It's a covered lasagna pan which comes in a package of 2. I cut an opening in the top cover and then covered the hole with nylon window screen material. I filled the bottom of the pan with pine shavings (used for pet bedding) and also put in a little stick, so the caterpillars can crawl to the top when it's time to make a cocoon.
On Thursday morning I started searching for monarch caterpillars and eggs. I found 1 milkweek leaf with a very tiny caterpillar on it and also a second leaf with 2 eggs.
Yesterday I found another leaf with a much larger caterpillar and 2 more leaves each with a single egg (1 egg was ready to hatch because it was very dark when I found it).
Just to the left of the center vein of this leaf are 2 really tiny (just-hatched-today) caterpillars: one is the little dark bar up near my index finger and the other is the little dark bar between my thumb and index finger.
Now all of the eggs have hatched and I have varying sizes of caterpillars in my ranch.
This is one of the little ones I found on Thursday....it's doubled in size since then!
I'm fortunate to have a large supply of common milkweed leaves right outside the door, so there's a ready supply of food available for these hungry little guys. Did you know they also like to eat the blossoms?
I found this little guy yesterday eating one of the blossoms, so I picked a few more for him today and it looks like he did a good job eating most of what I put in for him.
I learned from Birdchick's blog (on June 18th) about parasitic insects laying their eggs in the larger caterpillars, so to try and avoid this, I'm trying to find as many as I can that are still very tiny or even the unhatched eggs.
Watch for periodic updates on the progress of my monarch ranch.