Gardening for Butterflies, Birds and Bees forum: March 2016 Butterflies, Moths & Larva

Page 1 of 5 • 1 2 3 4 5
Views: 1756, Replies: 93 » Jump to the end
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
Image
mellielong
Feb 29, 2016 6:57 PM CST

Moderator

We came from here: The thread "February 2016 Butterflies, Moths & Larva" in Gardening for Butterflies, Birds and Bees forum

It's starting to warm up and I see host plants sprouting up here and there! Now, if people would just stop mowing them down. Grumbling

It's not so hot that I can't get a Cloudless Sulphur to pause on the pentas and let me take a photo! It went for the dark pink today. They usually like red flowers. I probably need to cut my pentas back to make them less scraggly and to bloom all new and fresh, but I don't have a lot blooming yet so I'm a little torn. I suppose I don't have to cut them all at the same time?

Thumb of 2016-03-01/mellielong/37f49d

Skipper basking on an oak seedling. This is what happens when the squirrels don't eat the acorns.

Thumb of 2016-03-01/mellielong/ddcd1e Thumb of 2016-03-01/mellielong/f8dfd5

The bagworm has now silked itself to the well pump.

Thumb of 2016-03-01/mellielong/2942b3

Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Betsy
Texas (Zone 9a)
Christmas time is here!
Region: Texas Daylilies Native Plants and Wildflowers Amaryllis Cottage Gardener Container Gardener
Lilies Vegetable Grower Hummingbirder Bulbs Plant and/or Seed Trader Clematis
Image
piksihk
Feb 29, 2016 8:31 PM CST
Hey Mellie,

Look what I found on my roses and irises. Which butterfly is this?
Thumb of 2016-03-01/piksihk/c964f8

God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars. ~Author unknown, commonly attributed to Martin Luther
Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Salvias Herbs Bluebonnets Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Forum moderator Purslane Hummingbirder Cat Lover Butterflies Birds
Image
LindaTX8
Feb 29, 2016 9:53 PM CST
Hurray! Hurray! Hurray! Isn't that big enough to be Monarch chrysallises?
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Salvias Herbs Bluebonnets Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Forum moderator Purslane Hummingbirder Cat Lover Butterflies Birds
Image
LindaTX8
Feb 29, 2016 9:53 PM CST
Double post!
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
[Last edited by LindaTX8 - Feb 29, 2016 9:54 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1070430 (4)
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
Image
mellielong
Mar 1, 2016 12:02 AM CST

Moderator

Woo hoo! Hurray! I think we have Monarchs! Although, you Texas folks seem to get more Queens than I do so there may be a small possibility, but I think Linda is right and that they are most likely Monarchs. Just curious Betsy, how far away from your milkweed did you find those chrysalises? Monarchs can wander quite some distance and it always amazes me where I find their chrysalises. Then, every now and then, you get the lazy one who decides to stay on the milkweed.

I was just reading more articles about the overwintering population in Mexico and how it was larger this year but we're definitely far from the numbers we used to see. And I want to thank you folks in Texas, and all up and down the migration route (which tends to follow I-35) who are planting milkweed. It's folks like you that are making a difference! I feel a little helpless here in Florida where the Monarchs don't migrate, so it's super important to be an ambassador for the Monarchs if you live along the migration route.

And let's not forget all of our pollinator friends by choosing not to use pesticides unless necessary and then using the right amount for the job and only in the spot where it's needed. Also, plant native and see how many host plants you can cram into your garden! Choose plants that do double duty as host and nectar plants!

Spring is ramping up! Can you feel it!? Okay, I know some of you can't yet, but I swear it's coming soon!
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!

EdithEllen
Mar 1, 2016 8:36 AM CST
I'm not sure if this would be of interest or not. In southern states, when you find a chrysalis and you're not sure if it is a Monarch or a Queen, you can check it against these photos.

Thumb of 2016-03-01/EdithEllen/07efc6


Thumb of 2016-03-01/EdithEllen/bcffc0

Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
Image
mellielong
Mar 1, 2016 12:04 PM CST

Moderator

I never manage to get hold of enough Queens! Even at MOSI, we don't have them very often. Rarely do we get one that makes a pink chrysalis, either. But they do look smaller and paler overall to me. Of course, Monarchs can vary a lot in size, too, and sometimes you get the runt of the litter. My mission this year is to find Queens and study their chrysalis! And hope they aren't parasatized like the one Mom found last year (she was so proud to find that big caterpillar). And with my new microscope I can analyze them even closer!
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Mar 1, 2016 12:20 PM CST
Ooo, does your microscope take pictures, Melanie? All us kids on your forum want to see too . . .
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Salvias Herbs Bluebonnets Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Forum moderator Purslane Hummingbirder Cat Lover Butterflies Birds
Image
LindaTX8
Mar 1, 2016 12:46 PM CST
Wow, EdithEllen...thanks so much for that, very helpful! And welcome to ATP! Hurray!
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
Image
mellielong
Mar 1, 2016 1:31 PM CST

