Raising Monarchs In Illinois

by Bob Erlich
(Evergreen Park Illinois)

New Monarchs

New Monarchs

I decided in 2008 to raise Monarchs. I found common milkweed and transplanted it to garden. I also found some swamp milkweed and purchased Red milkweed from Florida I have about 50 plants total. I became very proactive and went out in search of either eggs or caterpillars and brought them back to my home. I use 2 different plastic containers with a wet paper towel on the bottom and I keep them covered. As they are born I move them to a larger container and after 4 or 5 days I move them to a covered aquarium that has either a metal mesh or a screen top. I also put foam padding on the bottom because I had a couple fall off plants and die now they just bounce. I go in search of plants that are the same type as mine and cut off the stem at the height of the aquarium. I put the stem in a short vase and put aluminum foil around the stem and top of the vase (I had a couple of them drown last year) you will have to change the plants twice a day because they will dry out or be gone. I do not let any eggs or caterpillers stay on my plants they will be gone in a heartbeat. I raised and released 150 Monarchs and 50 Black Swallowtails last year and this year after 4 weeks I have 100 chrysalis's right now and another 100 caterpillars eating 5 or 6 plants a day. It is a lot of work but equally rewarding.

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Raising Monarchs In Illinois

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Great for the kids!
by: Missy

Not only is Bob (my dad) a natural at raising butterflies, he's become a teacher to my kids... When I hear my 4 yr. old say 'chrysalis' or say something to his friends like, "you can only hold a caterpillar on a leaf", I am so proud that he's got such a wonderful grandpa teaching him about the amazing life cycle of the Monarch butterfly. Its truly an amazing thing to witness and amazing for the kids to be a part of at such a young age! Their favorite part is releasing the butterflies-its so beautiful to see. Thanks for doing this Dad, you're really the GREATEST!!! We are all so lucky to have the best Dad and Grandpa in the world!

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