Saturday, August 7, 2010

Monarch Ranch Update

Things are going well in my monarch ranch. Lots of hungry caterpillars are feasting on all the milkweed leaves I can harvest. I'm guessing that maybe half of the caterpillars I raised from eggs have survived. If I find any wild caterpillars when I'm out harvesting milkweed leaves for food, I round them up for the ranch too (found 2 more just this afternoon!) It's really cool to see all of them crawling around and boy, are they ever hungry! When I put my ear down close to the lid, I can actually hear them munching away on these's pretty neat!

One monarch butterfly hatched last week -- it was a male. Here are the other chrysalis that have been created on the lid of my monarch ranch. There are 2 additional new chrysalis since yesterday and 6 large caterpillars clinging to the roof that will probably turn into chrysalis sometime in the next 24 hours.

The other positive thing that happened today is that my monarch butterfly tags (50!!) arrived in today's mail. Now all butterflies that hatch from my ranch will be tagged before being released into the wild for their fall migration journey to Mexico.

Are you interested in monarch tagging? It's not necessary to grow your own butterflies from caterpillars. Anyone can tag and release monarch butterflies. Please click on this Monarch Watch link to learn more and to order your own tags. It's a really enjoyable project, gets you outside in beautiful late summer weather, helps you learn more about monarch butterflies and the habitats they prefer, plus it's a fabulous activity to share with your kids or grandkids!


Anonymous said...

I'll say your butterfly is thriving. I'd like to hear them munching on the leaves, it must be a neat sound. Do the monarch's sleep at nite? I'll be watching for more undates, this is most fascinating.


Gaelyn said...

Wow, is it already time to make reservations at Ruthie's Monarch Ranch?

Jayne said...

How fun Ruthie! Glad to see the ranch is thriving this year. Looking forward to seeing some of your releases!

Anonymous said...

I always thought Monarch's made chrysalis, not cocoons?

Mollie said...

You are a great rancher, Ruthie!! Next year I should have enough milkweed leaves to start a ranch myself. (No, milkweed plants aren't plentiful around San Diego--at least not in my neighborhood-- so I'm growing more from seed.) It's so fun to watch your caterpillars' progress.

RuthieJ said...

Thanks Mom. I don't think the caterpillars sleep at night because lots of times the leaves have been all eaten when I get up in the morning.

Yes Gaelyn! Hard to believe a year's gone by already since the monarch ranch was last open.

Thanks Jayne. Stay tuned, a post of the first butterfly release is due tomorrow!

Anonymous -- yes, it's chrysalis....corrections have been made.

Good for you Mollie! I look forward to hearing about your future monarch and milkweed adventures.