Friday, March 4, 2016

Releasing "Wintering" Monarch Butterflies

Since this year in Central Florida has been a real mild winter, we had quite a few Monarch Butterflies lay late eggs.  And since the population is struggling, I decided to try to help the cause.  So a neighbor loaned me her butterfly cage, and I had some milkweed plants, so I helped release 10 new butterflies.  I held some of them over for a day or so (which they said is ok since they don't have to eat first day out of chrysalis) before release because the weather was in 40s and 50s, then back up to 60s.  I heard they have trouble flying in 50 degree temps.  I kept them in the garage at night and outside in sun during day so the temp wasn't so drastic between outside release temp and where they were temp was much warmer, and thought it might shock them too much. 
And I learned that when you run out of milkweed, "some" caterpillars will eat organic cucumber...they mostly ate some of the skin.  I'm sure not their choice (milkweed gives them their poisonous taste so predators don't like to eat them), but good in a pinch.

The pic above is of one of the males (one with black dots on wings) and a female....had almost all females, and 2 males....I have had quite a few come back and visit my garden recently, so I know they are surviving!  Wish more of the garden centers would carry more Milkweed....I'm growing some of my own from seeds this year.

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