Raising Hope For The 2013 Monarch Migration
by Anthony Gomez
9 months ago
Amazing Raise is coming to an end, so it’s time to report how many butterflies you released for the 2013 monarch migration.
If you’ve still got some raising to do, raise on! But please report your final results on the bottom of this page when you’re finished.
It seems like just yesterday, when I was worrying about whether or not the monarchs would leave a final batch of migration eggs in our butterfly garden…
They eventually left me 16, just after Suzanne, The Butterfly Lady, sent me a smaller batch as ‘raise insurance’. After all was said and done, I had 21 baby monarch caterpillars crawling about.
I raised Suzanne’s caterpillars in my new mesh laundry hamper. Those 5 caterpillars hatched first.
I kept the other 16 caterpillars in my caterpillar castle. You can check out both of these cages on the Amazing Raise supplies page.
I’m happy to report, there were no MIA caterpillars during Amazing Raise 1. Every once in a while, when raising this many caterpillars, some crazy cat will sneak off while I’m cleaning their cage. This year, I kept a closer eye on them.
One of the reasons I set up this raise, is because I haven’t lost a monarch to disease for many years. My hope is that by discussing my raising techniques, I can help others raise healthier monarchs. Part of my disease-free-streak is probably luck, but maybe there is something I’m also doing , that most people don’t when raising monarchs.
The only health scare I had during the raise was when one of my new chrysalides was sporting symmetrical black lines.
They didn’t appear to be symptomatic of any monarch disease I had seen or researched. The lines also never grew over time. A few days ago, a seemingly healthy monarch male emerged from this chrysalis. There were no lines on the new monarch, just the chrysalis. My guess is this monarch was harassed by a cage-mate before its chrysalis had hardened.
This is usually the category where some freak accident ends a monarch life too soon. Previous raising accidents include drowning, smooshing, falling, and zipping. Just when you think you’re aware of every potential safety hazard…a new one rears its ugly head.
Well, this year was different. Zero accidents to report!
21 monarch butterflies hatched between September 9- September 16
5 monarchs hatched on both September 13 & 14
0 monarchs hatched on September 11
The hatching began and ended with female monarchs
12 healthy males
9 healthy females
Most of these monarchs had a garden full of migrating monarchs to welcome them upon release. We had about two dozen monarchs stop by our fueling station on the way to their migration destination.
There are still a few stragglers stocking up on nectar, but they should all be flying south in the next couple days.
Amazing Raise 1 couldn’t have went any better on this end. Beyond the actual raising, I was happy that so many signed up and posted great comments and questions on every raise page. Thank you for your participation. Even if you didn’t participate, I hope that following along will help you raise future generations of healthy monarch butterflies.