...and a prayer
By definition-"with only the slightest chance of success."
That about sums up my Monarch season and Monarchs in general. The mama Monarch who laid her eggs this summer had been infected with the OE parasite and transmitted the spores to her offspring. While she is busy fluttering around the milkweed and laying her eggs, she unwittingly scatters the spores that lay in wait between her scales. Thus infecting the caterpillar that eats the leaves and die a terrible death. I stopped counting the dead.
...four survived~3 males and a female. The odds that Monarchs survive at all is truly a miracle in its own right.
Everyday, sometimes twice, I go "aphid squishing" with my trusty squirt bottle to rid the milkweed of these parasites that suck the life out of the host plant. It's a labor of love for these delicate creatures that I've come to have a one way connection with. On a recent aphid squash, I discovered 5 critters. I don't even have cautious optimism for these little ones...but I always hope that they've arrived at a good time of year when their chances of survivor are slightly higher.
I'll keep you posted.
Happy (nature loving) snapping!