Tuesday, November 4, 2014


So my neighbors, Mary and Bonnie, who are also sisters introduced the neighborhood to raising caterpillars into butterflies.  I have always wanted to do this.  I had no idea it was happening right here in my own neighborhood.  
Mary and Bonnie are neighbors with a big vacant yard between their homes.
They had gathered caterpillars as kids in Northern Utah.
They were thrilled when they were out in the yard this past summer and realized that there were Monarch butterfly eggs on the milkweed growing in the field.
They started gathering eggs, feeding caterpillars, and hatching butterflies.
By the dozens.
After searching milkweed plants all over Mapleton and Springville, they discovered a very interesting thing:  they could only find eggs on the milkweed plants in the vacant yard.  CRAZY!!
Everywhere I went in Mapleton and Springville, I was constantly looking for milkweed plants and checking for eggs.

On July 24, Bonnie came over and asked if I wanted to hunt for eggs with them.  So, I went over and found about 18 eggs and a couple of tiny caterpillars.  Sad to say, I did not have success at my first attempt. 

But, Bonnie was going to Nauvoo in late August and turned over a bunch of her tiny caterpillars for me to take care of while she was out of town.  It really does take daily care to keep these guys alive.
I was afraid I would murder more caterpillars.  But, they all survived.  Well, except one.  He started to make his chrysalis and then ran out of steam and just died.  so sad.

Then I discovered that there was milkweed growing in my very own backyard.
Jackpot!!  I didn't have to go clear across the street to get milkweed.  I sent Cole out to pick milkweed one day and he came back in the house with leaves that had eggs on them.  What a surprise.

I think we had a total of 8 butterflies that survived.  We have learned a lot of statistics about Monarch butterflies.  

It's pretty fun to farm caterpillars, but it is time consuming.  Good thing they have all gone to Mexico for the winter.  We'll be looking forward to spring when the Monarchs return and we have milkweed growing again.  
One thing we learned in the farming process:  you cannot feed your caterpillars milkweed that has been sprayed, it will kill the caterpillars.  
Also, caterpillars will eat each other if they run out of food.  

1 comment:

Amara said...

Eat each other! Yeesh. I miss the butterflies. Glad you guys have milkweed so I can enjoy them flying around my yard. Next year I will have to come see what the eggs and cattis look like. I'm still not convinced that milkweed is the only thing they eat. One article I read said it was a main food, but not exclusive. I'm hoping I've got something they like. Anyway, I get the flyovers from y'all at least and I'm happy.