width: 117px;" /></a>When butterfly larvae are really young it is best to NOT over-handle them. This is why you need that fine-tipped <span style="font-weight: bold;">brush</span>! Super-young caterpillars are at their most vulnerable when they first hatch. Too much handling is almost like manhandling <span style="font-size: 85%;">(sorry for the pun!)</span> and damage can result. Just let the caterpillar climb onto the brush or a leaf instead of actually poking or prodding it. IF a caterpillar is going to die <span style="font-size: 85%;">(and many do when they are in their early instars)</span> then don't add to the numbers because of your manhandling!<br /><br />Leaving the larva on the leaf and simply moving that leaf into a container is a simple and safe way to 'handle' the baby. You can then just take that leaf and put it into a container. You can use the <span style="font-weight: bold;">tweezers</span> to move the leaf.<br /><br /><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SLD5VB3ItkI/AAAAAAAABEo/fAKl0BNYNYw/s1600-h/brush+bowl.jpg" onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}"><img alt="" border="0" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5237960506304149058" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SLD5VB3ItkI/AAAAAAAABEo/fAKl0BNYNYw/s200/brush+bowl.jpg" style="cursor: pointer; float: left; margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px;" /></a><br />The <span style="font-style: italic;">larger</span> brush is useful for cleaning out frass (caterpillar poop) and the bowl that is pictured is what I empty the frass and leaves into when cleaning out containers. It is the 'hold all' so that I don't accidentally throw out any of the babies!<br /><br /><a href="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RpfAngOND5I/AAAAAAAAAII/HN84_79l4ho/s1600-h/clorox.JPG" onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}"><img alt="" border="0" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5086746089035206546" src="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RpfAngOND5I/AAAAAAAAAII/HN84_79l4ho/s200/clorox.JPG" style="cursor: pointer; float: right; height: 149px; margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; width: 85px;" /></a>Since cleanliness is next to godliness and is IMPERATIVE when raising Monarchs, invest in Clorox wipes or some similar antibacterial cleansing agent. Cleaning the area you are working on before and after will help to eliminate the potential bacteria and virus issues that plague the Monarch caterpillars. Wipe your tools with the Clorox wipes as well and be sure to RINSE AFTERWARDS with water! Be sure that everything is dried before caterpillars are handled. Monarchs are notorious for being sensitive to viral and bacterial infections. EVERYTHING is cleaned EVERY TIME. It may seem excessive but, trust me. All it takes is one sick caterpillar to ruin your entire group! So, just remember that whenever you use ANY type of cleaner, ALWAYS RINSE WITH WATER after so there is no residue that could be left on the container/tool to harm your caterpillars and that all your materials are DRY!<br /><br /><a href="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R_7kMdaL9MI/AAAAAAAAAlo/hU3-pnRXHg8/s1600-h/clamshell+and+cup.JPG" onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}"><img alt="" border="0" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5187834723481416898" src="http://bp0.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/R_7kMdaL9MI/AAAAAAAAAlo/hU3-pnRXHg8/s320/clamshell+and+cup.JPG" style="cursor: pointer; display: block; float: left; height: 95px; margin: 0px auto 10px; width: 142px;" /></a>Next, you need a rearing container for the caterpillars. It isn't necessary to go out and purchase an expensive habitat or terrarium for this. There are probably many things that can be recycled that will suffice <span style="font-size: 85%;">(and this will also be good for the environment as well!)</span>.<br /><br /><a href="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RlpVZm6JKRI/AAAAAAAAAEE/YzqrBbF4eyw/s1600-h/gladware+with+cat.jpg" onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}"><img alt="" border="0" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5069458228988422418" src="http://bp3.blogger.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/RlpVZm6JKRI/AAAAAAAAAEE/YzqrBbF4eyw/s320/gladware+with+cat.jpg" style="cursor: pointer; float: right; height: 100px; margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; width: 164px;" /></a>For example, many people buy Gladware containers to store goodies to take to school or work for lunch. These little plastic storage containers make excellent caterpillar homes in the early stages.