We are still busy raising the monarch caterpillars.
Most of the group are now in chrysalis mode.
And we seem to be releasing one or two every day.
Here is a freshly released lovely female, resting on a lavender shrub, flexing her wings in the sun.
If the butterfly emerges from their chrysalis in the earlier part of the morning, before 8 am, we can release them around 1 pm or later. They do need a few hours after emerging to dry their wings, and get the blood circulating throughout their body and wings.
Then we take them out to the patio in their mesh hamper and open the lid to see if the butterfly feels ready to leave. Usually they wait a few minutes before they fly out of the hamper. Or they walk out on the lid and sit there for a while before they take off.
Some are so ready that they literally fly out of the hamper, high in the air and fly up over the roof or into neighboring trees.
If the butterfly emerges from its chrysalis later in the morning or early afternoon, we have to wait until the next day to release them because ideally they need about 3 hours of sunlight and warm temperature to feed on the nectar in flowers and find a good place to rest for the night.
Newly emerged monarch butterflies don't need food for about 24 hours, but after that they need nourishment.
One of the monarch females, that we needed to keep in the mesh hamper overnight because she emerged in the afternoon, upon release immediately sipped on the nectar of blossoms on a butterfly bush growing in a container on our patio. After that she flew up into the Meyer lemon tree to rest.
Oh what fascinating creatures they are.
So far we have released twelve monarchs, six female and seven male.
In the house we still have twenty-two chrysalides developing, and raising three tiny caterpillars.