Why does it take so long for a releases to happen?
Butterfly Releases can happen the same day you request or sometimes can take several months to happen. It all depends on nature. I raise the caterpillars in my yard. I collect them as little in-stars and place them into cages to help lower their chances of dying. However, it is still all about nature and their natural enemies. I can help, but I can't save them all. The three major issues they fight:
-the OE spore: this nasty microscopic parasite live on the milkweed and after the caterpillar eats it, it becomes infected. If it has a higher amount of the OE spore in its gut, it will die. This either happens when it is still a caterpillar (black death), after it is in chrysalis form or after it emerges or tries to emerge (deformed). Some do emerge fine after contracting this parasite but then spread the parasite onto the milkweed thus infecting the next generation.
-the tachnid fly: The tachnid fly uses the caterpillars to feed their offspring. The fly will lay eggs into the caterpillar and it slowly eats the caterpillar from the inside out. Once it eats enough it will emerge as a maggot out the body. The caterpillar sometimes makes it to the chrysalis form, but will always die.
-the wasp: sometimes wasp eat nectar (flowers) and sometimes they eat protein. I have actually caught a wasp with one of my caterpillars. I immediately killed it, but it was too late. I often see them flying around the milkweed looking under the leaves. Most of the time I have the caterpillars in the cages, but sometimes I don't find them all in time.
All three even with my help still prolong the releases.
Another reason the releases can be delayed is due to weather. The warmer it is, the faster they emerge. When it is cold, it can take 3 - 4 weeks for the butterfly to emerge from its chrysalis.
Another reason for the delays is due to the sex of the butterfly. I release the butterflies based on the sex of your angel. Sometimes the males emerge more often, other times the females emerge more often.
And finally, I do this as a free service (with the option of a small donation). I still have to do the laundry, clean the house, tend to my yard, watch my living child, work on my home business, etc. I will always try my best to capture pictures of the releases. Sometimes though I can not upload them and edit the blog right away. I will always update them, but must place my family first.
I can not control nature so thank you for your patience.
I have several angels (or multiples), can you release them together?
As a mother of multiples I know the desire for them to be together. I will always try without you even having to ask for their releases to be done together. However, it will still not always happen. I can not control when they will emerge or what sex of the butterfly emerges. There is a certain window of time from when they emerge to when I release them that I can get a photo. If it is your multiples' turn on the list AND the certain sexes of your multiples emerge relatively close together then I can do it. I will try, but it is not guaranteed.If you absolutely want them to be released together, let me know in your request, just know it will most definitely lengthen your wait.
Why don't you get pictures of the butterflies with their wings open every time?
A Monarchs wings are very fragile once they emerge. It takes a couple hours for them to dry completely and be ready for flight. There is a very short window of time were their wings are still too wet to fly, yet dry enough to easily capture their wings open. If I try and take the pictures any later, they are ready to fly and will not stay long enough for me to capture their picture. Therefore, I usually error on the side of caution and take the photos when they are still a bit damp. This happens especially in the summer months when I am releasing more butterflies. In addition, my camera is not the fastest up to date piece of equipment so getting the picture of them closed is less frustrating task then shooting dozens of photos of them half closed. Although I will try with those butterflies that are cooperating with me!
How do you keep track of all of the different releases when they all look so similar?
If I am releasing the same sex of butterfly right after another I will set up the angel figurine in a different location to help me distinguish between the two. If they are different sexes, I may or may not change up the scenery as I can easily tell the difference between those butterflies of different sexes. I also sometimes take a picture of the sky just to show myself that it is a new photo session of a new butterfly. Yes, it is a lot of work!