My children had fun releasing the first butterfly of the season.
If all of our caterpillars had made it, we would have between 60-70 chrysali now. Sadly, predatory flies have really done their damage. They have killed 30+ caterpillars thus far. The biggest hurt for us is the waste of milkweed leaves that occurs because of that. When you consider that each caterpillar eats about 20 milkweed leaves, and you multiply that times 30 caterpillars, this means 600 milkweed leaves were sacrificed for nothing. We lost 600 leaves and got no butterflies out of it. That really stinks. 600 milkweed leaves can go along way. I thought I was starting the season with amble milkweed, but now I'm not so sure.
When we saw how many were being killed by the flies, we immediately started bringing them indoors. But even then, about 1/2 died. In the future, all caterpillars will have to come inside in pavilions. That's the only way to insure theire safety. They will have to be collected early before their 2nd or 3rd instar to insure their safety.
Well, that's all for now. More butterflies to come in the upcoming days. This is the exciting part.
Caleb & Janae Warren