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.
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.
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.