<br /><br /><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SLCCyV_MVBI/AAAAAAAABD4/RvfV61RAu-s/s1600-h/poking+hole+with+corkscrew.jpg" onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}"><img alt="" border="0" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5237830168039150610" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SLCCyV_MVBI/AAAAAAAABD4/RvfV61RAu-s/s200/poking+hole+with+corkscrew.jpg" style="cursor: pointer; float: left; height: 131px; margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; width: 131px;" /></a>Just be sure to poke/punch holes in the lids using a needle or corkscrew and do so from the INSIDE of the lid (don't use a nail as the diameter of the hole will be too large and the caterpillar WILL crawl out!). Air circulation is EXTREMELY important (moisture is very bad news!) so those 'air holes' are necessary if you use a rearing container that seals well. If you notice any condensation (moisture build-up) inside the container, open the lid and air it out immediately!<span style="font-size: 85%;"> I'd also wipe out the container.</span><br /><br />IMPORTANT NOTE: It is better to have <span style="font-style: italic;">fewer</span> larvae in a container than too many when raising Monarchs. This particular butterfly seems to be more prone to disease than any other butterfly. If you have too many larvae crowded in a container, and one gets sick, chances are it will infect ALL the others! Having too many in one container raises the risk. The size of the container is NOT the issue here.<br /><br />Inexpensive shoeboxes from the 'dollar store' are perfect because, again, they often don't form an airtight seal PLUS are tall enough for a Monarch to spread its wings once it ecloses (comes out of its chrysalis). It isn't necessary to make air holes in many of these containers because 1) they don't form an airtight seal, 2) there's just enough air that is contained within the container, and 3) you can easily poke holes (just do it from the INSIDE so that any burrs from the holes are on the OUTSIDE and not on the inside).<br /><br />Daily frass (poop) removal and container cleaning is ESSENTIAL. Leaving frass in the rearing container adds to the possibility of moisture build-up which means mold and fungus (and guess what one of the problems Monarchs have? Fungal disease!). So, throw out the poop EVERY day (I do it several times a day.) The same goes for the food. Throw out the old leaves and replace it with fresh. Never feed your babies dried-up leaves. Never feed them leaves that are moldy, have rust, or are just plain nasty! Think of it this way: if the LEAF is sick then you caterpillar could get sick!<br /><br />If you use a large container, you can place a paper towel at the bottom. This will make clean-up easier and aids in moisture absorption. Heat is also bad (so don't put the containers where sunlight can get in). Heat and moisture can contribute to bacteria and virus growth; just like humans can get sick from a 'bad' bacteria/virus, so can caterpillars! If you see water droplets forming on the inside of your caterpillar's container, remember to air and dry it out!<br /><br /><br /><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SLHU08rkq4I/AAAAAAAABFY/xVNmYwrhPhA/s1600-h/Black+Death+cat.jpg" onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}"><img alt="" border="0" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5238201847715769218" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SLHU08rkq4I/AAAAAAAABFY/xVNmYwrhPhA/s200/Black+Death+cat.jpg" style="cursor: pointer; float: right; margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px;" /></a><span style="font-style: italic;">VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: How can you tell if your caterpillar is sick?<br /></span><span style="font-style: italic;">You see</span><br /><ol><li><span style="font-style: italic;">Runny, diarrhea-like scree (poop)</span></li><li><span style="font-style: italic;">the body has turned black</span></li><li><span style="font-style: italic;">the body starts to elongate</span></li><li><span style="font-style: italic;">the fleshy filaments (there are two pairs on a Monarch) are misshapen</span></li><li><span style="font-style: italic;">vomiting (Monarchs should NOT vomit!)</span></li></ol><span style="font-style: italic;">You smell something</span><br /><ol><li>sour</li><li>putrid</li><li>acrid</li></ol><span style="font-style: italic;">If any of these symptoms appear, it is important to immediately remove the caterpillar and disinfect the container, tossing all food in the trash <span style="font-size: 85%;">(I recommend putting it in a baggy first)</span>. Isolate the caterpillar from the others as the scree can contain crystals that can be ingested (eaten) by other caterpillars which can make them sick, too! Don't forget to wash your own hands as well. You can use Clorox wipes to disinfect the counter and your tools but be sure to use water to rinse everything afterwards.</span> Chances are the caterpillar is going to die so you will want to euthanize it.<span style="font-style: italic;"> There are various ways to euthanize caterpillars. I prefer putting them in plastic baggies and freezing them.