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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The monarchs have started their return migration. Here is a report from Yahoo News. Professor Chip Taylor from the University of Kansas, who is quoted in this article, has been a guest speaker and swarm demonstrator at the Northeast Kansas Beekeepers Association special events.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/201 ... oundingnow

Now everybody go plant some milkweed! :mrgreen:
 

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I checked yesterday and our milkweed hasn't emerged yet. When it does we'll start checking for larva and reporting to the University of Minnesota's Monarch Larva Monitoring Project.

http://www.mlmp.org/

Yes, quite a site seeing a couple of people crawling through a field looking for Monarch larva. :lol:

Walt
 

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What exactly is "milkweed"? I thought that was a whole family of plants that includes dandelions...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Milkweed is in the genus Asclepias, of which there are over 140 varieties. There are around 110 native varieties in the Northern United States. They are known for their milky sap. They also contain toxins in the leaves and stems. While this is toxic to animals, this aids in protecting caterpillars and Monarch adults as animals learn quickly that they adults and caterpillars taste bad or will make them sick. The Monarch larvae feed exclusively on milkweed.
To learn more about the Monarch, milkweed and what one can do, here is a website from the University of Kansas.
http://www.monarchwatch.org/index.html

Walt B has posted a link to a great web site too and probably is more of an expert than me.

At one time, milkweed flourished and was plentiful through the plains. It has declined due to habitat destruction, etc and since it is the major food source for Monarchs, it has aided in the decline of the Monarch butterfly.
 

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Been checking to see if the milkweed has emerged yet and finally saw some this morning. Also saw a Monarch last night.

This is the last week for Cornell's "feeder watch", so we'll begin looking for Monarch larva next week. :Dancing:

Walt
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The milk weed has not broke ground here yet. But, my butterfly weed seedlings have germinated. I need to go check their condition after last night's hail storm. I can see, from the windows, that all my daffodils look like they were trampled under foot.
 

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Today was the first day that I looked for larva. Found 5 eggs out of the milkweed I examined.



Really expected to find an instar since I saw a female laying an egg on milkweed last week. No such luck. Here's one of our milkweed varieties.



Walt
 

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Tell them to take their time. Still no milkweed here.

We have "common" and "swamp" milkweed varieties in this area. Both look similar but the swamp milkweed has narrower leaves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Walt- Great picture of an egg. Thanks for sharing. I know what to look for now.
I would like to know where to find the seed for Asclepias curassavica. It performs very well here and is a magnet for the Monarch and hummingbirds. It also blooms the Kansas City Chief's colors! We can by potted plants here, when you can find them, but they are expensive.
 

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Ok, see, that's nothing like a dandelion which is what I was thinking of every time you said milkweed.
 

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Finally found an instar when wife and I were monitoring this morning. We had seen a few Monarch eggs but that was it. This 5th stage instar is heading out to secrete a chrysalis.


While we were monitoring, we also saw one of the girls working a milkweed.


Walt
 
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