Sunday, November 22, 2009

More Butterflies!!!

We about gave up on our butterfly garden since our milkweed attracted aphids. We thought the monarchs would pass us right on by, and they did for a while, so we stopped checking for them. Nature keeps right on going, however, even when we aren't paying attention, and today we found a Monarch caterpillar crawling across our driveway! A quick glance over at our milkweed and we knew an emergency run to Home Depot was in order. When we got back with the milkweed plants and started messing around in our garden areas The Middle Child found Monarchs all over the place! We rounded them up and put as many as we could find on the plants. Now, we're not supposed to do that under normal circumstances, because when a Monarch caterpillar leaves its milkweed plant it is looking for a place to make a chrysalis. We figured that since the plants were totally stripped of leaves they were probably looking for FOOD more than a place to cocoon, and indeed a couple of them started munching away.

THEN The Middle Child took a look at our passion vine and found caterpillars there, too, only a NEW kind of caterpillar, definitely not a Monarch. She started counting them and easily found 10. Good thing the passion vine has gone bananas where we planted it, even with my neglectful not-very-green thumb. I googled "passion vine caterpillar" and I think our caterpillars are Variegated Fritillaries but I wouldn't swear to it. They look all scary and stingy but one article I read says the "stingers" are soft and you can pick them up. I'll pass, thanks.

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