This week we spoke with Anita Comacho. She’s a Little Red Wagon native She’s the owner of a nursery.
She is the President and Founder of the Tampa Bay Butterfly Foundation, Inc and the Tampa Bay Chapter of the North American Butterfly Society.
Anita Camacho, CPA is a lifelong Floridian from the Tampa Bay area. Her organization works together to protect butterflies, monitor populations, and restore/plant habitats. Educate the public to explain the importance of our ecosystem.
my takeaway from the show
Do not plant exotic milkweed. Asclepias curasavica When Calotropis gigantana It is not currently considered an invasive species in Florida. However, this assessment suggests a “caution” for South Florida growers to prevent escapes. However, they overstock his OE (Ophryocistis elektroscirrha is an obligate neogregarine protozoan parasite that infects monarch butterflies and queen butterflies). cardenolide, This can affect monarch butterflies in the caterpillar stage of their life cycle.
Do not kill milkweed aphids. Aphids protect the first and second instar monarch butterflies. It also serves as food for other insects and some birds. It doesn’t matter as it does very little damage to the plants.
Use of chemicals
Do not use chemicals. Anita discovered that after her mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when she was 50, she studied chemicals associated with gardening of the era and linked them to neurological disorders. Of course she stopped using them. In just 6 months, when she didn’t use chemicals on her roses, her bushes redeveloped their natural defense mechanisms to resist disease. In addition, planting “butterfly plants” will attract “pests” from the roses.
Many butterflies and moths overwinter on the ground. The pupae are brown and disappear into the landscape, so leave the leaf litter and be careful when trimming. We also have native wild bees, but most bees do not have stingers. And they are better pollinators!
The best tree to plant is oak. It is a keystone species supporting 600 animal species and 90 Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths).
Our butterflies (and other insects)
Ecological “clear weather”. The more you look, the better we are doing.
Do not keep butterflies at home.Insects lay many eggs in nature to make up for their losses (which are eaten by other creatures), we are not professionally trained, so we are perpetuating diseased and weakened species.
If you want to do a couple for fun… that’s fine, but “saving” all the caterpillars is killing them.
Don’t forget to plant lots of nectar plants…. Not just host plants. (There are many varieties and petal sizes.) And keep in mind that milkweed is just the host plant for monarch butterflies, queen butterflies, and soldier butterflies. They each have different host plants.
Passion vines host bay thrush, zebra longwing, and julia.
Zebra Swallowtail butterflies need paw paws and thorn trees. Eastern Black Swallowtails need parsley, dill, or fennel.
In fact, pawpaw trees shed their leaves in winter (zebra swallowtails die in winter) and moth larvae feed on the old growth of the new pawpaws.
Zebra swallowtails eat only freshly grown ones, so females lay their eggs there. And chafers are plant pollinators.
So everything is needed to complete the circle of life.
So research a lot of host plants in your area.
Kenny tells us that at different times of the year, long-winged tiger swallowtails and zebras congregate in trees to sleep together at dusk.
I learned again that a group of butterflies is called a kaleidoscope. So encourage movement and color with more insects in your garden!
Don’t miss the next sustainable living show next Monday morning at 11am. Michelle James Hydroponic Tomato grower and big gardening enthusiast.
Children’s Camps, Butterfly Hiking
Grow perennial foods in your garden
January 15, 2023 1-3pm Sweetwater Organic Farm
Kenny Coogan speaking request:
Plant City Garden Club
Monday the 9th, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Temple Terrace Garden Club
Wednesday 11th, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
new world brewery
Wednesday 11th, 6:30 pm (3 speakers)
Listen to Monday’s program on demand!
****Continued monthly maintenance of the yard to provide much-needed habitat for pollinators while providing significant benefits to residents. An amazing group of volunteers has completed ongoing projects at the Florida Aquarium at the Conservation Center, the Tampa Housing Authority at Encore Technology Park, Fred Ball Park, and the Foundation’s own Butterfly Alley Native Plant Demonstration Garden.
*** Provide scholarships for underserved school children’s camps and make TBBF educational camps accessible to all learners. Our Nature Camp was voted “Best in Florida” this year by Guide to Florida.com.
Visit the Little Red Wagon Native Nursery to learn how to start your own butterfly garden.
Follow Little Red Wagon Native Nursery and the Tampa Bay Butterfly Foundation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
@Butterfly_Tampa on Instagram
@Butterfly_Tampa on Twitter
If you’re looking for someone to save the world, look in the mirror!