Ask an Expert: Butterflies

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This topic contains 54 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by Jill Staake Jill Staake 3 weeks, 4 days ago.

Viewing 10 posts - 46 through 55 (of 55 total)
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  • #5270337 Report Abuse
    SandraRW
    SandraRW
    Participant

    Thought you might like to see my latest baby! The swallowtail baby that is.. To get a perspective on how small they are when they emerge from their egg, the photos get closer and closer to him…

     

     

     

     


    #5270410 Report Abuse
    deb
    deb
    Participant

    wow!


    #5270446 Report Abuse
    Jill Staake
    Jill Staake
    Keymaster

    Nice Black Swallowtail, Sandra! These are so fun to watch, because they look different each time they shed their skin. (I like to refer to them as “costume changes”!)  Here’s more info for anyone who’s interested: http://www.birdsandblooms.com/blog/focus-on-natives-eastern-black-swallowtail/


    Jill Staake (florida33girl@gmail.com)
    Birds & Blooms Community Manager
    Tampa, Florida Zone 9b

    #5274434 Report Abuse
    narnian
    narnian
    Participant

    Jill…

    I am in zone 5 (northern Indiana) and only saw one Monarch this year…but today I was out looking at bees on my butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) and saw a very tiny caterpillar, which I am assuming is a monarch. It was eating the flower, which I thought was odd, I would not have noticed it otherwise…

    It couldn’t possibly grow and become a butterfly this late in the season, could it? (and it has been so cool…got down in the 40′s last night!)

    Anything we can do when this happens? and why does it happen?

    Thank-you,

    Linda Z


    #5274454 Report Abuse
    Jill Staake
    Jill Staake
    Keymaster

    Linda – Even in zone 5, your monarch caterpillar still has plenty of time to grow into a butterfly and begin its journey to Mexico before winter. On chilly nights like the ones you’ve been having, the caterpillars crawl down the plant to the soil, which stays warmer than the air. They can even weather a frost or two, if necessary. Within a month, your monarch will be winging its way south, with any luck! Learn more about the timeline here in an article I wrote for the magazine a few years ago:  http://www.birdsandblooms.com/gardening/attracting-butterflies/diary-monarch-migration/


    Jill Staake (florida33girl@gmail.com)
    Birds & Blooms Community Manager
    Tampa, Florida Zone 9b

    #5276313 Report Abuse
    SandraRW
    SandraRW
    Participant

    Two more Monarch caterpillars found today!!!!!!


    #5276704 Report Abuse
    narnian
    narnian
    Participant

    Jill…thanks for your reply…I have never been able to grow butterfly weed before…but it grows amazingly well here. I am really enjoying watching the caterpillars grow….I will take a picture of them sometime.

    One of my favorite butterflies is the buckeye…I read about their host plants, but except for plantain (which I hate) I know next to nothing about the others…can you tell us anything about American bluehearts?(Buchnera Americana)…Is it terribly invasive? What would you suggest for zone 5?

    Thank-you so much

    Linda Z


    #5277343 Report Abuse
    SandraRW
    SandraRW
    Participant

    I got carried away today by one hungry Black Swallowtail eating on Parsley…so precise…so organized…I hope you can see the video. I made it on You Tube

     


    #5277382 Report Abuse
    Jill Staake
    Jill Staake
    Keymaster

    They are so fun to watch, aren’t they? I love their complete single-mindedness when they’re eating. Terrific video, Sandy! Thanks for sharing!


    Jill Staake (florida33girl@gmail.com)
    Birds & Blooms Community Manager
    Tampa, Florida Zone 9b

    #5277387 Report Abuse
    Jill Staake
    Jill Staake
    Keymaster

    Narnian – I love buckeyes too. They have a pretty wide variety of hosts, including plants in the snapdragon family.  I don’t know much about bluehearts, but native ruellias, like wild petunia, are a host. They also use toadflax and frogfruit here in Florida, but those might not be found by you. Do a web search for “buckeye butterfly host plants” and take a look at some of what other folks recommend, especially in your area. These are really neat caterpillars – here are a few I have raised:



    Jill Staake (florida33girl@gmail.com)
    Birds & Blooms Community Manager
    Tampa, Florida Zone 9b

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