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hortster

Invasion!

12 years ago

I'm sure that you pros in this forum have seen this critter numerous times. We have seen it before, but never like this. We have a Peking cotoneaster hedge that is coming into bloom, and there are literally hundreds of these that flit and fly when the foliage is disturbed. Please help us out - what is this?

Thanks, hortster

{{gwi:462599}}

Comments (17)

  • 12 years ago

    Think I found it - knew it looked familiar. "Red Admiral." It has been around before, but never in these numbers. Pretty critter!
    hortster

  • 12 years ago

    In the many years of butterfly gardening I have done, I have only seen the red admiral about 3 times until this year. I have been seeing at least 5 per day, every day, all nectaring on the durantas. The durantas have been a magnet for the butterflies this year! Guess they are making up for the horrible year we had last year with the drought. I even saw my first buckeyes this year, 3 or 4 of them, to boot! All my milkweeds are sticks! The monarchs have been here in huge numbers.

    I am so excited about the great start to this butterfly season!

    Mechelle

  • 12 years ago

    Yes, that's a Red Admiral. We're in the middle of an explosion of them as well. It's been going on for a couple of weeks. Considering the massive amounts of pellitory and stinging nettle growing rampant it is nice to know there'll be plenty more to continue the cycle. We've also had massive amounts of Checkered Whites, Gulf Fritillaries, Lyside Sulphurs, Snouts and Painted Ladies. We had some good rain a few weeks ago and that kick-started all the natives weeds and wild flowers they use as larval hosts. YIPPIE!!!

    Durantas are a great nectar source and add wonderful color to the yard. I have several bushes in my back yard and one in the front yard I pruned into a "tree" - it has grown to about 12 feet and it's tough to get butterfly photos when they are way up there :o(

    ~ Cat

  • 12 years ago

    Great picture, Horster!

    Yes, there is indeed an explosion of red admirals this year. I've got plenty of one of their host plants, false nettles, and they're not being parasitized this year, so their numbers have soared. I'll be releasing about ten from my cages soon, and there are huge numbers of them outside. I'm still seeing females flit by the false nettles, like they're interested in laying more eggs.
    Anyway, it's good to see that they're not being parasitized by those darn things that leave the tiny little white cocoons with the dead caterpillars. 'Just hope things don't really get out of hand!

    Sherry

  • 12 years ago

    The Red Admirals at my daughter's house were nectaring, of all things, on the Holly bushes - gigantic hollies!

    There are lots around this year and what a gorgeous sight!

    I see from your Member Page that you're an organic gardener, and you'll find many of us on the BF are as well. We don't use pesticides because doing so would be contrary to the purpose of attracting, growing larval host plants, and raising butterflies for release.

    Glad you stopped and shared your photo and question! Please feel free to join in the fun here as well. This is a great, knowledgeable group here who love butterflies and creating an environment that is as safe and healthy as possible for them.

    Susan

  • 12 years ago

    Very happy to hear that the southern tier of US is seeing lots of butterfly activity!

    We are in a moderate drought here in the northeast, at a time of year that is normally rainy. Hopefully we'll get some rain soon but nothing in sight. I'm not sure what is a worse scenario for butterflies, lots of rain like the summer of 2009 (no Monarchs at all), or heading into the summer with drought conditions. :(

  • 12 years ago

    Terrene, I do hope things improve for you in Mass. What a lovely state! I remember lots of landscapes with the blowsy Hydrangeas in full bloom. I grow one and it's beautiful, but can't hold a candle to the ones in Mass. Gorgeous, lush gardens everywhere. I'm guessing you didn't have much snow this winter either? Sending good wishes your way!

    I keep seeing a ton of Red Admirals, so maybe they will make it up your way at least.

    Susan

  • 12 years ago

    The red admirals have been in Minnesota since the end of March. Last year I don't think I saw my first one until July. Terrene, we are in a moderate drought up here to, but they are claiming we are heading into a wetter pattern. Hopefully, the rain will spread east too! Tony

  • 12 years ago

    I'm in Southern Ontario and we are also seeing a huge explosion of Red Admirals - a full two months early. I had at least 2 to 3 dozen fluttering around my blooming Cherry tree today. It was an amazing site I grabbed my camera and headed straight for it. I got one pic with 4 RAs basking on the fence. Hard to get good pics since they flit around so quickly.

    Was also lucky enough to see a Question Mark - what a treat! Love butterfly season.

  • 12 years ago

    I have a native ninebark that's blooming and there were three Red Admirals on it today. That's a lot for me. I've been seeing them more often than normal this spring. Hope they're laying lots of eggs.

  • 12 years ago

    I'm having bunches of them too, and they won't leave the salvias alone in my yard. Yesterday I was running around the yard like a fool trying to get photos. They're fast, but I managed to sneak up on a few of them that were soaking up some sun.

    Deanna

  • 12 years ago

    They are all over the place here too (central Indiana), and have been for weeks. Its amazing!

  • 12 years ago

    I have dozens of them on my limestone driveway, and feeding on mustrds and dandelions. I've lived here 7 years, and this is the second time the red admirals have swarmed in, i'm just guessing the mild winter is a factor. Across the highway from me my neighbor's little commercial greenhouses are full of them, really charming.

  • 12 years ago

    Reading through, I see I am not the only one by far that is seeing an increase in Red Admiral activity this year!

    I've had several in my yard already this year - I've seen them on blossoms on the red tip photinia, cat mint, and just sitting on the fence basking in the sun. Prior to this, I had only ever seen one in my yard. The ladies are also making a huge presence.

    I have two bananas at home that I'm waiting to get yucky so I can put them out and feed them!

    ~Laura

  • 12 years ago

    I just released another red admiral - only five more (in the cage) to go!

    Sherry

  • 12 years ago

    Laura.......just need for the bananas to NOT get yucky, and they will! haha

  • 12 years ago

    I'm still seeing a lot of Red Admirals. They've been nectaring on my American Holly and Ninebark 'Summer Wine'. I also have Ninebark 'Diablo' but the blooms haven't opened up yet on that one. I saw a couple on one of my viburnum dentatums too. Summer Wine seems to be their favorite thing in my yard at the moment though.