Here are some new videos from Archie's Garden.
The first one is showing what's going on in the Butterfly Fort:
The next one is a very close-up view of a monarch egg hatching:
Monday, August 8, 2011
Since the adult butterflies can't lay eggs on the plants in the tent, we have to help out. Here are some pictures of how we get the caterpillars into the tent.
Out crawl the tiny caterpillars. Do you remember what they're called when they first emerge from their eggs? They're called "first instars." The number tells how many times they have shed their skins as they grow bigger. As you probably remember, monarch caterpillars shed their skins four times before they "J" and become pupas.
The caterpillar in these pictures is actually a second instar. He's already crawled around, eaten some small holes in the leaf, and shed once.
We think he's big enough, so we played the Pomp & Circumstances March, and took him out into the tent. We'll let you know how he does!
(you can click on any of the pictures to make them larger)
Sunday, August 7, 2011
The wasps have proven persistent, relentless, and resourceful. They have found the weakness in the blue things: there has to be an opening in the container for the milkweed plant. The wasps have been able to sneak their ways in even through this tiny opening.
So here, we introduce our latest round of defenses: total containment. The milkweed plants are in pots, and the pots are inside a mesh tent. The mesh of the tent is very fine -- too small even for mosquitoes, much less wasps. The only openings have zippers, so the inside is safe.
The answer to this question is that they can't. Instead, we have milkweed plants all around the garden. The butterflies lay eggs on those plants (we'll have another article here on Archie's Garden to talk about protecting the eggs).
It seems like they like it! Several of the caterpillars have already pupated on the mesh of the tent. Here's a picture of one of them.
In about ten days, when the butterflies eclose (come out of their pupas), we will unzip the tent flaps, and they will be able to fly away. We'll have pictures here!