Most were raised from eggs but a few cats I brought in when small. The real record-breakers are the monarch butterflies that migrate south. Adam Skowronski (Wiki Commons) Amazing Facts About the Monarch Butterfly Get More info in this facebook group: Hi Tony, Got a caterpillar getting ready to pupate. These butterflies may travel over 3,000 miles (4,831 km). Back in the northern US, monarchs also form nightly roosts as they make their way down to Mexico. Learn About and Attract Butterflies to Your Home. In one of the world’s astounding natural events each fall, tens of millions of monarch butterflies migrate up to 3,000 miles from the northeastern United States and Canada down to their wintering grounds in Mexico's Central Highlands to escape the frosts of winter. I gather eggs from my plants (or elsewhere if I spot them) but gather milkweed for feeding from other sources. The uppersides of the wings are tawny orange, the veins and margins are black, and there are two series of small white spots in the margins. The most mind boggling thing about this migration pattern is that the new breed of monarchs, by instinct alone are able to pass to the same mountaintops that their ancestors passed on the way. Please tell me what you think I should plant. I have roughly 30 chrysalises in containers on my screened porch (I live in the butterfly capital of the world supposedly – south Florida), and another 40 or so caterpillars in various stages on my milkweed plants. Hi Bonnie, here’s info about: Removing and Rehanging Chrysalides. Monarch Migration In Danger July 3, 2008 by admin The Commission for Environmental Cooperation, based in Montreal, is issuing warnings to Mexico, Canada and the United States about the dangers facing the annual Monarch butterfly migration. Maybe this can help you in the future. It’s amazing the same ones heading south now will be returning in spring. The butterflies use these molecules along with information from the sun’s position to find their way and migrate to different places. They might have limited nectar sources depending on the weather, but night time temps are cold and can even dip below freezing. So my sister and l went scouting. Hi Baldry, you are in a region that can potentially host monarchs year-round, so your eggs should be viable. Monarch forewings also have a few orange spots near their tips. One plant is about 20 inches tall and has about 20 leaves, the other is about half that size (and the two caterpillars are about the same size- each about 25 MM.). The journey going north begins in Central Mexico in their winter habitat which is situated on only 12 mountain tops in the planet. I’m worried I’m going to run out of milkweed! Check out this post: Otherwise, it probably won’t survive indoors until spring…. Congratulations on your successful season! The duration of the migration is normally exceeds the lifespan of the monarchs thus along the way a number would perish but somehow it is maintained by continued production of eggs. Make sure you let the milkweed warm up to room temperature and dry before you feed it to your caterpillars. Approximately the migration is said to cover 2000 miles. I thank you for you advice and your time. I also didn’t know that most of the males don’t make it back, but we always knew women are stronger when it comes to endurance. The whole migration process takes up three generations of monarchs to complete. There are plenty of good weather windows left for release. (Eastern shore Delaware – early September 2018), Hi Sue, I wouldn’t worry about this…raisers go these unusual and unexplained streaks (with male and female monarchs)…there will be plenty of both when they make it down to Mexico. I have six caterpillars in various stages, and 2 new chrysalis just formed. I had around 20 caterpillars on my milkweed around the end of August, then three more in September. HELLO TONY; I AM NEW TO RAISING BUTTERFLIES. What kind of space do I need if I want to put in a flower garden to make sure I get some Monarchs around my house and not have to travel the back roads to find some. I have another question. 2) The leaves in the forests of Mexico are good for the caterpillars, they can feed of the Oyamel trees while the adults overwinter. Is this possible? Hi Sam, lots of place to check: 50 Places to look for a Chrysalis. I feel really bad so any information would be greatly appreciated. You have to clean their containers everyday and they eat a lot. I have tears in my eyes David! We go about two to three times a week and fill two 5 gal buckets with fresh cuttings. Hello> Thank you in advance. Out of the 6 we raised this year 5 were females and only one was a male. They then change to flapping if they’re in sinking air, strong turbulence or there’s a predator bird or two around.. Great little critters! Coastal California also has overwintering roost sites in the thousands. From points west of the Rocky Mountains, they hibernate in southern California, in eucalyptus trees. We inspect for bugs, eggs and cats, wash and cut slashes in bottom stems. The best in a few years. Enjoy monarch season in Australia! I collected about 55 eggs and most are chrysalis now. I live close to the West coast of Florida, a few miles north of Tampa. In North America, they migrate in large numbers southward from Canada to Mexico. I live in Dallas, Texas and I just watched a Monarch lay about 30 eggs on these two seeding plants ( 9-19 ). I saw many more eggs and instars this year than the past two. The monarch migration begins