Odd mass monarch butterfly behavior: check your local pop!

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by telemnemonics, Jul 31, 2019.

  1. IrishTeleDan

    IrishTeleDan TDPRI Member

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    That is really great of you. Respect!
     
  2. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I enlarged and zoomed in on the pic and the flowers look very similar to milkweed flowers, maybe they are close relatives?
    Cool to see them eating another variety.


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  3. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Regarding changing wildlife habitats and seeming sudden improvements; as a kid the sea anemone was fairly common in this estuary and nearby tidal pools where you could get close and see them.
    Then there were none though I forget when it changed, maybe late ‘70s.

    Two summers ago there were literally tens of thousands of tiny anemones in the estuary.
    All are gone now AFAIK.

    IMG_0963.jpg

    Passing thunder storms here this afternoon...


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  4. Toast

    Toast Tele-Holic

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    I read about some retired couple who bought a bunch of acres of scarred, industrial land and started restoring the land back to its natural state. That seemed like a nice way to retire and become a caretaker of the land.
     
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  5. Dave Hicks

    Dave Hicks Tele-Afflicted

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    Right, milkweeds belong to the genus Asclepias, and this is Asclepias tuberosa. Unlike other milkweeds it lacks white latex sap.

    https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=astu

    D.H.
     
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  6. thegeezer

    thegeezer Tele-Afflicted

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    We took some marginal farmland on a couple of farms we manage and put it in a long term USDA program where it’s planted exclusively to milkweed. 60 acres in total.

    This was about 5 years ago. It’s been remarkable to see. Probably won’t prevent what seems inevitable but we hope our efforts at least help.
     
  7. raito

    raito Poster Extraordinaire

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    We have an outlot next to the house and the back part of our yard is wild (no point in lawn as it gets very wet). There's a fair amount of milkweed there and we encourage it (unlike the thistles).

    We currently have a dozen or so caterpillars in the house along with 4 chrysalides.

    We let the boy stay up a little late last night to watch one of the conversions.
     
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  8. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Wow that's a big butterfly project!
    I didn't know the USDA was involved that sort of thing.
    Maybe another agency chose the protection and the USDA just oversees the agro part?
    Does the program provide any income to farm owners who get no money crop from the milkweed?
     
  9. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    That site describes your variety as being "prized for it's large flat topped clusters of bright orange flowers".
    For a moment I thought people might be further encouraged to grow monarch food if the plants were more garden decorative, but then realized flower gardeners commonly poison any bugs that eat their gardens.

    We do have a few locals who leave big patches of milkweed for conservation, but last night I looked for the usual roadside patches to bring home more food for the aquarium dwellers and found no milkweeds anywhere.

    The local beach has nesting piping plovers every summer and fenced off sections to protect them from beach going tourists.
    Some like this but there are times when folks get angry about the inconvenience.
    Several years ago the Feds threatened to shut the whole beach down if the local monitoring system didn't do a better job of keeping beach goers away from the nests.
    This brought a fair amount of resentment against the little birds.
    Jacked up mud trucks sported "Piping plover, tastes like chicken" bumper stickers.

    Conservation is good for sportsman/ hunter/ fisherman/ ATV rider sorts.
    Most conservation efforts are done by volunteer workers.

    Nice to see all the responses here!
     
  10. Bones

    Bones Telefied Ad Free Member

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    My GF raised and released well over 100 Monarchs last year and this year, our milkweed has really taken off and their are butterflies everywhere. So far she has about 20 chrysalises and another 20 caterpillars that she is raising. She goes to the garden, collects the eggs and raises them in vivariums.

    DSC_7412 -1.jpg 20180831_171437_resized.jpg DSC_1612 -1.jpg
     
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  11. Mike SS

    Mike SS Poster Extraordinaire

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    039 (2).JPG 005 (17).JPG My wife provides a pollinator paradise, complete with specialized plants and habitat structures for them. She uses no chemicals of any sort and removes unwanted visitors manually. Although not a Monarch, here is a recent visitor to her "Butterfly Bush". I often see Monarchs, along with Hummingbirds and various bees.
     
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  12. aerhed

    aerhed Friend of Leo's

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    Is it possible that your rejected milkweed has something wrong with it? Pesticide? Nasty chemical uptake?
     
