Yesterday, I reported that one of our females was mating with a male, but I wasn't sure if he fully fertilized her eggs because they were interrupted before they could fully connect. Well, interestingly, that female today is busily flying around in the pavillion from Milkweed plant to plant attempting to lay eggs. However, nothing is deposited. It seems she thinks she's fertilized, but she's not. I've never seen this behavior before. It's very interesting. However, our other female Monarch has successfully mated and is laying eggs on our Milkweed plants right now!
It doesn't seem like it will be a problem having enough Milkweed this time, especially since we have found an abundance of it in our yard. So, for the first time, we are fully ready for this next batch of babies. Perhaps the 3rd time will be the charm, and we will have a high success rate.
Finally, while I love birds, I don't try to encourage them to hang out in our yard. The reason is simple; most birds eat butterflies. While it is true that most birds avoid eating Monarchs because they are poisonous and will give the bird a horrible stomach ache, the birds are not born with this knowledge. So, for them to learn this life lesson, they must consume at least one Monarch. That's a lot of Monarchs lost just so a bird can learn a lesson. Therefore, I normally don't set my yard up especially for them. I don't discourage them from visiting, but I don't encourage them either. However, the Hummingbird is an exception. It only feeds on nectar, and it doesn't hunt butterflies. The two coexist very peacefully. So, I do put out nectar feeders for the hummingbirds.
Today, I had to replenish their supply. To my surprise, the same ants that had earlier killed so many of my caterpillars were literally covering the hummingbird feeder so it couldn't feed. We temporarily corrected the problem with a little hot water, but I know they will be back. Hopefully, I can find their nest and do away with them. One encouraging note though is that since I have installed my mote around my outdoor pavillion, and put bleach in the mote, I have had no further problems with ants or any other insects getting into the pavillion.
Caleb & Janae Warren