Pixie Couch welcomes Monarch butterflies to her Menlo Park backyard

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on September 1, 2016

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We stopped by Pixie Couch’s home last week after getting an email from her about her efforts to attract Monarch butterflies to her backyard in Menlo Park. Here’s what she told us:

“Monarch butterflies are losing their food source, milkweed plants, due to pesticides and habitat loss. There is a nationwide alert for people to plant milkweed to support the butterflies.

“I planted “Red Butterfly” bush last Fall. The first caterpillar appeared, already grown, on August 8.

caterpillar in Pixie's yard_2“This means a Monarch found the milkweed plants in my yard and laid her eggs on the plant. Within a few days the eggs hatch and become milkweed munching caterpillars.

“The caterpillars are toxic to most predators, but evidently the California Towhee bird can tolerate them, so I transferred four ‘cats’ to a mesh cage to protect them. They just need milkweed to sustain them in a cage.

“After two weeks the ‘cats’ morph into a green, jewel-like chrysalis when they shed their skin. These hang as the butterfly takes form inside for two weeks. The Monarch butterfly emerges from the chrysalis, dries herself and flies off to continue the Monarch cycle.

“Milkweed is now available at local nurseries. The more we plant, the more they will come!”

Photos courtesy of Pixie Couch

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

J. Mello September 1, 2016 at 10:06 pm

So exciting. My husband and I raised Monarch’s two years ago. It is a fascinating endeavor and I gave each Monarch a name!

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