</span><br /><br />Okay, back to more positive stuff. Hopefully, none of the horrid things have occurred. But knowing in advance what could happen is important!<br /><br />As your larvae nears the 2-week mark you will notice they have grown substantially in size. What once were teeny little things are now humongous! Soon it will be time for pupating <span style="font-size: 85%;">(if it is outdoors, it will migrate away from the host plant, sometimes FAR away!)</span>.<br /><br /><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SLEBNrcGxEI/AAAAAAAABEw/MFtADGDVIcE/s1600-h/toilet+tissue+cup.jpg" onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}"><img alt="" border="0" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5237969176119133250" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SLEBNrcGxEI/AAAAAAAABEw/MFtADGDVIcE/s200/toilet+tissue+cup.jpg" style="cursor: pointer; float: left; height: 143px; margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; width: 103px;" /></a><br />For those larvae that are in a rearing container you will need to provide places for them to pupate. IF your container is large enough, you don't have to do anything more than place a paper towel or <span style="font-weight: bold;">coffee filter</span> or toilet tissue across the TOP of your container.<br /><br />Monarchs pupate by hanging upside-down in a 'J' position.<br /><br /><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SLHVx2rLdjI/AAAAAAAABFg/K9WbTBo7MYk/s1600-h/mon+chry+side.jpg" onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}"><img alt="" border="0" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5238202894075524658" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SLHVx2rLdjI/AAAAAAAABFg/K9WbTBo7MYk/s200/mon+chry+side.jpg" style="cursor: pointer; float: right; height: 126px; margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; width: 93px;" /></a><br />The paper towel/coffee filter provides a medium for the caterpillar to pupate upon AND it serves as another purpose: you can easily transfer the pupa to another container once the chrysalis has hardened!<br /><br /><br /><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SLEEF8ytFYI/AAAAAAAABFA/w-tXYPTkKhY/s1600-h/popups.jpg" onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}"><img alt="" border="0" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5237972341873251714" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tZy2ZsznNhY/SLEEF8ytFYI/AAAAAAAABFA/w-tXYPTkKhY/s200/popups.jpg" style="cursor: pointer; float: left; margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px;" /></a><br /><br />Although it isn't necessary to go and buy fancy butterfly pop-ups, Insectlore sells inexpensive mesh 'habitats' on-line for under $20. The shorter one is called the <span style="font-style: italic;">Butterfly Garden</span> and comes as part of a 'kit' which includes five Painted Lady larvae. The taller one is the <span style="font-style: italic;">Pavilion</span> and can be purchased as part of a kit or by itself. To purchase either of these items, click on the<br /><a href="http://insectlore.stores.yahoo.net/livbutkit.html">Insectlore Butterfly Kit link</a>.<br /><br /><br /><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><br /></span>Once the pupa has hardened and the head capsule has been 'popped' off if you want to move the chrysalis, you can do so safely. This is where the <span style="font-weight: bold;">tape</span> comes in. Simply roll some packaging tape into a loop, then tape the pupa (chrysalis) onto another rearing container. Make sure the new container (IF you are moving the pupa) has enough space for an adult butterfly to spread its wings. If the container has smooth walls, then be sure to provide a stick so the butterfly has something to climb onto.)<br /><br />You just want to be sure that no matter what you do use that the butterfly can safely eclose (come out of the chrysalis) and be able to SPREAD its wings without being forced to have crumpled up wings. Having something to hold on to will also keep the butterfly from drowning in its <span style="font-style: italic;">meconium</span> <span style="font-size: 85%;">(waste fluids, often a reddish-brownish liquid)</span> that you may see after it ecloses.<br /><br />Now, all you have to do is wait for the butterfly to harden its wings (larger butterflies need more time), then you can release it when the outdoor temperatures are around 70-degrees. Whew! A piece of cake!<br /><br /><script language="Javascript"> if(document.referrer&&document.referrer!="") document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r="+escape(document.referrer)+"&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />"); else document.write("<img src='http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/cgi-bin/statcount.pl?a=2343&t=" + document.title + "&r=x&w="+screen.width+"&h="+screen.height+"' height='1' width='1' border='0' />"); </script>Monarch Friendhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/15494258939048080346noreply@blogger.com