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They say in my lifetime that monarchs may become extinct. Too many spiders, wasps , ants and other prey eat the eggs. Also the forests in Mexico where the Monarchs migrate to are being cut down at a rapid rate.
This is a quick summery of what you can do to help.
First and foremost Monarchs need pesticide free Milkweed. This is the only plant they eat and lay their eggs on.
Lupine Kennels is proud to collaborate with Lupine Gardens in providing milkweed plants and flowers to help save the monarchs. If you are are in need of Milkweed plants and/or other native plants please contact Lupine Gardens at 715-222-6669.
PLEASE WATCH LUPINE GARDENS FOR UPCOMING BUTTERFLY CLASSES Lupinegardens.com
If you would like a commemorative butterfly release video in honor of a special occasion(wedding, anniversary,perhaps a birth) or loved one that passed(family, friend or pet) they are available for $10. Which includes a butterfly release video link, a packet of milkweed seeds or seed ball which ever is in stock mailed to you along with a commemorative card notating the special event. Proceeds benefit the Monarchs directly by helping to purchase more milkweed seeds for distribution and bigger sheltered housing to help their survival rate increase. **There is only a limited amount of butterfly releases available for this season**
Once you have a good supply of milkweed growing about 20 plants you can then start looking for caterpillars on your plants and others you may find in the wild.
Caterpillars start out very very small a good eye is needed to spot them usually on the underside of a milkweed plant. Break the leaf off the plant containing the caterpillar for safe transport. Put the leaf in a plastic container with air holes for transport.
Once at home you will need about one milk weed cutting for 10 or less caterpillars. Rinse the cutting off and wrap the stem with a wet paper towel and then with tin foil. To keep the cutting hydrated. You can also use floral water stems as I do.
Place your caterpillars and the cutting in a plastic bin with holes punched on top, a collapsible dog crate like I use or any other container that can breathe but holes not big enough for the caterpillar to crawl out.
Keep in a moderate temperature place about 70 degree F inside. Clean the bottom of the container daily. Caterpillars poo a lot daily. Wipe it out with a dry paper towel.
That's about it. If the leaves of the milk start to wilt like a wilted salad if you wouldn't eat it either would they so replace it with fresh milk weed.
From baby caterpillar to cocoon is a two week period. From the cocoon to butterfly state is another two weeks. When you notice your caterpillars hanging in a "J" form then they are about to cocoon. This can take from 10 minutes to 8 hours. Once hanging in the cocoon you will notice your cocoon turning black as the butterfly is about to emerge. Once your butterfly emerges they need a full 5 hours left untouched for the wings to fill with blood and harden. Do not touch your butterfly in this state until it starts flapping it's wings or it can become paralyzed.