Sunday, September 19, 2010


This is what I saw first -the chewed sides of milkweed seed pods.

chomp chomp chomp

I had not seen any butterflies visit my Ascelpias tuberosa and started to question its good name. These are Monarch caterpillars -storied to feed only on milkweed -now I get it, butterfly weed. My milkweed has grown so well this year that it may have just earned the right to host a couple.

That's a serious turd.

Now I get to wait for them to pupate, chrysalis photos coming in a few days? What's exciting about these two monarchs is that they are 4th generation, which means that when they exit the chrysalis, they will be off to spend the winter in the mountains of Mexico, returning to the southern U.S. next spring to mate. Welcome to Frank's Bed & Asclepias, I hope you enjoy your stay.

Meanwhile, just below the monarchs are these orange aphids. These are also newcomers and prefer the milkweed too. The crazy thing about these aphids, unlike all the other aphids I've had here, is that they are the same color as the flowers of my butterfly weed. While no way conclusive, Aphis nerii seems to be a possible species.


  1. It is kind of hard to tell from your photos but looks like your caterpillars might have a parasite infection. Take a look at this site.
    She has a lot of info about OE. Hopefully not because the chrysalids are beautiful. Love your blog.


  2. Wow, lucky you. My swallowtail caterpillar disappeared after the Big Poop. Somebody on my blog said - I think it was Simba - that that is the precursor to pupating...

  3. Kelly,
    I did notice the "dirty" quality in the side of one of them. On that site it says I would be a humane person if I squish them. But I won't. Because I am not expert and because I didn't release them and because on some level I am against that much interference in the nature of things. Does put a damper on my excitement.

    Marie, The big poop is? Insert gross joke here that I would regret. ;)

  4. I totally understand not wanting to squish it. I think the lady who does that site has the rationale that the monarch population was really damaged by flooding in Mexico last year and that butterflies with OE can spread it to others, thus further damaging the population. Hopefully your guy just got some schmutz on him.


If I do not respond to your comment right away, it is only because I am busy pulling out buckthorn, creeping charlie, and garlic mustard...