It’s the time of year when common milkweed has nice big leaves. That means it is time to cut, disinfect, and freeze milkweed leaves for emergency times. Check it out by clicking on this sentence.
Freeze milkweed leaves
for emergency use
Those of us in the south wish we had common milkweed leaves to freeze. Have you frozen milkweed leaves? Which species of milkweed did you freeze?
It depends. One of the most popular pesticides around is one used for the express purpose of killing caterpillars. It is 100% organic and can be used on plants that are certified organic.
Monarch caterpillar killed by
an approved organic pesticide
Read more by clicking on this sentence.
Organic pesticides are as deadly to caterpillars as non-organic pesticides.
Dogbane is a plant that so strongly resembles milkweed that many people, including those experienced in the field, can be fooled it it. Monarch caterpillars will not eat it.
Dogbane is on the left Milkweed is on the right Monarch host plant
Dogbane is related to milkweed and the Milkweed Tussock Moth (actually a tiger moth but more often called tussock moth) will eat it.
Dogbane also has white sap that can harm eyes, making it even more difficult to tell them apart. Click on this sentence to learn how to tell them apart.
If you’re tired of caterpillars dying from disease pathogens on the leaves they eat, it’s time to consider disinfecting their food before you feed it to them.
NPV Nuclear Polyhedrosis Virus
Dead/Melted Gulf Fritillary butterfly caterpillar
It’s easy and kills the pathogens that kill our caterpillars.
Check it out here.
If you like to use a living plant,
you can disinfect or bleach an
entire plant for caterpillars.
It’s cold out there. It’s too cold for butterflies to fly, caterpillars to crawl, chrysalises to emerge, or eggs to hatch. So where are butterflies and moths?
Simple! Many are right there in your garden, right in front of your eyes.
Tawny Emperor butterfly caterpillars
Spend the winter in diapause
Check it out by clicking here.
It is that time of year! Many people are now tagging Monarch butterflies to help with the study on migration.
Tagging a Monarch butterfly
If you would like to learn how to tag Monarch butterflies, you can learn more about it by clicking on this sentence.
A tag fell off
this Monarch butterfly
There are common mistakes people make when tagging butterflies. Read some about those mistakes by clicking on this sentence.
A tagged Monarch butterfly
We tend to notice what is bright and colorful but many of our beautiful butterflies are tiny.
Ceraunus Blue Butterfly
Phaon Crescent Butterfly
Great Purple Hairstreak
Pearl Crescent Butterfly
We’re delighted that ‘Monarch Promise’ was released this spring. Every time we see it, we are struck all over again with its beauty.
Monarch Promise Milkweed
Supplies are limited, we discovered. The wholesale nursery that has the rights to sell wholesale to other nurseries is sold out. If you see any, buy them before it is too late!
Because the plant is patented, it can only be propagated by one nursery (besides ourselves). This means that more won’t be available until this fall.
Monarch Promise Milkweed
Are you considering starting your own butterfly farm? We offer one to three day seminars, teaching all aspects of the business.
Butterfly chrysalises at
Shady Oak Butterfly Farm
Guests from 13 different countries have attended our seminars or internships, learning the in’s and out’s of butterfly breeding.
A butterfly farm can range in size from one room to a larger farm, such as Shady Oak Butterfly Farm (in the photo below).
Learn more about the program by clicking on this sentence.
Shady Oak Butterfly Farm
Check out the seminar details at the link above. Learn what topics are covered, price, and more by reading the linked page. You can contact us with questions or to schedule a butterfly farming seminar at email@example.com.
Why can’t we remove OE from nature once and for all? Ophryocystis elektroscirrha is here to stay?
OE spores Monarch butterfly
There are several reasons:
1) it is estimated that at least 1/3 of Monarchs in the US have OE to one degree or another
2) all Monarchs in the Miami/Dade area are considered infected with OE
3) most likely nearly all Monarchs in Mexico are infected with OE
4) the parasite is found in many countries and several continents and islands
5) Queens in the US and Mexico (at least) are infected with OE
6) OE will transmit from one species to another
7) OE has been found in 3 Danaus species and suspected to be in more
8) Millions of Monarchs from the Eastern US, Eastern Canada, and some from the Western US migrate to Mexico, intermingling with each other during winter months. Many are OE infected. When they begin to mate in the spring, one without OE will often mate with one with OE. This will transfer spores to the outside of the uninfected butterfly where they can be transferred to milkweed leaves, another Monarch, and milkweed leaves. (Cross-transfer causes few problems compared to direct infection.)
Learn more by clicking on this sentence.