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Grow a Monarch Butterfly.
Please.

I saw my first Monarch butterfly of the year 2 weeks ago.  One lone Monarch butterfly.

For the past 10 years or so I’ve been raising Monarch butterflies for fun.  WHO knows fun?   This girl!  The one with the calloused feet and pet butterflies.

It takes almost no effort to raise a butterfly from egg to winged  creature and the process is astonishing to watch.  If you like watching seeds sprout, wait’ll you see a butterfly do the same thing.

Which brings me back to my first point.  Only one butterfly this year.  Normally I see a few by this time of year and if you think back to when you were a kid there were Monarch butterflies everywhere.  We were filthy with butterflies as kids.  But things have changed. And they’ve changed drastically over the past 365 days.

It isn’t surprising that I’ve only seen one butterfly this year because in the past year alone …

The Monarch Butterfly Population has dropped by 90%.

When you consider the fact that only 1-3% of butterflies make it to adulthood in the wild … that’s very few butterflies.  In fact, as of this year …

The Monarch Butterfly is close to being declared an endangered species.

The Monarch Butterfly!

So how did this happen?  Well, mostly it’s because their habitat and their food supply has been demolished.  Monarchs live, feed and grow on milkweed.  Builders put up subdivisions, malls and theatres in areas that were formerly fields.  Fields filled with milkweed.  Farmers mow down any milkweed around or on their properties to make way for wheat or other crops. Sometimes they mow the milkweed down just to keep it under control so it doesn’t run into their cultivated fields.  This past year also saw severe weather during the Monarch migration and a huge loss of habitat once they got to Mexico because of illegal logging in the forests.

So this past year was a perfect storm of poor conditions for the Monarch.

I didn’t raise Monarchs last year because quite frankly most of my time was filled up with a minor nervous breakdown and coming up with imaginary revenge plots.  And I wasn’t going to do it this year just because I’ve done it so many times and I’m really busy living a happy live and coming up with imaginary revenge plots.

But when I saw that lone Monarch butterfly, I ran to the milkweed plants around my house (I leave them to grow specifically  for the Monarch butterflies) and searched them for eggs.  I only found 3 Monarch eggs, but I brought all 3 inside to save.  One is staying with me, one is going to my sister Pink Tool Belt and one is going to her friend Wendy.

If you’d like to give raising a Monarch butterfly a shot (and I really think everyone should do it at least once in their lives) here is the 4 part tutorial I wrote 4 years ago on how to do it.  It takes about a month in total and all you need is milkweed for food, a monarch egg or caterpillar (which you find on milkweed) and a glass container so you can see everything that’s going on.  And believe me when I tell you, you will NEVER see a more fascinating transformation.  The metamorphosis of a Monarch Butterfly from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly makes a Stephen King novel look about as weird as The Bobbsey Twins.  How’s that for a current reference?

 

title

 

 

 

 Part I

How-to-raise-a-monarch

 

 

 

Part II

milkweed

 

Part III

 

out-of-egg

 

 

 

Part IV

chrysalis

 

 

Part V

 

 

 

out-of-chrysalis2

 

 

Not the best photographs I’ve ever taken but it was 4 years ago.  I didn’t know how to use Photoshop then.  Or a camera.  Or even Instagram now that I think about it.  How embarrassing.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to raise a Monarch Butterfly take a look at the tutorials  and give it a shot.  (Just click on the picture or text)

 

DSC_13781-614x408

 

That picture above shows me and one of the butterflies I raised a couple of years ago.  After taking care of it for a month and watching it go from egg to winged creature, I walked outside, and held out my hand where it tentatively flapped its wings then fluttered to a lush and inviting tree overhead.

Then it was eaten by a bat.

Just kidding.

Help save the butterfly population.  Because if you don’t do it, who will?   Also I don’t know what to chase anymore.  Trains seem much more dangero ..

 


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83 Comments | Filed Under: Everything Else |

83 Responses to Grow a Monarch Butterfly.
Please.

  1. Amber says:

    Thank you thank you thank you. I was considering writing to you about this, because here in Vermont where the state mascot is the Monarch, I haven’t seen a single one this year. Not one. My milkweed isn’t eaten, there are no caterpillars. None. They are gone.
    Please look into the Free Milkweed program in the eastern US, Livemonarch.com and try to support our beautiful butterflies.
    I’m growing milkweed everywhere and if it isn’t too late will order some eggs.
    Thank you thank you thank you

  2. Larraine says:

    Oh, Karen — living well is the best revenge! But plots are fun too.

