I thought blog readers might like to see the caterpillars in action. They've doubled in size in the last two days. The butterflies continue to lay eggs, and I think we'll probably bring some more caterpillars inside.
I believe that most of the caterpillars are in their final stage, prior to forming their chrysalis. I've started to notice them, just after they shed their skins, and emerge in a new form. The skins shrivel and dry almost immediately, reducing down to a tiny remnant.
I don't believe that either Robb or I ever raised caterpillars before this year. Somehow we missed out on this, in grade school. (Tadpoles are another story.)
It's fascinating, and not a lot of work. I put multiple layers of paper towels under the fennel filled vases. Every morning, I roll up the top layer, which catches most of the frass (the polite scientific term for caterpillar crap). As the caterpillars get larger, they eat more, but even now, it's easy to keep them fed. I add more fennel every couple of days.
Still no action on the two chrysalises. They've been in this stage for about two weeks. I understand that the butterflies can emerge in as few as ten days, but that this can also take months. I've added a few more dried sticks for the current crop of caterpillars to latch onto when they are ready to form their chrysalises.
Wish us luck, everyone!