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

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Name: Melanie
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Bookworm
Region: Florida Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Salvias
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mellielong
Nov 30, 2016 8:57 PM CST
We came from here: The thread "November 2016 Butterflies, Moths & Larva" in Gardening for Butterflies, Birds and Bees forum

The weather outside may be frightful for some, but this is the time of year that the Southerners get to show off. Both Southern US, and Southern Hemisphere!

Today we got some much-needed rain. Seriously, there had been no rain at the airport (where they measure) in forty-some days. Lutz got a good drizzle about a month ago, but it's been pretty dry. The front that went through the south and rained on Gatlinburg, TN (thank goodness) wasn't supposed to bring us much rain, but we got a nice drizzle here. This is our dry season so we take what we can get!

Because of the clouds, the butterflies weren't out too much. But I did catch this Gulf Fritillary on the porterweed. I love Gulf Frits because they're pretty much always around.

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Still waiting for my camera to be repaired. And today, my laptop power cord decided to die. Dell never has learned to build a proper power cord. Rolling my eyes. Luckily, I had a universal power adapter from my last laptop and one of the tips fit. At first, it wasn't charging the battery, but I got it working. But I spent an hour on the phone to India today. Nice tech, but I hate how you have to go through all the steps even when you know what's wrong. Also, I ordered a new TV from Target and it was supposed to arrive today - only it was the wrong brand AND size! So I got to call Target and get that straightened out. I'm really getting the feeling like I have a cloud over my head. I'm to the point where I'm just afraid to touch anything. Hilarious!
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
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LindaTX8
Dec 1, 2016 12:48 PM CST
35° last night. At least, it's supposed to rain this weekend. Hope it'll be warm when the Queens eclose! Melanie, I've had a dark cloud over my head for a while now, even when it's bright and sunny outside. Maybe the new doctor I'm going to see this month can remove it!
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: Robin
Southern Michigan (Zone 6a)
I'm the gnome in my garden...
Region: Michigan Seller of Garden Stuff Seed Starter Cat Lover Daylilies
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RobinSeeds
Dec 1, 2016 2:39 PM CST
Apologies for the posting in the wrong Forum faux pas, I'm blaming it on a dark cloud. Hilarious! Now that the dark cloud is in Michigan, you Southern folk can breathe easier. It's the least I could do.

Thanks for all of the thumbs-up, good advice and the acorn, who knew a mistake could be so good!
Name: Melanie
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Bookworm
Region: Florida Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Salvias
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mellielong
Dec 1, 2016 4:22 PM CST
No problem, Robin. I liked your story and I wanted to make sure the bird folks got to hear it, too. They don't all come to this thread, although they should! Rolling on the floor laughing
Name: Robin
Southern Michigan (Zone 6a)
I'm the gnome in my garden...
Region: Michigan Seller of Garden Stuff Seed Starter Cat Lover Daylilies
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RobinSeeds
Dec 1, 2016 4:24 PM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
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joannakat
Dec 1, 2016 7:37 PM CST
RobinSeeds said:Apologies for the posting in the wrong Forum faux pas, I'm blaming it on a dark cloud.
Thanks for all of the thumbs-up, good advice and the acorn, who knew a mistake could be so good!


I for one am very happy for your mistake @RobinSeeds. I loved the story, now know what a sharpe shinned hawk is, AND I now know that there is a bird forum! Thank You!
AKA Joey.
Name: Cheryl
Brownstown, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Million Pollinator Garden Challenge The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Bee Lover Butterflies Hummingbirder Spiders! Birds Dragonflies
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nativeplantlover
Dec 1, 2016 9:56 PM CST
David-- this is what I was curious about regarding the Franklin tree re-posted here:

This past Sunday I walked thru a native plant nursery of 45 acres where a small group of these rare trees were growing.
The seed pods had me curious and as I dived in for a closer look at the trees, there were three already opened cocoons of some kind of one the larger silk moths very close together on the same branch. But which? Cecropia? Promethea? I'm not that knowledgeable on the cocoons, esp since they continue to be harder to find these days.

