Our 2021 season has come to an end here at Kaleidoscope Kisses Waystation.
All of the cleanup is finally done and ready to go into storage. Dozens of plastics bins for eggs and tiny caterpillars as well as 8 net enclosures for instars 3, 4, and 5 have been scrubbed and sanitized for storage. It takes a lot of time and effort to make sure my babies are healthy, but it’s totally worth it.
This was a stellar year here at KKW, nothing like we expected! Because the weather has been so goofy all spring and my milkweed got off to such a bad start, I was afraid that we wouldn’t get any butters at all. We weren’t seeing the usual swallowtails and skippers, either! Somehow, in spite of it all, they arrived 2-3 weeks earlier than usual. We never did see more than a few adults, but they left us a bounty of eggs. Of the eggs I collected, about 40% hatched. This is not unusual, because there are things than can go wrong. Actually, if they’d all hatched, I wouldn’t have had nearly enough milkweed to feed them. In the wild, there are around 5% more or less (depending on which expert you ask) that survive from egg to healthy butterfly. Of our eggs that hatched, we had 584 that were released in about a one month period! We had less than a 4% fatality rate, which occurred from a variety of causes. These are great numbers for us! We’re going to miss the funny caterpillars and beautiful butters, but are hopeful that next year they’ll be back.