Just the back yard!? Nah, I want the front and side yards landscaped in natives too.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Better Late than Never

For at least a month, I've been searching for monarch caterpillars on all of my milkweeds, but mostly on the blooming butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa). I've been disappointed and a bit disillusioned. Last year, I had two monarch larvae--my first ever--and I was thrilled. It was a let down this year...at first I thought I'd lost one or two of the butterfly weeds (luckily they all came up even though one was almost a month late)...then, no caterpillars--until now!

Today, I went out walking the yard, and stopped at the milkweed (the one I'd thought I'd lost...and the one that supported the two caterpillars last year). I was surpised and thrilled to see a rather large monarch larvae--probably 4th or 5th instar (but I'm still learning so I might be wrong). I hadn't seen a single egg nor any tiny caterpilars...however, as I was taking a picture of the one I'd found, I noticed the head of a second one munching the tip of another leaf, but nearly hidden from view as it was on the underside of the leaf.

Here's hoping I find the chrysalis before it ecloses...as last year I only found the empty "skin". Whether I find them or not I'm just happy to know that the monarchs are finding them.


Ellen Honeycutt said...

I see a third one there too! Congratulations.

David said...

Wow! Thanks, Ellen!

I *was* going to type: Really!?!? Where? ...but then, I studied the photos, and spotted a third little guy among the flowerbuds in the first and second photos.

Thank you for being so observant! I'm feeling even better now...three, a new record for me!

R K Young said...

We had latecomers here, too, David. "Build it and they will come!"

David said...

I only have last year to compare it to...over the years, hopefully I'll get a better idea of when they tend to show up.

I hope to "build" a lot more. Every year, I should have more milkweeds...and hopefully add other species than the three I have now.