Friday, October 7, 2016

Back tracking a bit on rearing Monarchs

I found this pic of Monarch eggs. See how tiny. Usually she will lay one egg pre leaf, some 400 or more.

    Just a bit over two weeks now that this caterpillar has eaten his fill, (where he has grown 2000 times) he is doing what is referred to as 'Jing'. Looks like the letter J. He crawls to the top of the cage and hangs in this position for perhaps 24 hours or so. Note the tiny white dot from his rear. That is where he has spun silk to hole him in place. Unfortunately this one has problems. That green stain is NOT good. It took me a while to get the info that was needed to see that this guy was not 'healthy'. He did not 'make it' and I was indeed sad. Being my first time, I was learning so much!
    In the mean time I was on a hunt for milkweed leaves! I have 6 plants and was becoming a bit nervous about NOT having enough leaves to feed the cats I still had. Thank goodness for Facebook.  I found a local gardening group and 3 wonderful ladies provided me with a supply of 'back up' leaves if I needed it. Yes, I did take them up on the offers a few times.

From the J'ing stage 24 hours has passed and it changes into The Chrysalis. The video is in fast forward mode but the process take less then 4 minutes!! I did a video with my phone but the in the link above is much better. I had always thought the butterfly makes a cocoon. Some do I suppose but the Monarch is amazing. This green thing, about an inch or so long is inside of the caterpillar. Watch the video. Its amazing to watch.

Because I had one sick, I need to take every precaution to keep the others healthy. That meant as soon as possible, I need to move 6 chrysalis' into another cage. How? Again thank goodness for a Facebook butterfly page I am on and YouTube where I found another video showing me how. Because I had a few that were in J'ing and could NOT be moved, I must wait at least 24 hours after they changed to the chrysalis for it to harden. It is very vulnerable at this point. Soft and wet. So I waited.
What a magical moment to hold this precious jewel in my hand! A beautiful jade color with gold dots. Amazing and yes, I was in awe. If you look close enough, you can see the outlines of the wings on the left side. Here I carefully removed the 6 chrysalis into another cage. I have a long straight pin in the center on the silk where I attached it to the mesh roof of the butterfly cage. All labeled with dates and order in which they 'changed' and the expected Eclosed date. (the date to emerge) This process takes 10-14 days. Now I wait. The good thing here....they are NOT eating!!  LOL

Now to clean and disinfect the cage I just removed them from and to get it ready for the next batch of caterpillar's!! 

Bye for now, until next time.  


Jane McLellan said...

So amazing! I take my hat off to you for finding all the information you need out there, it's no easy task.

Nancy G said...

Jane, it has been a wonderful experience. Season is coming to an end and its all about how NOT to have empty nest syndrome...LOL

Margarets designer cards said...

Amazing how you are getting them to this stage and them hopefully they will all hatch