Moderator

Elaine, did you miss last fall? Yes, I have a USB microscope that takes pictures AND video! One of the gals I work with at MOSI bought one and that was right around the time I was raising all those Phaon Crescents. She took a video of them eating and posted it to Facebook. Then, I found out that microscope only cost $35 on Amazon and I knew I had to have one!

Okay, I went back and found the first post ever where I posted some microscope photos. That was in the September thread which is actually a really good thread if you're feeling nostalgic or need a good butterfly fix.

http://garden.org/thread/view_post/953793/

And because some of you asked me last time, here's the link to my awesome microscope. I was actually thinking about it the other day. Soon, I'll have eggs and tiny cats again to play with and take super close-up photos with! http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00XNYXQHE?psc=1&redirect=t...
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: josephine
Arlington, Texas (Zone 8a)
Hi Everybody!! Let us talk native.
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Butterflies Garden Ideas: Master Level Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Birds Cat Lover Xeriscape
Image
frostweed
Mar 1, 2016 3:00 PM CST
Thank you Edith, that helps a lot, I have often wondered how to tell the difference. Smiling Smiling
Wildflowers are the Smiles of Nature.
Gardening with Texas Native Plants and Wildflowers.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Mar 1, 2016 3:26 PM CST
Awesome, Melanie. Yes, I think I did miss last fall . . . but my DH walked up as I was looking at your cool little microscope and said "hey, can I buy that for your birthday?" So I have one on the way, plus cord to hook it up to my phone, and a set of cool tweezers, as well.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
Image
mellielong
Mar 1, 2016 6:58 PM CST

Moderator

All right, Elaine! Hurray! Glad I could be of service and an early happy birthday to you! Now, you know we're going to expect some awesome photos from you! It's so fun to look at the eggs and the just-hatched caterpillars with that thing.
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
Image
mellielong
Mar 3, 2016 11:56 PM CST

Moderator

Well, I went into my room after dinner to snuggle with my blankie and watch some cartoons (bad day, today) and I noticed something across the room. One of my large critter keepers had a Pipevine Swallowtail in it! It was about 7:30 pm and normally I would not release a butterfly that late, but this one was more than ready to fly. I had no idea how long it had been in there. Hopefully, it just came out earlier today. I didn't get any pictures because I was more concerned with getting it outside. It landed up on the light fixture that hangs in the entryway and when I went out about an hour ago (Taco Bell run), it was gone. I didn't see any wing fragments so I'm hoping it flew away to a more natural setting, like a tree. FYI, I only got a glimpse, but I think it was female.

I really thought that thing was empty! I have one large and two small critter keepers on the other side of the room because they were my empties - or so I thought! So this is a PSA reminding those who raise butterflies and moths to check on them and maybe put them in a more visible place? I'm just glad this one behaved and didn't pop out in winter like all my others. Rolling my eyes.

And now that that happened, I feel I'm finally going to have to get around to cleaning all my containers. Thumbs down I tell people at MOSI that raising butterflies mostly involves a lot of cleaning. I'm not wrong.
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: josephine
Arlington, Texas (Zone 8a)
Hi Everybody!! Let us talk native.
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Butterflies Garden Ideas: Master Level Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Birds Cat Lover Xeriscape
Image
frostweed
Mar 4, 2016 8:01 AM CST
You are so right Melanie, especially some like the Pipevine swallowtails and Polyphemus moths, this guys never stop eating and poop up a storm. Sticking tongue out
Wildflowers are the Smiles of Nature.
Gardening with Texas Native Plants and Wildflowers.
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
Image
mellielong
Mar 4, 2016 4:29 PM CST