Anyway, the Franklin tree supposedly has no "pests". Does something actually feed on it after all? Shrug! or is it just possible that the cats crawled over to the tree? If anybody has more insight, please help unravel this mystery Thank You!

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"My work is loving the world. Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird — 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." — Mary Oliver, from Messenger
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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DavidLMO
Dec 1, 2016 10:08 PM CST
I have never seen anything on mine. I have a hard time diving anything from cocoons. Green Grin!

I did a bit of research, but could not find it as a host for anything.

Franklinia is related to Gordonia, Camellia and Stewartia. Maybe some sleuthing on those might pop something up.

I also have a Stewartia and have never found anything on it either.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: Cheryl
Brownstown, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Million Pollinator Garden Challenge The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Bee Lover Butterflies Hummingbirder Spiders! Birds Dragonflies
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nativeplantlover
Dec 2, 2016 8:06 AM CST
Hi David,

Well, here's the link I was looking at and posted on the November board. Right, and there's the argument that they may not be native at all. I still can;t imagine that all three crawled over the the exact same spot on a branch to make their cocoons. When I had a photo of three spice bush cats on fennel, Mellie said they grouped that way b/c that's what was left of the edible part of the plant. Makes me think it might* be possible that they were eating the leaves. I don't know. but i'll keep investigating a bit in my spare time which I don't have much of right now Sticking tongue out
thanks for the input. Since I'm so close to Bartram's Garden in that link, I now found a new place to visit at least!
"My work is loving the world. Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird — 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." — Mary Oliver, from Messenger
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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
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dyzzypyxxy
Dec 2, 2016 5:09 PM CST
Monarch caterpillar, caught going walkabout nowhere near a milkweed plant. I plucked the stem he was on and laid it back across the sidewalk on a nice lush milkweed. Hope he survives the week - I'll be out of town or I sure would have brought him indoors.
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Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Betsy
Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Composter Butterflies Bookworm Bluebonnets Daylilies
Native Plants and Wildflowers Amaryllis Cottage Gardener Container Gardener Clematis Plant and/or Seed Trader
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piksihk
Dec 2, 2016 8:33 PM CST
There were three monarchs flying around this week and then I saw this one on the fence.
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While the earth remains, Seed time and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease. Gen. 8:22
Name: María Cecilia Merlo
La Plata, ARGENTINA
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ceci
Dec 3, 2016 12:30 PM CST
Love in the garden.....
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Name: Melanie
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Bookworm
Region: Florida Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Salvias
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mellielong
Dec 3, 2016 4:27 PM CST
Cecilia, WOW! I think those are what we call Soldier butterflies (Danaus eresimus). I've never seen one in FL although we're supposed to get them. Great shots and thanks so much for sharing! I tip my hat to you.
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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DavidLMO
Dec 3, 2016 8:31 PM CST
nativeplantlover said:. Since I'm so close to Bartram's Garden in that link, I now found a new place to visit at least!


I swear this is the last I will post off-topic here. Hurray!
Just FYI -- Bartrams Garden used to maintain a database accessible via the WWW wherein they were trying to identify all the Franklin trees planted anywhere. For some reason, they dropped it a few years ago. I discovered that by accident cause I went there to register mine. Cannot imagine why they did that cause it was useful info. I mean the tree is extinct in the wild and everyone in existence (including mine) are descendents of the few trees in their collection.

Back On Topic Thumbs up Whistling Angel Should I discover any moth that might host on Franklinia, I WILL post here. Thumbs up
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
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joannakat
Dec 3, 2016 9:23 PM CST
ceci said:Love in the garden.....
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They look like stained-glass flowers!
AKA Joey.
Name: María Cecilia Merlo
La Plata, ARGENTINA
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ceci
Dec 4, 2016 6:29 AM CST
mellielong said:Cecilia, WOW! I think those are what we call Soldier butterflies (Danaus eresimus). I've never seen one in FL although we're supposed to get them. Great shots and thanks so much for sharing! I tip my hat to you.


