With the arrival of mid Autumn our weather has changed from the warm temperatures suitable for the arial activities of the Monarch Butterfly north of the 29th latitude, much less the 32nd of the “Pinckard Monarch Butterfly Ranch’s Garden”.
All of the Monarch supplies and habitats have been cleaned, sanitized, and stored for the “Off Season.”
We started working on the Gardens, both the Butterfly and Pollinator. All of our “Potted Plants” are moved into the security of the garage for their overwintering, including artificial lighting, airflow, and watering.
Thorough weeding and deadheading of the gardens are completed. Many of our Pollinator Plants that are in bloom: Zinnia’s, Milkweed (Tropical & Yellow), Cosmos, Phlox, Marigolds, and Lantana, are left as we have multiple Bumble and Honey Bees tending the flowers.
Butterfly & Pollinator Gardens
In the second week of November while tending the Butterfly Garden and the Pollinator Garden, I found a few Monarch Caterpillars. I could not leave them to perish in the pending weather; therefore, I rescued them to the Indoor Habitat. They flourished and developed. The next week I found another 5 star Caterpillar, which was also rescued to the Habitat.
As nature would have it, a pair mated and we now have a female laying eggs. I have modified our 24 cubic foot habitat with a Light Cycle of LED lights programmed to emulate Sunrise to Sunset in time and color. To monitor the “Comfort Zone” there is a wireless thermometer and if needed a small fan for “Air Movement and Circulation.” I have freshly transplanted a few life sustaining Milkweeds with “Moisture Meters” to monitor soil condition. In addition, I have developed an “InHabitat Watering System” utilizing a garden bubbler attached to a “Pump Up Sprayer”.
After the Caterpillars have begun to eat and grow, they will be moved to a second and smaller habitat to continue their life cycle until maturity and then they will return to the larger habitat.
I will monitor and maintain our little friends and provide for them. Hopefully, they will survive the winter and flourish. I could not stand by and not try to rescue them and extend their life; as they would not have survived this long without my intervention. We will learn from this experience and experiment and move on.