Purpose – Monarch Time/Protecting through TLC Part I

Teeny-tiny Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar on Milkweed

Sunday afternoon, I spotted five Monarch caterpillars on my milkweed plants. If I let nature take its course most will likely become victims of insect predators. The Monarch Butterfly Garden posted a list of bugs that dine on butterflies, their eggs, and caterpillars. A large portion of these insects are important pollinators too, essential to home gardens and crops. My small contribution towards a solution is to raise as many Monarch butterflies on my porch as possible.

Milkweed Leaves

An additional problem to solve is cannibalism. Yes, Monarch caterpillars are voracious and eat smaller caterpillars and eggs. A quick fix is to keep them well-fed and provide one whole leaf for each caterpillar at all times. I grew quite a bit of milkweed this year, I can keep the caterpillars supplied with plenty of food, and also make sure they are in containers with same-sized companions.

Monarch on Vitex Blossoms

Is it worth spending valuable time to boost the Monarch population by a few butterflies? Oh yes, the flash of glowing orange wings alighting on my garden flowers and plants fills me with joy. I want to do all I can to increase the numbers of these beautiful butterflies.

9 thoughts on “Purpose – Monarch Time/Protecting through TLC Part I

  1. Timeless Lady – I was visiting your site and saw some of your butterfly posts. I see you live in New Jersey, so you, like me, will soon see an exodus of butterflies to begin their migration. Already the hummingbirds are in migration mode. I see Anne Mehrling here – one of the first blogs I followed was Anne’s..

    Like

  2. Did you know we have Monarch Butterflies in Australia? They were introduced in the 1870s. And love them. Do you remember the story about the little boy who burnt down the haystack? (https://paolsoren.wordpress.com/2019/01/07/ida-may-stories-1-the-haystack/)
    And have you written stories for your grandchildren? Even if they are too young to read them it is better that you do write them anyway. Even if you are doing it for yourself.
    I spied your comment when I was trawling through some old posts from January 2019. It’s a bit like meeting someone from long ago. It’s early morning where you are. It’s nearly bedtime for this old man. I hope you are having a good day – I imagine that anyone who looks after butterfly caterpillars will have a good day even if things go wrong.
    Kindest regards,
    John.
    Ballarat.
    The other side of the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Habitat loss and insecticide use are the biggest contributors to Monarch decline. The best thing that we can do as individuals is to educate others through actions. Plant milkweed and be evangelical about it! I have a few caterpillars in a mesh enclosure right now. They will be released after they pupate and eclose. While this is an amazing experience, some scientific groups, like Xerces Society, warn against captive rearing. All in all, on a small scale, it protects these particular caterpillars, but does not help overall populations. My stance on captive rearing is ever evolving.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for the great comment. I agree. I would rather not raise them, and don’t raise many Monarchs at all. I think the toxic nature of them protects a bit. The Black Swallowtails are a different matter. Almost all the caterpillars disappear before they reach full size. They are easier to bring to the chrysalis stage. As far as societies go, I will check out the Xerces Society. I am going to include soon, a visual reason for why I check for Monarch Caterpillars in busy areas. Thanks again.

      Like

Thanks so much for your comments. They fill my life with sunshine.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s