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Happenings in the insect world
Comments:
by nancy huhn
on September 9, 2018 at 8:54 AM
Our season started very late. Our Monarch migrate through Texas--or so I was told. They were early in Texas without food. August was a big month for southeast Pennsylvania, in fact, ate all my milkweed. I am growing them inside with roadside milkweed.
by Bonnie Brown
on September 9, 2018 at 9:38 AM
In Petaluma and Sonoma Valley, we are having Monarchs laying eggs after the skies cleared of smoke from the fires. Being closer to the coast, we were fortunate. We have fostered Monarch caterpillars in tents and released a dozen in our 900-square feet pollinator garden in Sonoma.  
We hope to encourage a pollinator garden highway throughout Sonoma Valley.
by Melody
on September 10, 2018 at 6:40 AM
I found a monarch laying 14 eggs on my sickly milkweed this year and collected them. It was right after the Carr fire. Only 8 survived as I had to keep going to nurseries to buy healthy milkweed to feed them. Out of the 14, 2 eggs did not hatch, one caterpillar was eaten by another, 2 caterpillars died from tainted nursery milkweed and one died from being knocked off when drying by another monarch and crumpled his wings up so he was euthanized. This past Thursday, Friday and Saturday I released 8 healthy monarchs into the sky near the Pocket canal in Sacramento. I must say, the female who dumped her eggs on my milkweed was very worn and looked as if she was covered in ash.
by Joanne Shannon
on February 12, 2019 at 12:08 PM
Sunday (Feb 11, 2019) 2 monarch butterfly cocoons opened up. My granddaughter discovered the butterfly on the ground and placed it on a milkweed plant. I checked on it later and discovered a second one had come out of its cocoon. Neither butterfly looked like they were doing too good. I saw a 3rd cocoon hanging on the milkweed plant and decided to bring it into the house. Last night it merged from its cocoon and seems to be drying its wings. I went online and discovered that 55 was as low as Monarchs could tolerate to fly to Mexico. I just looked at the butterfly and it is no longer moving. Not sure why the calendar is off for these butterflies, but just wanted you to know about this event.
by Heather Robinson
on May 13, 2019 at 11:50 AM
My yard is a Monarch Waystation (am also a UC Davis Plant Science graduate). And last year I saw a significant decline in the number of eggs and cats in my yard. This year I didn't see my first Monarch until end of April, very late for us here in Ventura County. In the past, my biggest problem has been the tachinid fly. I raise as many eggs indoors as possible because even the tiniest cats are almost all parasitized. I have maybe a 5 percent success rate outdoors (several years ago was much better) and about a 95 percent success rate raising indoors. Journey North says the only reports they have received of parasitizing come from California. Given the 97 percent decrease in Western Monarch population in recent years, I have come up with a theory but am curious about your opinion. California is a large agricultural state, with a year-round growing season. I wonder if the increased demand for organic produce has also increased the use of bio pest control for caterpillars (i.e. cabbage whites on Brassicas), which affect more than just cabbage white cats but all caterpillars. Would welcome your opinion.
 
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