Monarchs and Milkweed

Edinboro, PA(Zone 5a)

Have milkweed just ready to open pods, but wondering what do Monarchs "do" with mikweed? I've looked for chrysalis, caterpillers, chewing, or other monarchs hanging around, but see nothing......can you tell me what I'm looking for?

Saw some small butterflies near the milweed with similar monarch coloring but smaller...could they be young?

Just wondering if I'm doing something wrong.......thanks

Colima, Mexico(Zone 11)

hello kant...let me see, first you may see some Monarchs flying around. If there is a female with eggs, she will deposit the eggs on the Milkweed, generally a single egg (as opposed to clusters) on the under side of a leaf. They will sometimes also deposit eggs on seed pods and flowers. You will want to look for eggs in the places i mentioned. Then you may notice chewed leaves from the little caterpillars and frass (poop...round and black, size depending on the size of the caterpillar). The caterpillars will eat the leaves, the butterflies may take nectar from the flowers. Butterflies emerge from chrysalises fully grown (albeit crumpled up for awhile). You might try looking at the underside of some leaves for eggs...the eggs are white. Possibly the Monarchs just haven't found your milkweed yet. If you have milkweed that as been grown without insecticides or pesticides or whatever other "cides", you are doing everything right. Eventually the Monarchs will find your plants and make good use of them and you will be very much aware of their presence. Occasionally the pupating caterpillars will make a chrysalis or two on a Milkweed, but more frequently when they start to pupate the caterpillars will leave the Milkweed plant and find some other place to pupate and make their chrysalis. You can find chrysalises just about anywhere. Is this your first year? Great good luck and enjoy,

Edinboro, PA(Zone 5a)

Wow, thanks for all the great info....you must be a teacher or something......my milkweed is only about 2 years old and I only have about 10 stalks.....so you could be right that they just haven't found me yet......

But today, I will search under all leaves and see what I can find......I'll let you know if I come across anything......

What do you think about the smallish, monarch coloring, butterflies I've been seeing lately? They look like they could be a true monarch if they were larger......kinda like their colors need to stretch out to look like a monarch.....


Thanks again ever so and thanks for the good luck........

Colima, Mexico(Zone 11)

hi kant...you are very welcome! the monarchs shouldn't have any trouble finding 10 milkweed plants. you are certain it is milkweed, right?

it may be that this year there will be few monarchs in your area. there are people in illinois who generally have monarchs at this time but are reporting few to none so far this year.

is it possible for you to send a photo of the smaller, monarch-looking butterfly you are seeing? i'm not sure by your description what those would be in your area but with a photo of the wing pattern we should be able to identify it. if they are hanging around the milkweed, they are probably taking nectar from the flowers. all kinds of different butterflies are attracted to the nectar rich milkweed flowers ...only the monarchs lay eggs on the plants.

Colima, Mexico(Zone 11)

hello kant...i don't know if you look at the "daily butterfly photos" thread, but this link was posted and will explain possibly why you have not had Monarchs on your milkweed. keep growing it though to help them make a comeback:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/science/why-monarc...

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Could they be painted ladies? , although Queens and Viceroy look nearer ...

Edinboro, PA(Zone 5a)

I checked my milkweed yesterday, don't see any eggs or chewing or caterpillars....but I'll never give up!

My milkweed is the usual "side of the road" kind that has the pods with all of the fuzzy stuff inside......when the pods open I'll put more down by my creek and our field of pine/spruce trees to help the cause.

Is there a site on dg that shows butterfly photos? the link I was given was "forbidden" by my computer......

thanks so much for taking in interest in my thread

yesterday I did see a hummingbird perch on my flowers......I just love that cuz I know they don't do that very often.......I love my garden!!!!!!!

Colima, Mexico(Zone 11)

Good for you kant. I love your "never give up" resolve...just plant more and more! One of these days, you will receive a magnificent reward.

If you have access to this forum, you have access to the Daily pictures thread. A person can learn a lot there. I'll give you the link that will take you to it.

I love my garden too...even when it is a mess...but i always feel a welling up of love when i am there and always there are surprises. Yesterday I found the parsley i am growing for some Swallowtails covered with lady beetles, lady beetle eggs, and lady beetle larva...they are taking good care of the parsley while it waits for some butterflies. :-D Link coming up next.

Colima, Mexico(Zone 11)

this should take you to the daily pictures thread:

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1324957/

Whiteside County, IL(Zone 5a)

Here are some old pictures of cats. I rarely see the first instars (first two pictures) unless I know exactly where the eggs are. the best thing is to see a monarch ovipositing.

smaller orange and black butterflies could be a number of species. And since milkweed is a good nectar source, you'll see them around the flowers. Viceroy is the butterfly that looks most like a monarch and it is smaller. but there are also some fritillaries that are orange and black. Just happy to hear you are seeing some butterflies!

Thumbnail by Mrs_Ed Thumbnail by Mrs_Ed Thumbnail by Mrs_Ed Thumbnail by Mrs_Ed

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