Friday, June 18, 2010

Heavy Losses Due To Fireants

Well, much has been happening in the last three days, but I didn't fully understand until today.  Fireants are terrible predators and kill many living creatures and insects.  I had noticed that an occasional caterpillar was on the bottom of the pavillion and that ants were feeding on it.  At first, the ants were sugar ants, and they were not harming the caterpillars at all.  They would simply get nectar from the Milkweed plants.  However, somehow the sugar ants dissipated, and without me noticing, small fireants took there place and began killing my caterpillars.  I didn't realize they were fireants until today.  The ants killed 10 caterpillars overnight.  I've lost close to 20 cats due to the ants alone.  This isn't counting the number that the predatory flies have killed.  I started this batch with over 50 cats.  If all goes well, I hope to get 16 butterflies out of it.  It is rough here in South Texas, but the lessons I'm learning now will help me better protect them in the future and have higher butterfly yeilds.

One last tragedy of the day occured when I was cleaning out my outdoor pavillion.  We live on the coast here in Corpus Christi, and it is always windy.  Well, a strong gust of wind came by and blew over my pavillion.  One of my chrysalises was ripped from its silk pad.  It's cremaster was torn lose, and the bottom of the chrysalis was slightly damaged too.  There was no saving it.

Well, enough bad news.  Check out my next Blog entry for some very exciting news!

Happy Monarching!

Caleb & Janae Warren

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