Attracting Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars

Monarch Caterpillar Attracting Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars

Gardening for butterflies is growing in popularity, and it’s a great way to add some interest and movement into your garden for three seasons per year.  Butterfly gardening takes you from the larvae stage to becoming a fully fledged butterfly, and the best way to ensure loads of butterflies visit your yard to to provide them with the food sources they need from stage one.  The advantage and disadvantage when attracting Monarchs for breeding is that they only lay eggs and feed on Milkweed varieties as larvae and caterpillars, so in order to really create a stand of milkweed you probably need to like the look of it. More good news is that Milkweed comes in several types and colors, so you may find one you like to incorporate into your butterfly garden, or to spread along the tree line in your backyard.  The flowers of the Milkweed family also attract a variety of other wildlife, and are highly fragrant, so these are great additions to any area near outdoor seating!

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Where To See Monarch Butterflies Migrating South

monarchs 199x300 Where To See Monarch Butterflies Migrating South

Monarch Butterflies are once again working their way down the East and West Coasts and across the central United States on their journey to their wintering grounds in Mexico.  Maryland, where I live, is just beginning to see relatively large numbers. The coastline towns and beaches are already seeing daily numbers in the thousands as the northern butterflies work their way down from New England. Monarchs choose to follow the beaches southward so they can refuel on the minerals found in sandy areas.

For Marylanders, a late season visit to the beaches, particularly Chincoteague and Assateague Islands, will provide you with an excellent chance for some one-of-a-kind photography experiences.  Researchers there that study these amazing insects count the buterflies by remaining in one spot for several hours, and estimating the full numbers of butterflies based on their stationary sightings. To count the numbers, and monitor the lifespan of the Monarchs, the insects are also gently caught, and tagged with lightweight stickers, to be followed up on by researchers in Mexico, and back in the USA once the insects return northward in the spring.

This year Monarchs are loading trees and sand dunes in numbers researchers reported in Assateague as high as 620 new Monarchs moving past stationary positions every hour.

To see where the peak numbers of butterflies are across the nation, check out this interactive migratory map of the United States. Citizen volunteers, and scientists alike update the site daily, and provide weekly map updates on all migrations in spring, summer and fall.

Photo Courtesy of: mikebaird