Really ? I thought they were monarchs . But you are the expert, Mellie....!!
Name: Melanie
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Bookworm
Region: Florida Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Salvias
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mellielong
Dec 4, 2016 3:00 PM CST
Here's the BAMONA page for the Soldier: http://www.butterfliesandmoths...

You can see they have those paler spots in a sort of half-circle on the lower wing. They look like Queens on top, just to make it more confusing! And they also host on Milkweed.

I walked around the yard and boy, is it dry out there! Some of my natives are a bit wilty, but I only start to worry when the Spanish Needles wilt. That's when you know it's bad. Plus, we're supposed to have a good chance of rain on Tuesday, most likely because the furniture people are coming back to deliver the slats for my bed. Rolling on the floor laughing

I still have plenty of Gulf Fritillaries. They're pretty much a year-round butterfly here. And the most common. Not that I'm complaining! I like them.

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There were several Zebra Longwings flying around, but they weren't interested in holding still. Got one, though.

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I do have plenty of Zebra Longwing caterpillars. And I don't have to chase the caterpillars around the yard which is nice. Hilarious! As you can see, they start off a pale orange and turn white as they molt. Gulf Frit cats stay orange. But you can generally tell the difference because Zebra Longwings lay eggs in clusters and the cats tend to stay together while they're young. But Gulf Frits lay eggs mostly one at a time and the caterpillars kind of do their own thing.

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Remember how I said some books will tell you that butterflies won't lay eggs on a plant that already has eggs or caterpillars? And remember I said that was bunk?! Here are some more Zebra Longwing eggs on that same vine. And the vine isn't that big! In fact, there was a butterfly laying eggs on it while I was out there and I told it to stop but it ignored me.

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I'm calling Panasonic tomorrow to check on my camera because it's really taking a while. I miss my superzoom! Because I can't zoom in as well on my little Skipper friends.

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I had to squat down and hold real still to get these Cassius Blue pictures. I'm glad they like the new Beach Sunflowers. The Cassius Blues tend to be picky eaters and definitely have their favorites so it was cool to see them using something I hadn't seen them on before.

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Also seen today but not pictured: Long-Tailed Skippers, Barred Sulphur, Cloudless Sulphurs.
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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DavidLMO
Dec 4, 2016 8:12 PM CST
mellielong said:Here's the BAMONA page for the Soldier: http://www.butterfliesandmoths...

Remember how I said some books will tell you that butterflies won't lay eggs on a plant that already has eggs or caterpillars? And remember I said that was bunk?!


Sadly, we do not get Soldiers at all and Queens are extremely rare. Last sighting of only 3 was 9 years ago. Grumbling

Regarding to the second quote. Yep - horse puckies for sure. I have seen that happen many times with Monarchs & milkweed. Bunk. I tip my hat to you.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: Melanie
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Bookworm
Region: Florida Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Salvias
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mellielong
Dec 5, 2016 5:47 AM CST
David, don't feel too bad. I've never seen a Soldier, and I think my boss at MOSI has only ever seen one. They're more of a South Florida thing. And Queens are fairly uncommon which I is why I went nuts when I saw one a couple of weeks ago. I think the Texas folks are hoarding them, to be honest. Rolling on the floor laughing But isn't it great to have this thread where we can all share our garden visitors?

And if you all haven't noticed, there's a CATERPILLAR in the BANNER! Look up! It's awesome and it's from one of our European members. Cool, right? Go give it a thumbs up and show some caterpillar love. The thread "Banner for December 5, 2016 by sunnyvalley" in Site Banners forum
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
Dec 5, 2016 7:57 PM CST
I was doing a quick look see in my perennial bed this morning and saw that there was still one fat but lonely 'cat' on the remains of the milkweed. Made me want to cry. It should be down Mexico way by now. Our weather has been stranger than usual this year and I'm guessing that it's confusing the critters. I'm new at this so surprisingly I could be wrong about when the Monarchs go tripping further south. Weather forecast is predicting our first freeze this week so I think that poor little slow poke still munching the milkweed is not long for the world. Sigh.

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