After thinking I was a big-time Monarch midwife in 2008, I have managed to shepherd 215 cats into chrysalis this year. The eggs were laid on my tropical milkweed during the period August 16-19. First eclose was this past Thursday, Sept 10. There are already 20 healthy adults in my nursery so far. I'm going to tag them this year.
My biggest regret this year is not starting enough tropical milkweed early enough. I did have enough blooming by Aug 16 to attract the laying females (and I should mention that I midwifed 2 females and a male in July, but that was it!), and enough to feed the tiny cats for a week and a half. But then I had to harvest wild milkweed, which invariably comes with all manner of bugs and blights (as well as more cats!). I would much prefer feeding only milkweed that I raise myself. I live in a townhouse, by the way, and I don't have a gigantic garden. I raise just about all of my milkweed in pots.
I have lost about 8 cats, probably to OE. I also have two chrysalides that look suspicious. I'm thinking I'll let them attempt eclose (if they make it that far), but I'm bracing myself for the eventuality that I'll have to euthanize.
I also have one other unusual chrysalis -- well, actually, it just eclosed this morning -- that I will write about in its own topic.
Gaithersburg (technically, Montgomery Village), MD