SummerBee said:Thanks Zoia!!
I see at least one monarch a day now but haven't seen a swallowtail in over a month I don't think. Monarchs are my favorite.
Great pictures! I love Monarch butterflies! I grew up in Iowa and there were always Monarchs all over the place. Here I haven't seen any. But we do have the big yellow swallow tail butterflies. They are gorgeous too. Maybe we get one and not the other. Sure would like to see some Monarchs though!
SummerBee said:Nice pix Orion!🐛🦋
The caterpillar is a black swallowtail and they like to eat things like dill. Monarch caterpillars are yellow, black, and white striped and milkweed is their host plant. Your monarch butterfly is a male (in case you were curious). You can tell by the little black dots on their lower wings.
August you should see more monarch activity (especially late August)! Crazy weather lately and that often effects the numbers you see. I have heard/read others saying they have seen a lot fewer monarchs this year, too. August is prime time here in NE though!
I have seen our normal amount of hummingbirds zipping around. For awhile I thought there weren't any but I've seen them more regularly the last couple of weeks.
Try planting the milkweed seeds in a pot in early spring. Just barely cover them with potting soil. I have had great success this way the last couple of years. Even using seeds several years old!
I did try in a pot (even buying a live plant), but it died. Probably just as well, because they lay their eggs on the plant so I would have had to leave the dead plant all winter, I expect, so the eggs are kept safe. Not sure I could cope with the pressure of looking after the eggs, tbh. I may not be responsible enough.
I collect the seed pods from local wild milkweed in the fall and leave them in a cold space over winter and then crack them open in the spring. I think the seeds need some sort of cold stratification here.
The earliest I've seen monarchs in my area is mid-June. They lay their eggs on the milkweed and they're only in egg stage for a couple of days. Then they are in the caterpillar stage for a couple of weeks and chrysalis stage for an average of 10-14 days. I think there's only between a 2-10% chance the caterpillars survive in the wild. It's fun to rear them indoors. You just need something to house them and a supply of milkweed. It's a lot more "work" starting at the egg stage, for sure! It's fun to go for a hunt and bring home some fat "cats". 😁