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Projected Good News About Monarchs

8-11-17 monarch2 049A2371Sightings of Monarchs have been far more numerous this summer than in the recent past, and there is reason to celebrate. The Monarch population that will be migrating to Mexico in a month or so is projected to be higher than it’s been since 2012. This optimistic forecast by Monarch Watch (  is based on several factors: higher numbers of overwintering Monarchs in Mexico last winter, relatively good migrating conditions throughout their flight north this past spring, and summer temperatures and rainfall conducive to survival. Both migrating and well as overwintering numbers are projected to be significantly greater than in recent years. Those of you with children may have the best opportunity in years to raise a Monarch caterpillar and have your children witness the miracle of Monarch metamorphosis!

16 responses

  1. I’ve stumbled across a few caterpillars (other species) in the past in the garden and elsewhere but have looked in vain for Monarch caterpillars. I do look in fields of milkweed.

    Please give us some guidance. What time of year; what time of day; etc is best?

    August 11, 2017 at 8:08 am

    • I have found August to be the prime time for finding monarch caterpillars. Time of day doesn’t seem to matter. More often than not I find them on young milkweed plants – leaves more tender? But the two I’ve found this month have been on mature plants, so there’s no fast and hard rule. Good luck! (If you find one caterpillar in a patch of milkweed, it’s likely there are more, as the adults often lay many eggs in a given location.) Eggs are found on the under side of often the topmost leaves of a plant – roughly the size of a grain of rice and pale yellow, shaped a bit like a football with ridges.

      August 11, 2017 at 8:27 am

  2. I just, this morning, saw two in Canaan, NH!

    August 11, 2017 at 8:17 am

  3. Alice Pratt

    For years we’ve had Milkweeds…this year over 100 plants…yes, have seen Monarchs, no nibbled leaves. Saw 2 Monarchs at once, yesterday, my daughter, a few miles away, also saw one. She’s been following Black Swallow Tail egg laying on their Fennel, one lone caterpillar started making a chrysalis, yesterday.

    August 11, 2017 at 8:21 am

  4. I am glad to hear it, although I have not even seen one this year, and last year I saw a few. I did see a cecropia moth caterpillar this morning. Let me know if you’re interested in the picture! It;s on facebook and I can send it to you also.

    August 11, 2017 at 8:50 am

  5. Val

    Thanks for the monarch update, Mary, and I surely hope Monarch Watch is right on target.
    I’ve been raising monarchs from eggs I find on milkweed leaves in the backyard for something like 15 years, and this year looked dismal, until about mid-July in my area.
    But I’d heard from many others in other regions that things looked good, so fingers crossed.

    August 11, 2017 at 9:01 am

  6. Karen

    After at least two years of not seeing any monarchs in my yard in Wellesley, MA, I have seen about 10 and some of them were laying eggs.

    August 11, 2017 at 9:08 am

  7. Wonderful! I’ve had over two dozen monarch sightings during each of the last two summers, with this summer including a caterpillar sighting. After several years of seeing no monarchs at all, it’s given me so much hope, though I’ve wondered if others were seeing the same uptick.

    August 11, 2017 at 10:44 am

  8. This is such good news! After TWO years with NOT ONE monarch, this year I have three in my milkweed patch. So happy to read that this is as happy a sighting as I had hoped.

    August 11, 2017 at 11:05 am

  9. Eileen deCamp

    Beautiful photo! We planted lots of milkweed several years ago and are always rewarded with visiting Monarchs. This year I brought in 3 caterpillars and raised them inside a net cage and had a display at the local county fair. The children were amazed and I was so excited to see the whole metamorphosis! I released them after the fair into my garden and they went immediately to the Mexican Sunflowers! They are so beautiful!

    August 11, 2017 at 11:37 am

  10. Cindy Trahan-Liptak

    Very timely post -Saw my first one in the yard this morning working on a snapdragon!

    August 11, 2017 at 12:32 pm

  11. Jim Tucker

    Wonderful news about the Monarchs! We have celebrated that miracle for three generations now! Jim Tucker in Vermont

    August 11, 2017 at 12:52 pm

  12. I have been seeing more this summer and thought something was up because I only saw two all last summer,good news! The grand kids have a little caterpillar growing like a weed right now! Thanks for the wonderful news. If you get the VT F&W calendar 2018 from VT Life it has Larrys photo in it!

    August 11, 2017 at 2:03 pm

  13. Mary Sterling

    Is the flower shown in the photo milkweed or joe pie weed?

    August 11, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    • Joe Pye Weed! While the larvae only eat milkweed, adult monarchs drink nectar from a wide variety of flowers.

      August 12, 2017 at 10:29 am

  14. Gordon Clark

    Here in central Vermont I have seen more monarchs that I have in several years. The last couple of years I didn’t see any at all. I have a big patch of milkweed in my yard, so this is a good place for them.
    I am very happy to see them, was worried they were going extinct.

    August 22, 2017 at 5:09 pm

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