  13. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I didn't have any rejected, they just ate it all and I couldn't find wild plants to cut and bring home.
    Cut another from my yard this morning but I was hoping to preserve the yard supply for the caterpillars I'm leaving to fend for themselves.

    Could certainly be milkweeds in the wild that have pesticides on them too though.
    The gardens I take care of at work got no pesticides until we got a new maint guy from a sister company who routinely sprayed neem oil, which is supposed to be a natural and organic pesticide.
    The season he sprayed that "solution" in "my" gardens we had a mass aphid outbreak.

    I pointed out that spraying bug killer killed off the ladybugs who eat the aphids, FWIW.

    When I see an aphid outbreak I spray them off with a garden hose and they never get out of control.
    This is tricky with Mandevilla because the bugs like the new tips with flower buds.
    Knocking off the aphids without smashing the new buds takes some finesse (and the right spray head), but I'm getting paid and the guests at the property seem to enjoy seeing a gardener gardening.

    The town voted to ban all chemical pesticide/ herbicide use a few years ago but then many property owners freaked out because the organic lawn care companies only guaranteed no dandelions with the chemical lawn treatment.
    When a few dandelions started popping up the zeal for going green turned sour.
     
  14. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Wow, beautiful pics @Bones !
    Cool that your GF has that monarch preservation production going, those jade chrasalises are like jewelry.
    The caterpillars in the top pic are the less common black swallowtail, a favorite of mine but I haven't seen those guys in years.
    They eat queen annes lace, parsley and carrot.
    Lots of queen annes lace in my yard but I never see the caterpillars.
    The bottom pic @Mike SS posted is a black swallowtail.

    I'm a big fan of those particular butterfly bush varieties, but they winter over with difficulty in this region.
    Seems like every few years they just don't come back.
    At work we have some and only lost one this winter, some are eight feet tall now.
    Some days there are so many monarchs and other butterfly's there that you could almost inhale them.
     
  15. Bones

    Bones Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Those pics are from last year, this year she's just concentrating on the Monarchs, I guess the swallowtails are on their own. She's a school teacher, so this is what she does all summer to stay busy.
     
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  16. etype

    etype Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm in Dallas, so we won't be seeing any Monarchs until October. I have some milkweed and 1) the original plants I planted are the same ones I still have. Is that normal? 2) monarchs don't seem to go for them (milkweeds bugs do though!), do they get to me at the wrong part of the cycle? 3) I have a few beds of greggs mist flower and they do seem to love that. I'll sometimes have 30-40 of them in the yard at once.

    And I am 0 for 3 on butterfly bushes. They just can't seem to take the summer Texas heat, even with careful watering.

    Anyone from this part of the world with other suggestions for a butterfly garden? I've tried several things, but only the mist flower seems to be a clear winner.
     
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  17. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Maybe your geographical location in the monarch migration is not one of the places they breed?
    The monarch butterfly's only go to milkweed to lay eggs, and if they don't breed in Dallas they just want some nectar to fuel their trip to Mexico.
    Not sure about the plants, how long have the same ones been alive?
    My wife brings in all the potted plants in the fall but some varieties AFAIK have one life cycle and should die after flowering and seeding.
    Other "annuals" will winter indoors or in warm climates and flower every season.
     
  18. chet again

    chet again Tele-Holic

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    Earlier this summer I noticed my backyard covered with smaller Monarch Butterflies for a few days. They were also along the roadside that I ride my bike on and flying around me as I passed.
    Never really noticed that before.
     
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  19. etype

    etype Tele-Afflicted

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    Planted them about 3 years ago. They seem to die off each fall, but then new shoots come up in the spring, never getting more than 18" tall. Orange flowers now, and pods formed, but haven't ever seen a caterpillar on any of them. I do suspect they are just looking for nectar for the long trip back when they get to Dallas.
     
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  20. rocking rooster

    rocking rooster Tele-Meister

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    What beautiful creatures they are. I shot these on my first visit to California somewhere on CA-1 in the Big Sur area. I think the garden was planted to attract them as there was quite a few hanging round.

    DSC_0104.JPG DSC_0107.JPG
     
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