Thursday, October 13, 2016

Monarch raising season

It's finally Monarch season here! Raising Monarchs can be very time consuming, yet rewarding. There is a lot of debate out there both pro, and con about raising and releasing them. I can see valid points on both sides. However, as someone that is an educator that understands how important making personal connections are, I choose to raise them as a means to educate people, and to give them an up close, and personal experience. When those important connections are made, the desire to do something to help can be triggered. Even a TV show can produce those feelings. I remember falling in love with the dolphin 'Flipper' as a child. As an adult, when I heard about dolphins being caught in tuna nets, I joined the boycott on canned tuna. Would I have been so inclined if I had not had fond memories of Flipper?
So, I raise Monarchs. I use them to help people become aware of what has happened to their environment, and hopefully cause them to planting milkweed (host plants for monarch caterpillars), and nectar plants for the butterflies.
The world's problems are huge today. We can feel helpless, and hopeless. With planting butterfly gardens, we can feel empowered. This is a problem each of us can do something small to help fix. Matter of fact, I believe that individual landowners are going to be the key to solving this problem. Butterflies can restore hope 😊
On a fun note, here is a new word for you: Instar. No, it's not what you use when your car breaks down😄 Instar, is another word for stage. A lot of insects will go through 4-6 installs before becoming an adult.
Remember to 'like' and 'share' the love of nature!

Monarch egg

1st instar caterpillar is only a couple of millimeters long

With each progressive instar, the caterpillar will more than double in length.

The final instar as a caterpillar, it will be a couple of inches long!

The caterpillar will hang upside down, in a 'J' formation for nearly a day, before it sheds its' yellow, black, and white stripes, for a jade colored chrysalis. It will remain in the chrysalis for approximately 10 days (varies with climate), before it emerges (ecloses) as a butterfly.

These are Stinkbug eggs

These are stink bugs at about the 2nd instar. Unfortunately, I can't find my pic of the 3rd instar. When I get one, I will edit this post, because they are really cool, and I want you to see them.

Adult Stinkbug

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