How to Raise Monarchs for Beginners: Experiment Part Two
In case you missed How to Raise Monarchs for Beginners Part One click here…but guys. I have successfully raised 22 fatty caterpillars and have a few that are forming beautiful chrysalis…chrysalis’…I’m not sure what the plural version of “chrysalis” is and I’m not going to bother to Google it. BUT basically, in ten days (give or take a few), I will have a monarch to release!
😍😍😍😍 the first thing I did this morning was go over and look to see what my little caterpillar was doing. Yesterday afternoon I showed you that it was in the “J” stage and I felt ridiculous because I was on the verge of tears because I can’t even believe I get to see this happen in real life. So many metaphors. Anyway apparently the caterpillar stay in that stage for up to 18 hours–longer if it’s cold, shorter if it’s not…and it’s been hot. So. Here we are in the chrysalis stage. T-minus 10 days (less or more depending on temp) until butterfly happens ✨
So you’ve got your little egg, milkweed, water, and container. Your caterpillar will eat ALLLL the milkweed. You might have to go collect more because if you don’t, the caterpillars will start to eat each other. If you do need to collect more milkweed (we did), make sure you clean it off by soaking it in water for five minutes or spraying it to get all the bugs (aka potential predators) off of it. Check each leaf individually because it would just be the worst to put fresh milkweed in with your caterpillars and have them killed by something.
I did need to clean out all of the poop, and thought I was super careful, but I totally crushed one of my caterpillars. All the tears. Other than that, things seem to be going well. The caterpillar grows up to 3,000 times its original size. Amazing, right? Once the caterpillar is ready to chrysalis (it will be about two inches long), it will attach itself to the enclosure with a silk button and form a “J”. It’s literally called the “J stage” because they hang there, upside down, in the shape of a J…or “like a candy cane” as my five year old said. It will stay in this shape up to 18 hours, less if it is warm, more if it is cold.
After the J stage the caterpillar changes into a chrysalis. And guess what? It only takes a few minutes. You can watch my Instagram live replay below:
This image from Butterfly Fun Facts is awesome:
Seriously, most of part two is waiting around for your caterpillars to get fat enough to chrysalis. Remember to read part one here. And this post is really awesome for more info….aaand if you’re into it give it a pin.