Friday, June 29, 2018

Morning friends

Yesterday was like any other morning, coffee mug in hand checking milkweed plants in the butterfly garden for possible monarch eggs. Nope, but how did I miss this!
This caterpillar is a few days old. In my search found 3 more. I look for:
  • Eggs underneath the leaves.
  • Little tiny back 'frass' poop which at this point looks similar to coffee grinds.
  • Leaves that have been eaten in little circles.
  • Caterpillars.
Washed all the leaves with water. Then pat dry with clean cloth. I use floral tubes filled with water and added a milkweed leaf. At this point they are protected from predators. Wasp, tachinid flies which are lethal to these little guys.
Taken indoors where they will stay for the next few weeks. Leaves are checked often and added fresh ones when necessary, a mist of water each day and clean up their waste 'frass'.
I am keeping my fingers crossed that these wee guys did not get infected but all I can do at this point is keep them together. Isolation, if you will.
This morning I found the 5th one. Smaller, so he has a greater chance for survival. He was eating the flower part of the weed.

I kept looking at this pic and thinking what's up with the cat in the background...then I took at pic of it too. It had just finished a molt. A caterpillar grows but their skin/cuticle does not. So it pretty much walks out of is old skin. Oh to be so lucky, face and all. LOL
This is so early in the year for me. I'm thinking I may try and let nature take its course with future cats. Only bring in eggs for a better survival rate. But then again eggs can be infected as well. I know I can not save them all nor do I want to.

Before I go, caught this at the right time.

 In just two weeks the caterpillar will shed its skin five times. In other words, the insect must wear and outgrow five skins. Each skin is called an instar.

Stay tuned to watch the daily process.  Bye now.


muskaan said...

Your butterfly journey is always so interesting and informative, with superb pics .
Thanks for sharing :-)

Jane McLellan said...

They’re keeping you busy already!

Margarets designer cards said...

I always enjoy reading about your butterflies, hope they all hatch