Monday, July 8, 2013

More Black Swallowtails!

This morning I was talking to my Mom on the phone while on my morning run/walk.  I was still talking to her as I got home and went over to sit on the deck steps to rest, when I noticed a black swallowtail flying around in the direction of my herb garden.  I ran inside and grabbed my camera and was lucky enough to catch her laying eggs on the fennel.  She really searched around it, trying to find a safe, secluded spot.  She took a few breaks, going to feed on the Mexican sunflower in a nearby flower bed and then went back to lay a few more.  She laid 7 in all, or at least that's all I could find.  Here are a few of the pictures I was able to take.  This was a first for me! 

The first group of eggs, earlier this spring produced 18 butterflies so far, with 2 chrysalis' still to hatch of these Black Swallowtails.  This female could have been one from that group ~ wouldn't that be great?!    I will continue raising these eggs and any more I find.  I am also currently raising Spicebush Swallowtails, if you haven't seen my previous posts about them.  The caterpillars for those are really neat looking.  I have one that is a chrysalis, 2 hanging - that should be chrysalis' by tonight or tomorrow, 2 large green cats, and one small brown cat to go.  I am always looking for more while on my walks.  Luckily, there are plenty of spicebushes, sassafras, and other host trees along the road I live on.  They are very hard to find though, as they like to hide during the day and feed at night.  I am anxiously waiting for the monarchs to come to my area.  I have more milkweed planted in my yard this year and have seen alot growing along the road I live on.  I have ordered 100 tags for my monarchs this year from "Monarch Watch" out of Kansas University.  I ordered 50 last year but raised 66.  I'm hoping to use up all my tags this year!  I have my mother hooked on raising butterflies now too!  I have read many posts on how other people raise their butterfly caterpillars, seems everyone has their own way of doing it.  The way I do it is farely easy.  I use the little watering tubes that you get from the florist to keep their food fresh and have different sizes of plastic critter keepers.  I keep them in the smaller containers until they get big enough to put in my large cage.  My large cage is made similarly to a rabbit cage, totally screened in so that they can't escape!  I do have the Spicebush caterpillars in their own large cage, since their food source is different.  It really is a lot of fun raising them and a great hobby for anyone, of any age!  One hint though, ALWAYS wash your hands before handling their food or the caterpillars. 
Hope I inspire more people to start!
Thanks for visiting ~   )!(

1 comment:

  1. Nice post and pics. Very informative. Now, when I see a butterfly, I wonder if it is one you raised :?)