My friend Charlotte raised a couple of hundred Monarchs on her country property and she asked if I would like some which were just about ready to form their chrysalis. Of course I said, YES!” I still had some milkweed I could use to finish raising them .
Around this time St. Louis and most of the country is experiencing record setting heat. It looks like we may have 100+ degrees for ten days or more.
The question then becomes – as the caterpillars form their chrysalis, how am I going to keep them so that they don’t bake in the sun. Here are a few things I’ve learned.
1. Keep them in the shade at all times. I have to move their box during the day to keep it in the shade. If you have a cooler garage, that will be even better.
2. Make sure the container allows the free flow of air. Charlotte gave me a large container made of wood supports and metal screen. I normally use a fish tank, but that gets too hot for this time of the year.
3. While I normally might keep the monarchs a week or so, I’m letting them go after 24 to 48 hours. It’s too hot to keep them any longer.
4. I’m spraying my screen tent with water to keep the monarchs cool and hydrated. They also have access to flowers, gatorade and watermelon.