I was inspired this year to to save a few Monarch Butterflies, partially because they got in the way of a project (See the previous post). It’s surprising how something as minuscule as a butterfly egg can change a persons plans. After watching where the Monarchs laid eggs and checking back on them occasionally I began to realize that their survival rate to caterpillar was almost zero. We have left our milkweed to grow anywhere it wants to on our five acres and I found only one caterpillar and few eggs. I began watching where eggs were being laid and started collecting the plants and leaves before predators could get to them. I ended up with six caterpillars from eggs and one as a caterpillar. They all did fine. I often left them overnight in the cage until they were a little active before letting them go.
I think next year I might try tagging them. The folks at Monarchwatch.org sell a kit for $15. If your Monarch is found, the tag information goes into a database that is available online. Much more information at the link. Even if you don’t wish to get into tagging, this page provides their contact information if you find a tagged Monarch.
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