  3. Kat says:

    I want to do this but there is no milkweed here in Alberta. I miss the Monarchs from Ontario. I have been listening to David Suzuki’s program in Toronto to bring back the monarch but no one seems to know anything about it out here in Alberta??? I went to a butterfly house here and they had a few monarchs and when I asked if they had milkweed she just shrugged and said they feed theirs fruit and sugar water. They are not completely extinct so they should be able to be brought back. It is so sad when you think about our own destructive things we do. I love monarchs and even dressed up as one for Halloween and won $50.00 in an online costume contest.

  4. Stephbo says:

    When I was in elementary school (I think 5th grade), my teacher brought in monarch caterpillars for us to raise. We were all so excited watching the process and waiting for the butterflies to emerge. Now that I think of it, it probably wasn’t the smartest move on her part because we were waaaaaaay to distracted to pay attention to anything else. Anyway. Ahem. Over 30+ years later, I still remember watching them emerge from the chrysalis and walking outside as a class to set them free. Thanks for such a detailed explanation of the process.

  5. WOW! Beautiful photography and videos! A spectacular presentation of how fragile the balance between life and death can be. We have a vacation rental home on the beach in Costa Rica, and the leatherback turtles who have nested on the beach for millions of years, (surviving the ice age and whatever killed the dinosaurs) are now arriving to nest in diminishing numbers every year. Just like the butterflies. Makes me sad and angry too. Thank you for helping the butterflies! You should come to Costa Rica and help save the sea turtles!

    By the way…Did you ever try to revive a hydrangea with alum? I did it just the other day and it worked miraculously, in less than an hour.

  6. Debbie says:

    You are quite simply amazing! I love butterflies and I’d give the world to do this. I’m moving to a new home with a beautiful back yard and gardens. What if I can’t find an egg? Is there any way of buying them that you might know of?
    Your friend in butterflying,

    Debbie

    • Amber says:

      Debbie, if you are in the eastern US you can get them at livemonarch.com, and milkweed too. If you are not they should have resources for you. including how to collect and overwinter pods. I believe you can get eggs on Amazon too. The Audubon has a great resource for making butterfly and hummingbird gardens “how to create a butterfly garden”.
      Good luck!

  7. Elena says:

    One of my favorite places as a child was the Monarch Butterfly sanctuary in Pacific Grove, CA. Such a beautiful and majestic insect, and yet I cannot remember the last time I saw one during the past 18 years!

    • Ev Wilcox says:

      Pacific Grove-so many years ago! The butterfly sanctuary was really something. Thanks for the memory trip!

  8. Shuckclod says:

    I have never grown a butterfly. I have Monarchs in my yard, but no milk weed. I have a butterfly bush and lantanas that they love. I also have black butterflies. I will check the store for a milk weed plant. I would like to do this. Amazing pictures you took. I did read all the parts, can’t risk the warts :) Thank you for the info.

  9. mimiindublin says:

    Thank you Karen!
    Here, the butterfly population has increased, for 2 reasons: 1. Health and Safety has made it much more complicated (and expensive!) for local councils to cut roadside weeds, grass etc. Whereas in the olden days, just 1 man and a shears did the job, now there have to be warning trucks and traffic cones and all sorts.
    2. With the recession, local councils didn’t have the money for cutting weeds, let alone providing all the health and safety paraphnelia.
    Every cloud has a silver lining!

  10. mary says:

    thank you everyone for helping the monarch butterfly. It is very endangered.

    Please plant this specific type of milkweed! I work in a nursery and the monarch butterflies only lay eggs on this one: common milkweed [A. Syriaca] or swamp milkweed [A. incarnata])

    see below for more info…..which I copied from a Q/A I found on the web.

    I read that while there are 106 types of milkweed, monarchs only lay their eggs on certain kinds and that they avoid others because of the level of toxicity. I’m worried because the only type of milkweed we have so far is the butterfly weed (asclepias tuberosa) and it has no milky substance in the plant. What milkweeds do monarchs like?

