I need some help. I am going to Las Vegas from 8/5 to 8/12. I have 17 Monarch caterpillars 2,3 & 4 days old. I have around 9 varieties of milkweed in my Monarch waystation. Will all of these caterpillars eat the variety of milkweed that I have to offer, or will they eat only the variety that I found them on?
I hope they aren't picky eaters, because I've already got them mixed up and don't know what I found them on. The first day I had them all in one container because I wasn't prepared and didn't know what to do.
Today, I separated them. I have most of them in their own container, but a couple of them have two in it. I'm using Gerber baby food containers. They are rectangle in shape. They are clear plastic with a clear lid. So far, it's working out well. I'm not sure how long I can keep them in these, but right now it seems perfect . Should I poke holes in the lids? I'm constantly opening them and checking them so I would think they were getting plenty of oxygen.
I got a late start in planting my milkweed, because I had to buy the seeds off of Ebay because I couldn't find any around here. I've got around 63 plants, and they range anywhere from 1" to approx. 20". Only two of them are blooming right now.
I'm thinking if I try to feed all of these from my milkweed, I won't have anything left for future Monarchs to lay eggs on.
I know where there is some common milkweed (I haven't checked for about 3 weeks though, caterpillars may have eaten it all by now.) If it is still there can I pick the leaves and save them for my caterpillars?
I'm going to see if my sister will babysit them for me. It's going to be a busy time for them, and I hate to miss it, but I have to go to Las Vegas with my husband for a convention.
If this common milkweed will work, how can I keep it fresh? Can I put the leaves in a plastic bag with a wet paper towel? Would it help if I refrigerated it? I probably won't pick it until Friday 8/4. I got chiggers so bad the last time I checked it out....maybe I'll just tell my sister where she can get milkweed!
Also, we have milkweed vine growing all over the place. My sister found two Monarch caterpillars on some last year, and I'm pretty sure that's what we continued to feed them. Would that work? If so, that would be great!
I've got nine black swallowtail caterpillars to worry about too! I guess I'll call my sister and say "Guess who's coming for dinner!"
I'll owe her forever!
I'd appreciate any advice anyone has to offer!