Wednesday February 24th – Build a Caterpillar-rearing Cage

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A brilliant blue-sky day to you!

Looking forward to more monarch butterflies this summer? Besides planting more milkweed, you can protect those caterpillars.
Join members to create your own caterpillar-rearing cage to rescue/rear monarchs and other butterflies.

Wednesday February 24th – Build a Caterpillar-rearing Cage
6:30 pm socialize, 7:00 pm “hands-on” workshop
Meet at Hartley Nature Center.

Choice of two types of cages. Bring your own materials & tools as per the instructions below.
Possible fund-raiser: extra materials may be available to build more cages to sell at the Duluth Garden Flower Society plant sale in May!

Option #1: This caterpillar-rearing cage was cut down to about 14″ high. The jar inside has tin-foil over it (so caterpillars don’t fall in), holding one or more florists picks with fresh host plant foliage in place. Top and bottom are old cake pans and sides are wire mesh. Very easily disassembled for photography and cleaning. Easy to add a stick for caterpillars to pupate on, though they will happily use the top pan and the stems of the host plant, too.unnamed-1
Caterpillar rearing

Option #2: From Monarch Network Teachers’ Workshop.
1. You need a 3 prong tomato cage–turn it upside down and make sure it sets level. Buy these at a hardware store or use an old one.
2. Get 5 gallon paint strainers–they come two to a package for approx. $3.
3. Buy inexpensive aluminum pizza pans.
4. You will need a good pair of bolt clippers or something that can cut the wire prongs that go into the ground on the tomato cage.
Trim the tomato cage prongs so that when you bend them they will meet in the center of the narrow end of the cage. Slip the paint strainer over and set the cage in an aluminum pizza pan–it will fit snuggly. Now you are ready to add your plants and caterpillars. You can put paper towels in the bottom to catch frass. It’s easy to clean.unnamed

You can slip off the cover and wash between broods. The caterpillars have plenty of space to pupate and emerge in excellent condition.

Idea from Cathy: Without the pizza pan on the bottom, use landscape staples to fasten this cage over milkweed plant outside to protect caterpillars. (Problem = no butterflies can access the plant inside.)

Suggestion from Dan Schutte: I think that suspending pieces of wood across the wires that are on the tomato cages would be a good idea, as a lot of the larva may wind up making their chrysalis on those, and then you can remove them, to a more stable, safe place as they are developing.

More info on the example above, plus other ideas:

General info on caterpillar-rearing from Monarch Watch:

Mark your calendars for future meetings:

Wednesday March 23 – Plants (rare and common) and native plant communities of Park Point/Minnesota Point.

Presenter: Rebecca Holmstrom, Minnesota Biological Survey, Ecological and Water Resources, MN DNR

Wednesday April 27 – Pollinator Revival, a grassroots initiative to protect pollinators from further decline by educating retailers and stopping the sale or use of pesticides known to be harmful to bees and other beneficial insects.
Presenters: Pollinator Revival co-founders, Marilyn D. Jones and Julia Vanatta; both are Wild Ones members from the Twin Cities area.
Volunteer opportunities:

Rachael Olesiak, naturalist at the Cloquet Forestry Center, would like help with their Spring camp held Thurs. March 24 & Mon. March 28. The age of kids is 1st-6th grade and the objective was to teach them how to plant seeds and then send them home with seeds to start their own gardens. Dan Schutte, Wild Ones member, plans to supply seeds & seedlings, and planting materials. A few WO members have already volunteered. Please reply to this email if interested or for more info. A future goal is to create a pollinator garden around the administrative building this summer.

1st Annual Duluth Monarch Festival on Sat. May 21 – 12-4PM @ the Coppertop Church: larva monitoring/citizen science presentations, kids’ activities, free milkweed seeds, butterfly items for sale, and more. Guest speaker is Dr. Karen Oberhauser – Monarch Lab, U of Minn.
Sponsored by Duluth Monarch Buddies, Wild Ones – Arrowhead Chapter & other groups. Free admission!
Volunteer to sell the milkweed & other pollinator plants that will be for sale. Please reply to this email if interested.

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