    A. There are actually very few species of milkweed that monarchs won’t eat. Among the ones they will eat, they certainly have preferences. We know that female monarchs will lay their eggs on Asclepias tuberosa, and monarch larvae will eat it. However, we find in the lab that A. tuberosa is not one of their favorite milkweeds to eat. If you monitor a patch of A. tuberosa, you will likely find some eggs and larvae on it, but you may not find as many per plant as you would find on some other species (e.g. common milkweed [A. Syriaca] or swamp milkweed [A. incarnata]).

  11. Rhonda SmartyPants says:

    Please help me find out more to do. I live in southern Oregon just north of the California border and cannot find out when the monarch butterflies would pass through my region. Is there anybody out there with information on my ‘neck o’ the woods’?

  12. Su says:

    I’ve been planting milkweed and scattering seed for the monarchs. I think I’ve seen maybe two where I live along a river here in Illinois.Used to see them in such great numbers….. :(
    I too remember raising them in school as a child and the miracle of watching them emerge – it was magical! Like the honeybees the monarch is in a serious crisis. You are to be thanked for blogging about them! go Karen!

  13. jainegayer says:

    I will never forget raising monarchs in my second grade classroom. Yes, the kids were distracted for parts of the day but it was so worth it. The day we set them free, we took them outside in the netted cage we had made for them, formed a circle and held hands and as I opened the cage and they flew away, one of my “tough” little boys, started to sing, “I believe I can fly.” It was one of those unforgettable moments in my teaching career.

  14. Ann says:

    Here in Tennessee the entire butterfly species has decreased dramatically this year. I have seen so few of all my favs. The monarchs, frittilarys, hairstreaks,swallowtails, buckeyes, ect…..It makes me so sad. I use no pesticides, herbicides or any thing else that might be a danger to them. I plant plenty of plants that butterflies normally love to visit. We have plenty of milkweed locally but much of it gets cut down when the farmers harvest their pastures. Which does need to happen. I do wish the roadside crews would stop cutting down all the wild stuff that would also help nurture the butterfly population but I can’t see that happening any time soon.

    But thank you Karen, for making the effort to help with the Monarchs and bringing it to the attention of the many others who read your blog regularly.

  15. Mary says:

    Ironically, this year I’ve seen more milkweed by the roadside than I’ve ever seen before. On the flipside, no Monarch Butterflys.

  16. Bernard says:

    Excellent subject, Karen!!

    The same is true of bees and frogs (albeit for a few different reasons).

    The plant at which I work has developed 3 wetland/meadows for wildlife on its multiacre plot.

    The bee and amphibian populations have been “restocked” and have healthy populations (after 4 years) so my first stop on Thursday morning (my Monday) will be to EHS Manager’s office to see about getting milkweeds going….

    Thanks for the heads up.

    Cheers.

    • Pam says:

      Bernard, where do you work??? I want to work there too. Sounds like a wonderful place to me.

      • Bernard says:

        Hello Pam –

        I work at the GE Health Care Digital X-Ray Detector Production Facility in North Greenbush, NY.

        We make the plates for Mammograms (primarily), as well as other devices and processes … and yes, it is a great place to work.

        Cheers

  17. Tigersmom says:

    More proof that all of our actions have affects beyond what we often realize.

    Does anyone happen to know if Monarchs only lay eggs at the two ends (Mexico and Canada) of their migration or if they also lay them along their migration path (like here in northeast Texas)?

  18. Beckie says:

    I let the milkweed grow in my yard, too

    now that I think back on it, it has been some while since I’ve seen a monarch in the garden

    I will look for eggs or ‘pillers today

  19. Maureen says:

    Here in Texas, by the time we see Monarch butterflies, they are most of the way to their summer home in Mexico. But this year, we raised several butterflies, too! This is the first time I’ve ever done this and it was amazing. We found a chyrsallis on our fennel plants, and covereed the entire raised bed with netting so the birds wouldn’t get it. Then our friends had several chrysallis and they had put them in a big glass jar, filled with some dill and a few sticks. When we found another chyrsallis outside, we did the same thing. We got to raise two Black Swallowtail butterflies! And that his the most I’ve used the word chrysallis in one sitting since I was about 10.

  20. Jody says:

    Off to get some milkweed plants. To be honest I meant to do this earlier but I forgot. I’ll be ready for next year. Thank you for the reminder.

