As part of their training, HPNC Summer Camp teachers are learning about raising Monarch and Swallowtail butterflies from eggs! Their expert teacher is Ms. Marilyn Cavicchia, keeper of the HPNC Monarch Waystation.
Marilyn says that for monarchs, the teachers will look for eggs on the milkweed in the potted plants area of the butterfly garden. Here’s what the eggs will look like (magnified here – they are actually tiny!)
Marilyn taught the teachers how to tend to the eggs, the tiny caterpillars that will hatch out and how to feed those hungry caterpillars as they get older and bigger!
Black Swallowtail eggs will be found on our dill, parsley, carrot tops, or Queen Anne’s lace, and the plant we have that looks like Queen Anne’s lace. Ms. Kirsten has said it’s OK to take tiny snips of her dill that has eggs on it, Here’s what the Black Swallowtail eggs look like:
Marilyn suggested that our kids stop collecting eggs once they have a maximum of 10. Once all have hatched, then we can separate the caterpillars, 5 in each of our netted containers. One thing that is possible and pretty fun, she says, is to have a mixed group of monarchs and swallowtails. They get along fine as long as each has the right kind of food.
Because of Covid-19, our summer camp kids must stay in their assigned classroom; they can’t visit the other classrooms to see what’s going on. In order to give everyone a chance to participate in our butterfly project, the eggs/caterpillars will rotate through each classroom. In the end, all kids will take turns with their care.
If you’re on Facebook and you’d like more information on raising Monarch and Swallowtail butterflies, these two groups are very helpful:
Wow, thanks Marilyn! What a great training for our teachers!