in mid-August, when monarch butterflies living in Canada and the United States begin to migrate south to the southern United States and Mexico, where the species overwinters. Hi Louise, when you bring in milkweed to feed caterpillars remove any other eggs or insects that you find and rinse the leaves thoroughly…good luck! Monarch butterfly migration is the phenomenon, mainly across North America, where the subspecies Danaus plexippus plexippus migrates each summer and autumn to and from overwintering sites on the West Coast of California or mountainous sites in Central Mexico. They are a lot tougher than the newbies. But, I think it’s amazing people are interested in helping them! This will help keep it fresh, although if it has already started to turn yellow, it might turn a bit more in the fridge. Researchers are working to determine the causes of this decline; some theories include: 1. A large, bright-orange butterfly whose migratory North American populations travel distances of up to 3,000 miles. Everyone can help to track the monarchs on their journey and also follow their flight. I HAD FIVE CATAPILLARS ON MY MILKWEED PLANT ,BUT ALSO HAD ORANGE FUZZY EGGS ON THE PLANT. In fact, tagged monarch butterflies have been found to travel more than 250 miles in one day. Thanks. To Audrey Nordstrom, I have never heard it put more perfectly! Where do my Monarchs go? I don’t know much about the monarch butterfly, but I have had one hanging around on my lantana plant the past couple of weeks. The Monarch Butterfly, on the other hand, flaps its wings around 5 to 12 times a second. Hi Michele, it depends on whether they have went into sexual diapause or not (which is brought on by shorter nights and cooler days when they are caterpillars). I have been doubly blessed this year to raise Monarchs from the generation returning to Texas last spring, and now raising them as fourth generation butterflies to send on their way to Mexico. The monarch butterfly migration is said to be one of nature’s most ostensible paragon of adaptation and survival. They ride these thermal waves all the way to Mexico. My success rate for all those I have raised is 97% with which I am quite pleased. The trees are literally covered in a blanket of monarchs. It was a bittersweet thing to hear though because it hasn’t been the case in well over ten years. I always say to friends, “how did God know how to do this?” I mean really — the whole transformation is more than amazing. I noticed yesterday that it had really slowed down. If you don’t see any over the summer months, your chances should increase during the fall migration. Thank you so much for your invaluable website. This annual migration starts in north east United States and Canada and finishes in southwest Mexico. My world goes quiet as I watch them fly. Will Monarchs be laying eggs in June or will it be on their way back in August? Hi Eric, that’s a tough question to answer. The little Monarchs use all of the same techniques and patterns to soar.. Some luck is involved in enticing mass monarchs through your garden gates, but by planting flowers like Mist flowers, Liatris ligulistylis, and the Mexican sunflowers in the following butterfly video, living this dream is a distinct possibility…. Monarchs Have a Great Sense of Direction I have tagged over 100 monarchs this year. Hi Jane, south Florida has a year-round monarch population so no migration to Mexico is necessary. Hopefully she will be ok…I would not worry about nectar source. How often does it occur? Your your comment about “Massive Migration Monarchs with of most of the migrators having wingspans over 4″…no doubt they’ll need the super-sized wings for the long journey ahead… ” I had never seen a petite migrating generation monarch before last Tuesday and I wondered if you have ever come across one? You don’t mention whether she was injured from mowing down the grass? I’ve seen no monarchs yet, and actually very few other butterflies. Hi Tony, When I followed the Monarch Migration this year, the map showed the monarchs split and went either west through Missouri, or east, through Ohio. In the summer, adults live from 2 to 6 weeks in captivity, and probably about that long in the wild. By-the-way, I give each of them a name when I release them . We are in Central Florida and have over a dozen chrysalis ready to emerge this week. I fly hang gliders and have flown with eagles (literally).. I brought in 4 more eggs on milkweed today to raise indoors hopefully to release in Sept and early Oct. I’ve searched everywhere but most shops sell painted ladies only. If they are in diapause they will not be sexually mature adults until next season. I love seeing them, but am concerned they’re waiting too long to leave because it’s still so nice here, but the weather is going to get cold very quickly. This journey I am referring to is not a short journey which can last a quarter of a day but I am referring to monarch butterfly migration which can last from one season to another. So thankful He is letting me be a steward over some of His Monarchs! Just wondering. Peace and Love to the humans embracing the wing-ed beauties. Thanks, Tony, for any advice you can share. He put the milkweed in two vases on the porch shelves with the caterpillars on them. That’s equivalent to 4828 kilometres! Marilyn. I live in Southern Ontario and I’m still seeing tons of monarchs and it’s October 15! Make sure the caterpillars are inside on cold nights because cooler temps slow down metamorphosis…good luck! Don’t