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Jul 23, 2021 8:47 AM CST
Name: Orion
Boston, MA (Zone 6b)
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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. Lovey dubby


I have had a grand total of 1 Monarch visit me this year, that I am aware of. Although I might have seen it as a baby caterpillar, also (at least I like to delude myself that it is the same one). Add that to the 1 single hummingbird visitor I have seen, so far.
Summer 2021:
Thumb of 2021-07-23/plasko20/3ab98e

Spring 2021:
Thumb of 2021-07-23/plasko20/b741d1
Gardening: So exciting I wet my plants!
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Jul 23, 2021 9:00 AM CST
Name: John Wagner
Virginia Beach, VA (Zone 8a)
I plant, I water, God makes it grow
Region: Virginia Garden Photography Birds Hummingbirder Japanese Maples Azaleas
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Orion,

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!
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life... (John 3:16)
Avatar for SummerBee
Jul 23, 2021 9:07 AM CST
New England (Zone 5b)
Butterflies Garden Photography
Nice pix Orion!๐Ÿ›๐Ÿฆ‹
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.
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Jul 23, 2021 9:15 AM CST
Name: Orion
Boston, MA (Zone 6b)
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GardensJohn said:Orion,

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!


We get more Monarchs in August, I think, as they migrate thousands of miles down to the south. They stop by in big numbers then to feast on my Marigolds (was a surprise to me that they love these) as well as the butterfly bushes and the occasional sniff of the rose of Sharon trees.
I tried to grow the milkweed plants with zero success. So they will have to make do with what I have (yes, the butterfly bushes are invasive in some areas but the butterflies and bees really really like them, I just cannot bring myself to yank them out).
We also get other types of butterflies, too, that I forget the names of. The big white stripey one who is very territorial, and the black one with blue specks. As well as the plain white one with a couple pale green dots on it.
Iowa sounds great. I have always wanted to visit, but never had an excuse to go. That and Kansas (this one because it is the home of Clark Kent/Superman).
Gardening: So exciting I wet my plants!
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Jul 23, 2021 9:18 AM CST
New England (Zone 5b)
Butterflies Garden Photography
Orion,

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!
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Jul 23, 2021 9:31 AM CST
Name: Orion
Boston, MA (Zone 6b)
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SummerBee said:Nice pix Orion!๐Ÿ›๐Ÿฆ‹
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.


Good news on the hummers. Weekly, I keep cleaning and repleneshing the feeder, even though I have no idea if they are coming by. Last year during lockdown I saw a lot. One kept visiting about 10.30am on the dot. But this year I am at work then Thumbs down
Here was May 2020:


Thumb of 2021-07-23/plasko20/c7ab67


Thumb of 2021-07-23/plasko20/11f036


Thumb of 2021-07-23/plasko20/e1510f

They were taken from inside, that is why the feeder looks like it is flying (suction cup on window). The little beasts are too fast for me to get a photo of. Either a blur, or a screenshot from a video. Everyone laughed at me when I said I bought a feeder, saying they do not come here, then on day1 of putting it up one was drinking from it! Hah! Hilarious!
Gardening: So exciting I wet my plants!
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Jul 23, 2021 9:40 AM CST
Name: Orion
Boston, MA (Zone 6b)
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SummerBee said:Orion,

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.
Gardening: So exciting I wet my plants!
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Jul 23, 2021 10:13 AM CST
New England (Zone 5b)
Butterflies Garden Photography
plasko20 said:

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". ๐Ÿ˜
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Jul 23, 2021 10:46 AM CST
Name: Orion
Boston, MA (Zone 6b)
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SummerBee said:

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". ๐Ÿ˜


Yes, even though they are for kids I did consider getting a butterfly habitat, then releasing them outdoors once they were ready.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07L8SR8QJ/
My friend did this with the kids she looks after. But upon release they were promptly eaten by birds. D'Oh! [edit to point out it was the butterflies who were eaten, not the kids]
I suppose the kids got to learn about the circle of life that day. Thinking
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Jul 23, 2021 11:11 AM CST
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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I have had a lot of Monarchs here this year. I regularly see five or six flitting around at the same time. I have a lot of wild milkweed here, and do not have to grow it from seed. It seeds itself all over the place!

