I felt bad about it. I love butterflies, even though their offspring do eat my plants. So, armed with ice cream buckets and screen covers, I began kidnapping the baby caterpillars. They did well in the buckets. Within a few weeks, I had big orange butterflies. It was a lot of fun, and only cost me a few minutes a day. So when the season ended, I stashed the buckets in the back room to use again.
Butterflies of all kinds seem scarcer this summer. But the swamp milkweed remains popular, like a singles bar where lonely butterflies can hang out and sip nectar until they find a mate. Sometimes it's a long wait. One monarch grew so desperate he started chasing a great spangled fritillary. Later on, he must have found a proper mate, because shortly after that, I found my first monarch caterpillar. Out came the bucket again.
|One of last year's butterflies prepares to take his first flight|