worry about the adults who have had a chance to sufficiently dry their wings and take in nectar over the past few days. . And might the Monarchs know the measure of their worth, the mystery and miracle their flight upon the Earth? I have already started planting and transplanting, and will continue to do so through about mid-October here in Minneapolis. Any one of those ideas would be great in the future but for the meantime what do you think about extending the viability of the existing milkweed (common milkweed) using the floral food packets that come with flower bouquets to extend the life of cut flowers… would it possibly keep the milkweed from yellowing as fast and maybe even provide extra nutrients to the plant for the caterpillars to benefit from OR could this possibly kill the caterpillars? I have found 10 diseased chrysalises and several dead cats, mostly attacked by shield bugs. Can one keep a late season monarch in the house until spring? If you are at the starting point, this post will help you get off to a good start: Hi, Have numerous Monarch chrysalids in the garage and all but two of them look normal. Tagging at the overwintering sites in California has shown that males live the same or slightly longer than the females; e.g. I am looking forward to watch the process all over again next year. We must have spiritual eyes in order to see everything and appreciate all God has created. You can put rubber bands/twist ties around them to keep them from bursting before you collect them or check out these seed collection bags on my gift page: Gifts for Gardeners-Bags for Milkweed Pods, Hi there! Q. Is it wise to get milkweed seeds from other states or other flowers that the butterfly’s would want to rest on and fill up before their long travels. Amen. Have you ever seen a tiny migration generation monarch before? There’s still a lot of unknowns about the great fall migration…it was estimated that the population was down 15% this year, but spring sightings have been way up from last year, so there may be other unknown destinations between the southern US and central Mexico where a % of the population migrates to…also, based on weather patterns ad other factors, this % probably changes from year to year. Good luck! Monarch and Viceroy butterflies utilize Müllerian mimicry in order to mutually co-mimic each other and warn predators of their toxicity. MThe main visual difference between the viceroy and monarch butterfly is the black line drawn across the viceroy's hind wings, which monarch butterflies do not have. I am hoping the weather holds for a while longer but it has really been cooling off at night so I bring them all inside and put them out again on sunny days. Hi Tony, Yesterday I found a Monarch on the stalk of tall grasses we had just cut down. What about other butterflies who haven’t left for Mexico yet? . Hi Tyler, use the best milkweed leaves you have left. Tony: We have a lot of milkweed throughout our grove/rows of evergreen trees. Tony, it’s supposed to get really cold here in the Twin Cities tonight and tomorrow night. Hi Jill, since you live in a continuous growing region you will want to cut back your milkweed plants so they don’t collect OE spores and spread disease to future monarchs. I’m also planning to band some milkweed pods to get the seeds later (when, exactly, should I open the pods to get the seeds?) Each year, about 4 generations of monarch butterflies occur. The monarch butterflies found on the East-coast of North America are unique. I released the first three today and have 19 more chrysalises. Migration of butterflies are much more complex than in … I thought the ones that I release now would head to mexico. My question is- where do they put their chrysalides? There should still be plenty in the region…. I have several questions for you. How in the world do they spend all of that time without eating and still have the energy needed to fly back to the US? I had one cat and I watched it everyday through its stages. Is there a cut off for when they will stop? Here is my question: Do I let these eggs hatch and go into the migration? Thank you! If daytime temps are above 65, hope they will be off to Mexico! It’s about 57° right now and there are monarchs fluttering around our garden (our last releases were 2 days ago before the temps took a plunge) Still plenty of time for the monarchs to make it out of the north. I think I’ll start them just a little earlier next year as I had a gap between blooming plants that was about 3 weeks. The migration takes place over four generations of butterflies. Is there a spot in south Florida where we can see them en mass? A monarch butterfly can migrate up to 3,000 miles away. It depends on weather…. I don’t know if these butterflies could be some of my home grown ones, or if they’re migratory. Here’s more info: I recently started “raising” butterflies and what started as just a few is now becoming an expensive hobby. I’m in Florida and had a great spring of following 9 out of 12 caterpillars that I found on my milk weed through to the butterfly stage. Here in Minnesota, we had mating monarchs up through last week. My joy after all the devastation here in Houston. Monarch Butterflies Glide in Upper Air Masses called Thermals to Conserve Energy. I have 15 butterflies to release today but I hesitate because I don’t want them killing each other! The main butterflies are Monarchs. Migrating monarch butterflies can travel thousands of miles! This one was formed in our Minnesota garden: