Why do I need to know about dogbane?

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 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.

Posted in Butterflies | Comments Off

Say WHAT?

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 Gulf Fritillary butterfly caterpillar

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.

Disinfect or bleach an entire plant for caterpillars

If you like to use a living plant,
you can disinfect or bleach an
entire plant for caterpillars.

Posted in Butterflies | Comments Off

Where are the butterflies?

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 larvae caterpillars winter diapause

Tawny Emperor butterfly caterpillars
Spend the winter in diapause

Check it out by clicking here.

Posted in Butterflies | Comments Off

Tagging Monarchs

It is that time of year! Many people are now tagging Monarch butterflies to help with the study on migration.

how to tag a monarch butterfly for migration studies research

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.

how to tag a monarch butterfly for migration studies research

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.

how to tag a monarch butterfly for migration studies research

A tagged Monarch butterfly

Posted in Butterflies | Comments Off

Small Butterflies are Delightful!

We tend to notice what is bright and colorful but many of our beautiful butterflies are tiny.

Gray Hairstreak

Gray Hairstreak

Ceraunus Blue Butterfly

Ceraunus Blue Butterfly

Phaon Crescent Butterfly

Phaon Crescent Butterfly

Great Purple Hairstreak

Great Purple Hairstreak

Pearl Crescent Butterfly

Pearl Crescent Butterfly

Posted in Butterflies | Comments Off

‘Monarch Promise’ Milkweed

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

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

Monarch Promise Milkweed

Posted in Butterflies | Comments Off

Butterfly Farming (Butterfly Breeding) The How-to Seminar

Are you considering starting your own butterfly farm? We offer one to three day seminars, teaching all aspects of the business.

Butterfly chrysalises pupae at Shady Oak Butterfly Farm

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

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 edith@buyabutterfly.com.

Posted in Butterflies | Comments Off

Why can’t we remove OE from nature once and for all?

Why can’t we remove OE from nature once and for all? Ophryocystis elektroscirrha is here to stay?

OE spores Monarch butterfly Ophryocystis elektroscirrha

OE spores Monarch butterfly
Ophryocystis elektroscirrha

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.

Posted in Butterflies | Comments Off

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail and Black Swallowtail Butterfly Chrysalises

Can you tell which is which? If you find these two chrysalises, or just one of them, will you know what species of butterfly you found?

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail and Black Swallowtail butterfly chrysalises

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Black Swallowtail
Butterfly Chrysalises

The good news is that it really doesn’t matter. Either leave it where you found it or take it home and care for it and allow it to emerge and release it. You’ll find out what it is when it emerges.

For some of us, we aren’t that patient. We want to know NOW.

In this case, the chrysalis on the left is an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail and the chrysalis on the right is a Black Swallowtail. But be aware; there are other species that become chrysalises that are similar in appearance.

Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Female Black Swallowtail Butterfly

Female Black Swallowtail Butterfly

Posted in Butterflies | Comments Off

Winter and Butterflies

It’s winter here in the northern hemisphere and butterflies are scarce. Here at our farm, the low tomorrow is predicted to be 29 degrees Fahrenheit. Where are butterflies when it is so cold?

Tiger Swallowtail butterflies stay in chrysalis all winter until new leaves grow on their host trees

Tiger Swallowtail butterflies stay a
Chrysalis all winter until new leaves
Grow on their host trees

We understand that Monarch butterflies from the eastern US and eastern Canada migrate to Mexico in the fall and Monarchs west of the Continental Divide migrate to the coast of California and to Mexico for the winter. What about other species?

Tawny Emperor butterfly caterpillars in winter hibernacula

Tawny Emperor butterfly caterpillars
In their winter hibernacula
Host tree leaf sewn shut
Caterpillars hiding inside

They spend the winter in various ways, according to species. Some migrate south and continue their normal life cycle in warmer climates, their offspring migrating north in the spring. Others spend the winter as an egg, a caterpillar, a chrysalis, or an adult butterfly all winter. Some eggs, caterpillars, and chrysalises stay buried in the snow for months!

You can learn more by clicking on this sentence to visit our ‘Where Do Butterflies Go In The Winter?’ web page.

Monarch butterflies overwintering in Mexico

Monarch butterflies overwintering
Mexico overwintering location
Photo by Bill Berthet

Posted in Butterflies | Comments Off