Joined: 12:59 AM - Jun 21, 2017

2:08 PM - Oct 08, 2018 #16

This male Monarch liked the Verbena on 10.4.18 in my garden.   The Verbena had a cluster of three at the end of the stem making it even more attractive.  There is plenty of blooming Verbena plants here yet.    Saw this fat Mantis this morning too. Monarch at Verbena 2.JPG Fat Mantis 10.8.18.JPG
Carol Trego
New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, USA
Zone 6b
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Joined: 4:14 PM - Jun 14, 2014

5:12 PM - Oct 08, 2018 #17

Steve,  You are right, Tropical Milkweed is absolute Catnip for Monarchs.  I have a good Common Milkweed patch.  It surprises me that Common Milkweed is well past its season and is in shreds and tatters by the time the fall Monarch migration occurs.  You would think the life cycle of the principal native milkweed would match up better with the biggest users.  Tropical Milkweed does fine until frost.  I grow some in pots so I can move them in and out during the first cold weeks and give stragglers a chance.  It's the easiest plant in the garden to grow.  If you would like some seeds, let me know.   Brett
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Joined: 12:09 AM - May 21, 2013

6:03 PM - Oct 08, 2018 #18

Nature isn't perfect but considering the life cycle from egg to butterfly late milkweed still in good shape really doesn't benefit the Monarch population. There are a zillion nectar plants out there the species can use for energy while it is migrating to Mexico.. Beyond a certain date in the fall the odds of a butterfly successfully making the trip come pretty close to zero anyway.
Southern New Jersey
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Joined: 4:14 PM - Jun 14, 2014

3:57 AM - Oct 09, 2018 #19

Ward,  Do you think Tropical Milkweed should be taken down to prevent overly late reproduction?  Brett
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Joined: 12:09 AM - May 21, 2013

11:54 AM - Oct 09, 2018 #20

In the south some folks do think it should be removed. That it short stops them into breeding instead of continuing on to Mexico to winter over. Also that the late stuff might be a vector for disease. None of it seems certain to me. The fact that some small part of the migrant population fails to get its timing right strikes me as something that is probably not altogether new. Usually such individuals get trimmed out by weather or ill timing but when a situation like climate change occurs perhaps they could be a future alternate wintering population?
Southern New Jersey
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Joined: 12:59 AM - Jun 21, 2017

9:00 PM - Oct 09, 2018 #21

There was a lot of butterfly activity today in the gardens with Monarch butterflies and a few other types.    I observed something different this afternoon.     I first noticed a Monarch that looked strange with only the wings showing on a Lantana plant; the body was not showing.     Then I noticed a Praying Mantis close by on a branch of the Lantana plant.   The mantis got the Monarch and had eaten a good part of the butterfly.     I felt kind of bad but that is what happens in nature.  To counteract that, I saw a swallowtail caterpillar on a bronze fennel plant today.   Not sure if it will live to become a butterfly because the weather is supposed to get a lot colder.  
Carol Trego
New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, USA
Zone 6b
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Joined: 4:14 PM - Jun 14, 2014

2:10 AM - Oct 10, 2018 #22

Ward,  Your last post got me thinking.  I realize I may have been wrong headed about the relationship between Common Milkweed and Tropical.  I've been thinking it's a failure of Common not to last longer.  Perhaps I should be thinking Common lasts just as long as it should for this zone and when it deteriorates it's a sign to Monarchs to forget reproduction and get out of Dodge.  That being the case it's probably unwise to let Tropical stand much longer. I'm going to cut down my Tropical, after carefully inspecting for caterpillars.  Next year I'll grow it again but take it down by first of October.   As you say, there are plenty of other nectar sources for the migration.  Brett
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Joined: 12:09 AM - May 21, 2013

12:17 PM - Oct 10, 2018 #23

I don't think anyone knows what triggers the last generation of Monarchs to give up breeding and take their long migration to Mexico. Maybe it is day length like with many plants? Maybe it is some other trigger? Cutting back the Tropical Milkweed is certainly a prudent given what we don't know.
Southern New Jersey
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Joined: 12:59 AM - Jun 21, 2017

7:52 PM - Oct 10, 2018 #24

It was a very good Monarch day today.    Here is a video showing at least 10 butterflies and three images. I didn't see any hummingbirds today until 4 pm when looking out the window.  I thought the one that was here yesterday headed south.   It might not even be the same one.

[attachment=2]Seven Monarchs.JPG[/attachment] Monarch at Tithonia.JPG Monarch at butterfly bush.JPG
Seven Monarchs.JPG
Carol Trego
New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, USA
Zone 6b
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Joined: 3:58 AM - Jul 18, 2009

7:54 PM - Oct 13, 2018 #25

I saw quite a few monarchs this year, but they're gone now.  My tithonia has crapped out, too.
Dan
East-central Iowa
Zone 5a
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Joined: 11:45 PM - Sep 06, 2009

10:50 PM - Oct 15, 2018 #26

I had a few monarchs in my yard today, sort of feel sorry for them. :(
Central NJ
usda zone 6b
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Joined: 12:09 AM - May 21, 2013

2:09 PM - Oct 16, 2018 #27

Me too. Each day that passes the odds of a successful migration go down. I saw one on the Mexican Sunflower yesterday, the only one I've seen this week. I expect when we have a warm sunny day butterflies will appear like magic. It isn't over yet. One thing is for sure over the next six months I will miss all the bugs.
Southern New Jersey
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