Wednesday June 30: I had a nice day, collected 3 eggs off of sideyard Swamp MW at Waystation No.613 patch. I've noticed many eggs appear hatched but are transparent with slits in them, with much empty egg remains. A heavy toll appears to be eggs eaten, or maybe they weren’t fertilized and just dry out? In the afternoon, collected 9 eggs and collected 2 tiny cats along nearby bike trail. I'm hoping they will all make it. Currently, I've got 25 eggs, 12 tiny cats and 1 larger one. Here's the problem:
This year, so far, I've collected 104 eggs and 7 cats, and released 13 Monarch butterflies. I add up my current eggs and cats = 38 + already released Monarch butterflies = 13, which makes the potential Monarch butterflies reared and released = 51. Yes, 51 releases possible, but I collected 111 eggs and cats thus far; that's 60 fatalities! Most fatalities occur in the egg stage.
Do others have this high a fatality? Could the eggs I collect off the roadways unfertile? Are the eggs I put in the nursery eaten by predators? (I separate the 1st instars immediately). Could the newly hatched 1st instars be escaping the nursery, which has narrow air slits at the top?
Any tips on avoiding fatalities among eggs? Robert at CREATE A WILDLIFE-FRIENDLY YARD http://wildlifefriendlylawn.blogspot.com/