However, there is not always safety in numbers, as the following article and video reveals one of the greatest threat to the monarch migration and other endangered wildlife…us. Hi Jean, Monarchs can lay upward of 400 eggs, but I’m not sure you would actually recognize the female if she came back. the record for the longest lived overwintered female is mid-May and the longest lived overwintered male the first week in June. Hi Gail, the migration map is just the sightings people reported to Journey north, so I’m sure there were some butterflies that migrated through Kentucky. They declared that the insects are protected and that a ban on illegal logging is imposed. About the monarch butterfly The monarch butterfly is one of the most recognizable and well studied butterflies on the planet. The monarch is the only butterfly known to make a two-way migration as birds do. Hi Mindy, in the event of a weather EXTREME (which this definitely qualifies) I would keep them until the storm passes. I now just have to find enough milkweed to feed them. Hi Gerrie, they can always be smaller. Four years ago (2011) I collected 42 Caterpillars just looking on the back roads. It is an increase from the nine that I released last year. There have been many theories about the origins of the name of this species. Adults that have mated could hang around longer, but all will eventually head further south even if they don’t make it to Mexico. Have released 16 so far and have about another dozen or so to release. Hi Tony, Thank you for all you do to educate people and share your vast knowledge about the Amazing Monarch! Those monarchs will most certainly be depositing eggs as they fly south. Hi Lana, favored nectar flowers can get monarchs to stay for awhile, but how long they stay is also dependent on the weather patterns…when the winds blow from the north they’re on the move…. When will it be safe for him to mow? While you are undoubtedly familiar with the monarchs’ fall migration, here are 10 interesting monarch migration facts you might not know: There is reason to be concerned about the future of the monarch migration as we know it. The miracle of seeing the hand of God everywhere and to watch His handiwork unfold before my eyes. I assume the earlier ones continue flying farther north for another generation, and the later ones head south without breeding? Q. Thus, about four generations of monarchs occur annually. The third year ( 2012) I only found 15 Caterpillars and the second year (2013) I was very sick and couldn’t go out to look for them. Amazingly, the Monarch is the only two-way migratory butterfly in existence. THANKS LOUISE. We live in upstate NY and temperatures are supposed to drop to freezing tonight. I am planning to grow several other native milkweed varieties and will observe for longevity of the plants and monarch preferences After a dismal 2016 with a successful rearing of the only 6 eggs I could find, I will be releasing monarchs #14 &15 of 32. the weather for southeastern Wisconsin was predicted to be nasty so I held her overnight in a baby cube and released her the following morning. However, the subspecies known as Danaus plexippus plexippus is the only one that performs the great North American migration—and these butterflies are increasingly under threat. All the migration information I’ve come across is based on North American monarchs. Hi Janet, monarchs normally have a life span of a few weeks. And if the Monarchs know their cycles move from start-to-end and cycle after cycle, moving end-to-start again, might they know God, and God know as they float across the glen His Monarchs share the beauty of His love and grace. It is Sept 14 2016. I live in Port Charlotte, FL and have a beautiful garden three year old butterfly garden. I live in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia and have seen and helped lots of Monarchs over the past few years. Based on sighting reports after the monarchs’ departure each season, these winter numbers have (at times) seemed wildly inaccurate, which has led me to consider these follow-up questions: Was the population concentrated in an area that wasn’t covered during the snap-shot count? We have places for them to roost as you have explained in todays article. See how these predators are a danger to monarchs in two ways: These mature ladies will be seeking fresh milkweed in the southern US to start a new season filled with the magic of monarchs. I have plenty of milkweed and eggs laid, but was not seeing any caterpillars survive outdoors. to about .75 grams (a very big monarch!) Usually the bigger ones are the males. Monarch butterflies usually live 2-6 weeks long. Once they leave their wintering grounds, there will be more nectar sources at lower elevations. Thank you! When I release my butterflies, the males sometimes immediately hook up with another male in the air as though they are fighting, I’m not sure what is going on. This year I started new plants after I had seen the plants in our field grow to about 12″ high. They fly at speeds ranging between 15-25 mph…one tagged butterfly was recently reported on Journey North to have traveled 265 miles in one day. (7 acres), Estimates be [email protected]*#ned! We are also in Minnesota. Congrats on your eggs! Am I doing something wrong? I have also noticed that well cared for syriaca is staying fresher growing in an area protected from the heat of the intense afternoon sun. This insures I have plenty of leaves for food even when the leaves on my plants