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Here We Go Again with Monarchs!

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Last year’s monarch experience was so exciting for us. The milkweed grew and bloomed again nicely this year, despite being covered with the hideous little aphids. I’m thinking of ordering ladybugs next year because the one or two I’ve seen on the plant are clearly not up to the challenge of devouring the thousands that are on the plant. Anyway, we did see two monarchs in the garden a while ago and this past week we began to see the caterpillars on the milkweed. Hooray!
MonarchOn Friday I saw 7 (nothing compared to last year) on the plant and decided that I would bring some in to see if we could witness the metamorphosis. On Sunday when I had the habitat (borrowed from a friend, stocked with some milkweed in test tubes filled with water-a handy way to keep the plant alive) ready I could only find 3 caterpillars on the plant, so I took two. I assume the others had already crawled off to form chrysalises (though I couldn’t find any, they are hard to spot.) Sunday evening one caterpillar crawled off the plant and attached to the test tube holder. It formed the J shape that means it is going to begin. By late evening it was still the J and one end looked faintly greenish-gray. Caterpillar to Chrysalis
As of 8am this morning it still looked like that. But three hours later, when I looked at 11am…
Caterpillar to Chrysalis
Chrysalis! I am so excited. You can still see the stripes of the caterpillar through the beautiful pale green, and oh those gold dots! If you look in the background you will see that the second caterpillar has crawled off the  plant and seems to also be looking for a place to hang.  I can’t wait to observe this process! I am so thrilled it’s working.

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About Sarah

I'm a librarian living with my lovely family in a gorgeous spot of New Jersey, where we raise chickens and love the outdoors. I try to find enough time to indulge all my hobbies-cooking, photography, gardening, sewing, and I write about it all on my book blog & personal blog.

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