Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A Monarch butterfly born and bred in Silver Lake

Photo by Sandy Driscoll

Photo by Sandy Driscoll

SILVER LAKE — Sandy Driscoll is doing her part to save Monarch butterflies. Last year she planted Milkweed in her yard to create an attractive butterfly habitat.  This week she provided an update and photo:

“Here is a male Monarch that I released this week. First one that I have raised from an egg that was laid on my Milkweed – pretty exciting! It takes approximately four weeks for the entire cycle. Their plight is much worse this year, so they need more help from us.”

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  1. It’s so important and worthwhile to help the Monarchs, as their numbers are declining each year due primarily to pesticide use.. Less than 3% complete the metamorphosis to butterflies in the wild. For those of you on FB,
    here’s a link to an excellent page (with more than 9500 members worldwide) that is devoted to the successful raising of them. Members are extremely supportive and helpful.

    • I’m not on FB. Where did you purchase your Milkweed plants?

      • I purchased my first Milkweed plants at Sunset Nursery, a longtime Silver Lake business. http://www.sunsetblvdnursery.com/
        It’s very important to make certain that wherever you buy them that they have NOT been sprayed with any sort of pesticide., as that will kill the caterpillars. Sadly, some of the larger chain nurseries say they don’t spray, but some butterfly raisers have found they do. A google search of ‘raising Monarch Butterflies’ will turn up a wealth of very good information. A science teacher in MI has posted several youtube tutorials that are excellent and were responsible for my being able to start raising them. I will try to find it and post a link. The Milkweed I have this year has all sprouted in my garden as a result of my letting last year’s crop go to seed.

    • Way to go, Sandy. That’s a great photo, too.

  2. Kristin Sholl Olsen

    What a wonderful way to contribute to a great cause. Stunning photo!

  3. Thank you on behalf of all us!

  4. “Thank you for photo of the beautiful Monarch, and for working to “raise” it! We have some beautiful, large deep orange butterflies in our yard in EP but haven’t been close enough to see if they have markings of a Monarch; do you think it’s possible that they are?”

    Linda Mann

    • Monarchs all have identical markings, Linda. I did, however, see some on the FB page (referenced in my first post above) that were white. They are an anomaly, however. I’m thrilled that so many of you are interested in this. To that end I offer up a link to some short videos by Mr. Lund, a high school science teacher. He takes us on an interesting journey (including fun musical accompaniment) from finding Monarch eggs through feeding/raising the caterpillars, chrysalis, and butterfly emergence. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_I5F4AHyQHs
      I learned enough from his videos to start doing this last Summer. It’s a fun and rewarding hobby and many of my neighbors have commented that they have seen ‘my’ Monarchs fluttering about their gardens, too!

  5. James Patrick Kelly

    I have milkweed growing in my garden and Monarchs in attendance as well. I have numerous seedlings and would be glad to share with anyone who would like to introduce them to their own garden. Once established they will self-sow and you won’t have any trouble maintaining them. When the pants get rangy, cut them back and they’ll re-grow. Please contact me if you would like seedlings.

  6. I have it popping up all over my yard thanks to birds dropping seeds I think. Then it spreads itself. The future-Monarch caterpillars devour all the leaves in one day, then it grows back. It’s pretty amazing.

    The bright colored milkweed is actually a tropical import though. Consider planting native milkweed instead or as well. The flowers are a paler color. You can get it at Theodore Payne Nursery in Sun Valley, about a 20 minute drive from Silver Lake. If you haven’t been it’s worth it for their incredible selection of native plants in a beautiful canyon setting. It’s really cheap too.


    • Yes, Bobby, Theodore Payne is a fabulous (and safe) place to get milkweed. There is some controversy about Tropical Milkweed vs native, but they both work well, especially in SoCal. My neighbors have planted native milkweed for several years, and are sad that they’ve not had any butterflies lay their eggs. It would be fun to see a garden of several different kinds of milkweed!

  7. Stunning Monarch portrait, Sandy!

  8. This is inspiring! I am going to get Milkweed this weekend and plant it! Thank you!

  9. Becky with the good hair

    Fun Fact:
    Monarch Butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed plants specifically because the foliage of the milkweed plant -the foliage the caterpillar eats- is very bitter making them an undesirable food source for predators.

    • Yes, Becky! And the beautiful gold/black/white striping of the Monarch caterpillars is a warning to potential predators. These amazing ‘cats’ increase in size by 2700 times (!!) during their 10-14 days of life, until they morph into a chrysalis. During that time, they ingest an amazing amount of milkweed leaves!

      It’s very important for anyone handling milkweed to wash your hands afterward as the milky substance can burn your eyes if you happen to touch them.

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