Monday, April 2, 2012


It's a sunny day and in the 50's here in NW Ohio (Fremont), about 12 miles south of Lake Erie. I'm getting Monarch Waystation No. 613 (WS613) ready for another spring, summer  and fall of Monarch fun! The tulips are up and showing, but the milkweed haven't even sprouted yet.
We had 80-degree temperaturesl ast week, but these record-setting temps had no effect on early milkweed sproutings.
This year, I plan on conducting research to measure the Monarch productivity at Waystation No. 613, since its location represents the 25,000,000 small to medium-sized lawns in suburban settings throughout America. Although the Milkweed plants are not even sprouted yet, I have each individual plant and clump of milkweeds marked with an identification. The photo (below) is marked "2 SMW", meaning it's the second clump of milkweed and it's Swamp Milkweed. I also have marked "CMW" for Common Milkweed and "TMW" for Tropical Milkweed.   
Monarch productivity will be recorded for each milkweed clump.
I will record varous factors for each milkweed clump, which total 48 milkweed clumps in my side and back yards. These factors include: number of eggs laid, which milkweed species Monarch's prefer to lay eggs on, number of eggs laid per plant and per leaf, number of eggs parisitized on plant before collection, no. of eggs collected, no. of eggs hatched, no. of caterpillars raised, no. of OE incidences, no. of chrysalis' formed, no. of adult Monarchs hatched, checked for OE, and released, tallies of other butterfly species visiting WS613, etc.

Several years ago, I collected over a hundred eggs off my milkweeds and this resulted in 80 adult Monarch butterflies being released. Since then, through discussing better ways to raise Monarch caterpillars in the Monarchwatch forums, I've learned to cut down on parisitism from insects and from OE infections.
Further Reading:
Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S believes urban sprawl can be offset by creating wildlife-friendly spaces in America's 25,000,000 lawns, one yard at a time! Click HERE to learn why. A portion of Ad sale revenues will be donated to Monarch Watch. Do you have a wildlife-friendly space? Please share it! Contact us on the secure Bpath Mail Form.