Oops, can’t ‘update’ a non-existent post, so this shall be your first report on my sad learning experience.
It all started that day I noticed I had (count ’em) 16 caterpillars ready to spin their mummy-like chrysalises, and thence to be adult Papillo Machaons.
Photo courtesy of Oz Ritner, who has a beautiful site on Israeli Lepidoptera.This species is the ‘Old World’ version of the familiar Tiger Swallowtail, P. glaucus. Luckily its host plant here is the easy-to-grow Common Rue. What the adults like, I still don’t know. One thing’s for certain, they absolutely abhorred my spiffy cage/palace I built in a frenzied fever.
Like an expectant mom arranging the crib, etc in the future newborn’s little bedroom. I gave them shelves of Rue, and seven kinds of colorful flowers, in baskets, in planters, hell, in garden-fresh vinaigrette sauce with a side of organic passiflora. Two trays, complete with washed stones for comfortable standing/seating, contained sugar-water, stale beer, and past-its-sell-by melons, cut into attractive cubes.
So what did the ingrates say to all this maternal brouhaha?
“We jus wanna get the f*ck outta heah!” And to prove it they buzzed against the mosquito netting sun-up to sun-down, some even tearing off parts of their wings. Not a one even alighted on a flower, or even sampled the repast. Not once. And I watched.
It took me three (3) anguished days to admit failure and release them. Yesterday. Only God and His chief entomologist knows how humongous a cage I’d need to spring for in order to make these prima donnas happy.
So there ya go: the Dream, the Hard work to make it Come True…. and the Dashing of Hope against the Rocks. All in one post.
I’ll still raise the caterpillars though. Sometimes when they look up at me through the chicken-wire bird-protection screen they almost seem to be saying, weakly, ‘Um…thank you Johnny. Nom nom.’. Then they grow up, metamorphose, and curse the hand that fed them. Nature can be so cruel.