  21. Dagmar says:

    Alright, so everyone can gasp in unison. I am scared to death of butterflies. No really, I really am. Just looking at your photos Karen made me all queasy. I certainly don’t want them extinct by any means. And just yesterday I saw a very large black one – what I assume to be a female Swallowtail. (I had to do some research; because otherwise, I would wonder about it for days and days). It was the first butterfly I had seen of the season, but I do live in a condo, and there is a huge highway a block away, on the opposite side of my balcony. So really, I am not the expert here. Alright, you may all breathe normally now.

  22. Ev Wilcox says:

    Years ago we were blessed by a Monarch “cloud” that came to rest in our trees at dusk. Just happened to be standing in the right place at the right time. Once they land they are part of the tree and invisible! There were so many! This happened twice that we got to witness. In the morning they were gone. A few years earlier I saw a “cloud” land in our driveway on a sunny day. They rested awhile and left-it was so wonderful and I felt privileged to have them for even such a short time. We live in Northeast Ohio, in farm country. I will try to get the right milkweeds and start from there. Thanks so much Karen!

  23. MindyK says:

    We raised butterflies 10 years ago when my son was small. We haven’t done it since because we had a bad experience: when the butterflies came out of their chrysalises (chrysali?), they fell to the bottom of the container and STUCK because their wings were wet. Half of them died. We were traumatized. Is there a way to avoid this? Otherwise, I will plant milkweed but the monarchs are going to have to do the rest themselves.

    • Karen says:

      Hi MindyK – If I were to guess I’d say your container wasn’t big enough. The container has to be big enough so that when the butterfly emerges it has plenty of room to spread it’s wings and flap them to dry them out. Drying its wings and unfurling its antennae are the first things a Monarch does when it emerges. ~ karen!

  24. Melissa in North Carolina says:

    I’m going to have to research milkweed, I don’t know what it is. I would love to raise Monarch Butterflies!!!
    Thanks, Karen!

  25. Jeanne B says:

    We live in Minnesota and have finally been seeing some butterflies, including Monarchs. My husband has taught the neighbors children about Monarchs and has had them growing them. Each summer they hunt the milkweed patch on the side of our house for the eggs so they can save them. It’s an amazing thing to see a Monarch hatch.

  26. Theresa says:

    Ok can anybody reccomed where to get milkweed seeds? of the right species? I live in Queens a borough of NYC – right down the block is a huge park ( designed by olmstead) Forest Park – 525 acres of woodland basically- so we actially get alot of nature in our day. I am thinking I could contact the parks dept. I know that they are creating wildflower “patches” maybe they could point me in the right direction too
    On another note a father of my sons friend propigates praying mantis! he collects eggs raises them and plants them all around the nieghborhood ( in appropriate habitats) hes a bit of an amateur expert. I’m hoping that he may take the boys out on an expidetion.

  27. babs says:

    unfortunately we don’t have the Monarchs here in the Seattle area but I have noticed that there weren’t very many Swallowtails this year, or Mourning Cloaks, or Admirals. Just not as many butterflies period. Sad.

  28. Bols says:

    I saw only a single Monarch this summer, last week, and half of one of its wing was gone. I took a picture:
    http://photos-a.ak.instagram.com/hphotos-ak-xfa1/915686_886081981421416_1378013919_n.jpg
    I wonder if it will grow back? It seemed to be able to fly quite ok but I worried about it.
    Yes, the milkweed is a problem. Nobody wants it their garden, I have only a few. I will check if I can find any eggs.

  29. Traci says:

    I’ve been planting native wildflowers and edibles in my yard in hopes of providing habitat for butterflies, birds, and bees. My neighbor is not a fan of my weeds and called the borough on me a few times. Finally met the codes guy and talked to him and he was actually excited about what I’m doing, said he’d tell my neighbor to get over it, not everyone wants golf course lawn. Anyway, after getting milkweed seeds from a native plant sale, I failed to grow any. I’m not certain that I didn’t accidentally pull out the plants thinking they were weeds. I’m from WA originally and now live in PA and so I’m not so good with identifying the native plants at their different stages just yet. Anyway, I’d given up hope thinking that my seeds had gone to waste since 2 years have gone by with no milkweed. Then, just a few weeks ago a single milkweed plant appeared! I have been so excited! I keep pointing it out to everyone! I’m hoping one will beget more and maybe there are more seeds lurking in the ground waiting for the right moment to sprout. Anyway, I have tons of butterflies, birds, and bees in my yard and even a few bunnies, but no monarchs. I’m hoping next year I will have a crop of milkweed and maybe some wild monarchs to go with. I might just order some eggs as well. My little guy will be 1 next spring and I’m sure he’ll be fascinated with growing butterflies!

