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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Raising Caterpillars to Butterflies

Several years ago our hearts were captured by the miracle of a caterpillar emerging into a butterfly right before our eyes.  We raised about 15 monarch caterpillars and watched them hatch.  Ever since then we've been planting flowers and plants to feed them!  They are very picky eaters, so if you don't have their choice host plant in your garden, chances are, you won't see them stopping by!

This year, since we started a vegetable garden, we had to plant some dill, as this is the favored host plant for Black Swallowtail butterflies.  Only one of my dill plants made it through the harsh cold and wet spring, and it is now feeding 9 caterpillars!  I'm worried there isn't enough for all of them, but we'll see how it all plays out!

When they emerge they will look like this:

female
 male
Unfortunately near the end of their caterpillar stage, they can be targets for bird-food, so we may be making a safety house for them.  I'll keep you updated on our progress!

I can't wait to welcome them into the garden.

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