The butterfly project has exceeded all of my expectations. I planted 11 milkweed plants in order to supply the Monarch Butterfly population with food and a place to lay eggs, just doing a little crumb of a my part to help bolster their ever dwindling populations. I also did it to see if it would be successful and for my own curiosity.
The plants started out quite pretty and soon they were populated with small caterpillars…
who grew and grew ( their munching is sometimes audible like if you click your thumbnail and middle fingernail, try it :)
They were stripping the plants bare then they'd move to the next and the next one was already hosting a number of them.
I can't help but think of the Walking Dead, these little crawlers are like zombies moving slowly and devouring.
Things I have observed and questions I hope to solve..
Our lizards get excited when they see them but they must know the caterpillars are filled with toxic milkweed because they don't want to eat them. I'm not sure about the birds.
I'm not planting any more weeds this year, in the wild they are but dotted on the hillsides so I'm going to see if they can recover.
The larvae have eaten all the fresh seeds and pods from the African plant causing it I would think not to be able to procreate. Our native milk weed develops seeds much later in the season.
I'm thinking once all the vegetation is gone the caterpillars will move to the trees and bushes and begin the next part of the cycle which is another reason I'm limiting the supply.
This one already has!!!! How wonderful is this!!!
Mama was back today laying eggs on the twigs. Next year I will plant more milkweed. If you live here in CA the best time to install native plants is in the fall. It's no too late though to add some to your garden, I suggest you add more than you might think.
I think the spiders are getting jealous, I had never thought to dust the mobile since I never saw the dust by the light of the day……look!…….spider art…..I sort of love that they are getting into the act!
Happy summer flitting to you, my friends!