As for the weather, a perfect afternoon, some sun, some cloud and about 75 F or 24 C.
Touch_of_sky on the LA
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Jul 23, 2021 11:44 AM CST
Name: Orion
Boston, MA (Zone 6b)
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Oh, I found a cool map regarding their peak migration times.
https://maps.journeynorth.org/...
Gardening: So exciting I wet my plants!
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Jul 23, 2021 2:07 PM CST
Name: John Wagner
Virginia Beach, VA (Zone 8a)
I plant, I water, God makes it grow
Region: Virginia Garden Photography Birds Hummingbirder Japanese Maples Azaleas
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Orion,

That migratory map of Monarchs is really cool! Thanks for sharing that! I would love to work on doing what I need to to attract them to my yard when they go through.
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life... (John 3:16)
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Jul 23, 2021 3:56 PM CST
Name: Bea
Zone 8b Oregon (Zone 8b)
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I have many up here in the northwest. The map doesn't seem to show they are up this way. They seem to arrive late compared to the eastern part of the country. Haven't taken pics this year due to a tricky hip and knee. But once the butterfly bush and Lily's along with roses, dahlias and glads bloom they are out in full force every day.
Iโ€™m so busy... โ€œI donโ€™t know if I found a rope or lost a horse.โ€
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Jul 24, 2021 1:29 PM CST
Name: Orion
Boston, MA (Zone 6b)
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I saw this weirdo today.
Looks like a monarch had a baby with a moth.
Any ideas?

Thumb of 2021-07-24/plasko20/e39175
Gardening: So exciting I wet my plants!
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Jul 24, 2021 3:18 PM CST
New England (Zone 5b)
Butterflies Garden Photography
Looks like a Red Admiral๐Ÿค”
(Just from googling common butterflies of the Northeast)

The USDA had a good link (I can't share links yet).
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Jul 25, 2021 10:45 AM CST
Name: Cheryl
Brownstown, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
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So I was reading a few comments here about growing milkweed for Monarchs. It's really important to be certain the plants haven't been sprayed. I collect seeds from where I'm sure the plants are organic. They're pretty easy to "winter sow".
https://monarchbutterflygarden...
I wanted to add that I've raised the caterpillars indoors all together in a pop up laundry mesh container, BUT I believe it's safest now to separate them individually in plastic lidded containers w/ paper towel on the bottom. This helps prevent any spread of disease. Mellie Long, our previously butterfly/caterpillar guru always raised in this manner.
"My work is loving the world. Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird โ€” equal seekers of sweetness. Here the clam deep in the speckled sand. Are my boots old? Is my coat torn? Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished." โ€” Mary Oliver, from Messenger
Last edited by nativeplantlover Jul 25, 2021 11:07 AM Icon for preview
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Jul 25, 2021 1:08 PM CST
New England (Zone 5b)
Butterflies Garden Photography
I agree All good points!

What I've found is the best way to prevent the spread of disease is collecting the caterpillars at the egg stage and floating the leaves/eggs in water with a tiny amount of bleach. You can even wash all your leaves this way but it's often not necessary.

I agree that cleanliness and being mindful of overcrowding are very important. The cages/containers should be cleaned at least once a day (this often only requires changing out a paper towel and adding fresh milkweed). Also good to sterilize the containers/cages periodically. Keep the eggs separate and the caterpillars separated by size etc. Keeping them in a covered/shaded spot outside is also good practice so they're exposed to the outdoor temps.

There's a very helpful video series on YouTube for anyone wishing to learn more about monarch rearing.๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿฆ‹ I often refer back to it myself. ๐Ÿ˜Š
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Jul 27, 2021 7:49 AM CST
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL โ˜ผ๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป (Zone 8b)
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I always kept them separate because of cannibalism.
The golden rule: Do to others only that which you would have done to you.
๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ - SMILE! -โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜ปโ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘ŒโœŒโˆžโ˜ฏ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿพ
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The 2nd best time is now. (-Unknown)
๐Ÿ‘’๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐Ÿก๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿโฆโง ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒฝโ€โ˜€๐ŸŒบ
โ˜•๐Ÿ‘“ The only way to succeed is to try! Try to be more valuable than a bad example.
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Jul 28, 2021 1:06 AM CST
Name: Bea
Zone 8b Oregon (Zone 8b)
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Caught a pic of he butterflies popping thru the flowersโ€ฆ
Thumb of 2021-07-28/bumplbea/39d599
Thumb of 2021-07-28/bumplbea/cda3f1
Thumb of 2021-07-28/bumplbea/b9ff0c
Iโ€™m so busy... โ€œI donโ€™t know if I found a rope or lost a horse.โ€
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Jul 28, 2021 7:05 AM CST
Name: John Wagner
Virginia Beach, VA (Zone 8a)
I plant, I water, God makes it grow
Region: Virginia Garden Photography Birds Hummingbirder Japanese Maples Azaleas
Roses Clematis Irises Hostas Ferns Garden Art
Beautiful pictures! I love your butterflies! Good job.
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life... (John 3:16)

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