are starting to fade. I even planted more milkweed Cheers. This depends on when they live (summer or winter). It’s a myth that “most of the males don’t make it back”. It is Oct. 29 so obviously it doesn’t stand a chance of migration. A female monarch butterfly can lay as much as 1,000 eggs in her lifetime. And how do Monarchs know from the moment of their birth the destiny of their short lives their gift of joy and mirth to generations of us all from snap of spring to faded fall how do the Monarchs know? Here’s more info for you: 7 Common Monarch Diseases, Parasites, and How to Prevent Them, I have a question for you…I have had several chrysalis that have gotten to the “clear” stage, where I can see the wings, but it doesn’t come out. PS…you can probably get eggs through November. Where do the central Florida butterflies migrate to? Anything else I can do to attract a few hungry monarchs to stay at my Butterfly B&B before they move on? Length of migration: 3,000 miles. Also, is there a safe way to tag Monarchs? are our brothers and our sisters as we share the same Father, God, who created everyone and everything. To the west of Chicago, in the prairies of Iowa, Monarch butterfly caterpillars are eating their fill of the leaves of the milkweed. I’ve already have 4 small caterpillars but they don’t seem to be eating like my other ones. As for the pods, they will start to open on their own…you don’t want to open them prematurely or the seeds won’t be viable. This culminates in the roost to end all roosts at their Mexican wintering grounds where they number in the millions. 6. Yes Sharen, the long journey the migrators take (there and back) is simply amazing. These amber beauties could fly circles around other species. Interesting Facts. Next year will be so much better! Millions of overwintering monarchs were discovered roosting there for the first time in 1975. But those butterflies who are born before the journey south are able to live for seven months. I am in SE Michigan and as you know, the weather has been cooling signicantly these past two weeks. The many other plants in the garden are keeping many of them well fed. Good luck with your chrysalides! Unlike other butterflies that can overwinter as larvae, pupae, or even as adults in some species, monarchs cannot survive the cold winters of northern climates. Hi Lisa, I think you are probably talking about common milkweed? The Monarch butterfly is a species of butterfly with a 3 to 4 inch of wingspan and a trademark color of orange and black. In this short span of time they have to be able to produce the next generation of monarchs. He went out to the garden and gathered together some clean milkweed and about 10 large caterpillars, all that he could find left. Mating season for these butterflies happens prior to their migration. The Monarch Butterfly migration map is pretty simple. Will these three be part of the migratory generation, or will there be one more? My milkweed leaves in my garden is starting to turn purple and a few yellow. You can send chrysalides to a couple people that have USDA licenses in Texas, and they will release the butterfly there. Every autumn, these butterflies migrate (move) from Canada to Mexico covering a spectacular distance of 4,500km (2,800 miles). Samuel H. Scudder published the term Monarch in 1874. The only flowering plants left in the garden is Autumn Joy and I doubt it now has nectar. My question is whether or not l might take it to a butterfly atrium? When they are active, Monarchs like plenty of space. Monarchs typically lay eggs on the bottom of milkweed leaves, but will also lay them in the flower buds, on stalks, and even milkweed pods. My question is: Will the next generations follow their predecessors and avoid Kentucky on the return to Mexico? The ones that migrate live longer, from August or September to about April (although a … She stayed all day and is still there this afternoon and has moved only a few inches on the stalk. Hi Susan, I’m not sure where you’re located but in many regions you should still have a good chance to release before it gets too cold. I live in Southern Illinois. I am not sure if you already know about this sight, learner.org, but they have a page that I thought your readers and you might like. We also fould a large lot with electric supply that was sectioned off. I love it. Of the approximately 150,000 known species of butterflies around 2,000 species are migratory, and the most famous among them is certainly the monarch (Danaus plexippus), which is the habitat of southeastern Canada. The plants should come back next spring…. Any suggestions? ❤️, yes He is – from that tiny egg to caterpillar to butterfly – a marvel in creation . Thank you for creating this community and for your continued encouragement. Forecast has the storm hitting us just at the time many of these beauties are set to be released, end of this week. Hi Liz, monarchs remain in the warmth of Costa rica year round and don’t migrate. Will this be permanent, or is each year dependent on spring weather? For those left outside, their success rate is much lower. Hi Mary, check out the egg/caterpillar vendors on our resource list: How did it go? When is that change likely to occur here, and what triggers it — day length, sun angle, dropping temperatures, north wind…..? I’m still a “newbie” to this raising Monarchs and Tony’s website has helped me so much. Unfortunately, monarchs are not consistent with egg laying. 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