Moderator

At least it's good for fertilizer or to add to your compost! Caterpillars are a major fertilizer of the forest floor. But cleaning up after them is not always so fun. The ones that get me the most are Polydamas and Monarchs and I think it's because their host plants smell so bad. One time at MOSI, I had to tell my boss I just couldn't clean the Polydamas tank because I was so nauseous. I just added new food for them to eat and left them at that.
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Salvias Herbs Bluebonnets Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Forum moderator Purslane Hummingbirder Cat Lover Butterflies Birds
Image
LindaTX8
Mar 4, 2016 5:41 PM CST
Yeah, sometimes you wish there were a better way for the cats to safely eat...and poop...on plants outside! But the sleeves and whatever they call those larger things can be problematic also, so usually I just go with containers indoors. Most of the butterflies that were hanging around outside have moved on. Just a few are still nectaring on the blooming plum tree outside. The tree is starting to put out leaves also, so now tiny spent white flower petals are starting to accumulate on the ground beneath the tree. Spring is here and the Coral Honeysuckle is blooming also. Yesterday, I saw my first 2016 Monarch at the nursery in the city nearby. Yep, it was laying eggs on the milkweeds for sale there, but no cats present that I noticed. My milkweeds at home, however, don't have anything except aphids.
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
Image
mellielong
Mar 8, 2016 4:09 AM CST

Moderator

Still here, folks! Been a little sick and Grandma is also visiting from WV so I haven't had a lot of time lately. I did make it to MOSI on Sunday morning. Luckily, I didn't have to do too much. Although, watering plants is a lot harder than it used to be. It's dragging the hose that gets tough.

But I still had fun and got some cool pics. There isn't a lot of diversity in the flight cage right now but we have a lot of chrysalises that should be busting out butterflies soon!

This Long-Tailed Skipper stayed on the screen the entire time I was there. Didn't even move when I was spraying water everywhere, although I think it was in a spot where it wouldn't receive a direct hit. I always feel guilty when I flush out all the butterflies by spraying the hose at them.

Thumb of 2016-03-08/mellielong/3d5068

This Monarch had the right idea. Just sit and enjoy the pentas.

Thumb of 2016-03-08/mellielong/9fe306

So there were two Luna Moths in the flight cage and I noticed a multitude of eggs on the screen. Yup, they lay them right on the screen. I've heard some people will place the female inside a paper bag where she will also lay eggs. Not sure why they don't need to taste their host plant. The Polyphemus moths did the exact same thing when we had them. Anyway, I got the stepladder out and collected all the eggs. We got a new and larger stepladder a while back which made things easier. My boss is pretty short and she's been very accident prone lately, so I thought I'd better handle this. Here you can see some of the eggs on the screen, and then all the eggs I collected in the cup.

Thumb of 2016-03-08/mellielong/d8f448 Thumb of 2016-03-08/mellielong/ff4bad

These two Zebra Longwings were roosting next to each other. My dad saw where I posted this photo on Facebook and asked if the butterflies were having sex and I had to roll my eyes and then graphically explain how they were not in the correct position to be doing so. Also, he's seen plenty of my butterfly sex pictures. He should know better. Rolling my eyes.

Thumb of 2016-03-08/mellielong/1b831c

I had to move the Lunas to get to the eggs. Unfortunately, they don't live long and it seemed they were on their last legs. They don't even have mouths to feed as adults so they live a few days, tops. I'm pretty sure this is the male I'm holding because he had larger antenna than the other one. Also, I totally looked at their bodies and they were clearly differently made. Now, you may notice that the tails on the Luna are kind of twisted at the bottom. That's not a deformity or old age - it's evolution! I read a study last year that says the twisted tails of the Luna screw up bat's sonar abilities. Thus, they don't get eaten by bats as often. Isn't that fascinating?

Thumb of 2016-03-08/mellielong/f50156

Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
Region: Canadian Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Tip Photographer Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member
Morning Glories Critters Allowed Birds Houseplants Butterflies Garden Photography
Image
mcash70
Mar 8, 2016 10:06 AM CST
Melanie, that's very interesting about the Luna moths tail, such a pretty one, sad it has such a short life and can't eat.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Mar 8, 2016 12:03 PM CST
Really lovely Luna moth there, Melanie. I love the feathery antennae, and beautiful "eye" markings on the wings. We had a Hawk moth in the school garden last week, nearly that big but not as pretty a color. Sadly I didn't get a picture of it. I was busy protecting it as it sat on the front of my T-shirt while a whole class of 1st graders oooh'ed and ahhh'ed over it (and shrieked at first when it flew out unexpectedly from where we were digging). I assumed it wanted to be somewhere dark and placed it in the shade of some butterfly plants but when I went back just a few minutes later it had hidden itself.

We just planted tomato plants in the garden today, so now I have to hope the hornworms don't show up during spring break (next week) and devour the plants before we can show them to the kids. Do you know where they lay eggs?

This is one from last fall, they were as big, and longer than my ring finger - really huge and have amazing camouflage.
Thumb of 2016-03-08/dyzzypyxxy/42c8f1

Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

Page 1 of 5 • 1 2 3 4 5

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Gardening for Butterflies, Birds and Bees forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by dirtdorphins and is called "Lilium 'Pink Perfection'"