    As a side note, another teacher at the school I worked at raises monarchs with the 3rd graders every year, but she’s been having a harder time finding milkweed to feed them. She’s also tried to plant milkweed in the school garden multiple times with no success. Is there a secret to planting milkweed?

  30. Patti says:

    Karen, where would one find milkweed plants in the GTA, to plant in their garden? Is it too late, now? Can I get myself set up for next year? I’d really like to do this!

    • Carolyn says:

      Hi Patti,

      You may want to try Sheridan Nurseries. They have several locations around the GTA and when I did a plant search I saw that they do carry Butterfly Weed (Asclepias Tuberosa) which is in the milweed family, so they may carry Common or Swamp Milkweed as well. You’ll just have to check out the store.

      Good to know – the Mississauga/Oakville location is very careful about using Neonicotinoid pesticides…you can ask the location nearest you.

      Cheers!

  31. Lori says:

    Thank you for this post. I had bought my son one of the net kits to be able to do this and it was too late to send off for the caterpillar to do it this year. I never thought to go check the milkweed in our field for eggs. Guess I know what he and I will be doing this afternoon. I just recently made a note to buy some milkweed seed next year to increase the amount we had. I had no idea that only around 3% of the butterflies make it in the “wild” though. Such a shame. I will sending this post to all of my friends. Thanks again Karen!!

  32. Lynne says:

    Thanks for posting this Karen. It breaks my heart that I so seldom see Monarch butterflies anymore – I think I’ve seen one in the past two years. They used to be a ubiquitous part of the landscape when I was growing up.

  33. Ellen says:

    Monarch butterflies used to be so common they were of no interest to me. This year I have seen none, and few butterflies of any kind. I do keep a teeny patch of milkweed and loads of pesticide free flowers around – loads of bumblebees and wasps but few butterflies.

  34. Arianne says:

    Ok so I have a question – I just went back and read parts I-V of how to grow the butterfly but I didn’t see any mention of WHERE in your house is the ideal place to locate the butterfly habitat. Does it need sunlight? Direct or indirect? Should it be kept warm or slightly cooler (like near an A/C vent for those of us in the deep south)? Details Karen!!!

    • Karen says:

      If it was important Arianne, I would have mentioned it. It doesn’t matter where you put the butterfly. I have my on the kitchen counter. Sometimes I move it upstairs to my office. Anywhere in your house is fine. ~ karen!

      • Arianne says:

        Ok good deal – I just didn’t want to accidentally fry or freeze the poor bugger and become an unintentional murderer! Thanks for the info!!!

  35. Mary Werner says:

    Thank you Karen for your advice – in Florida we do get part of the migration of Monarchs and I haven’t seen any this year – but I also have seen very few other butterflies as well. We have a different type of milkweed than those big podded plants up north – tiny pods and the road department and land owners cut them as weeds. Sad. I plant and plant but not many butterflies. Three years ago I had “hoards” of them every day! But one of the science shows on You Tube told of a huge amount of small insects that have declined worldwide and no one really knows the full answer to why – humans being the worst offender but environment also. We just notice the butterflies more than the yucky creepy crawlers that are also declining AND the decline in birds that are eating them.

  36. Patti says:

    At first I thought is she kidding? Is it April Fool’s or something? Is there nothing this woman can’t do?!? But then I started reading your series and by Part V I was utterly fascinated and spent the last 3 hours looking up different caterpillars and what kinds of butterflies they become. I didn’t even know I was interested in this! What a wonderful world we live in.

    • Karen says:

      LOL. I know. Everyone, man, woman or child who I’ve introduced this process to has been amazed at how fascinating they’ve found it! ~ karen

  37. JeannieB says:

    Monarch butterflies are so beautiful. I’ve always kept a few milkweed plants growing on the south side of my house. I have a sign , alerting the lawn service not to damage them. I also have a new flowerbed of buddleia and other butterfly friendly shrubs and flowers. I know that the poor creatures are in peril. I do believe that pestiscides and urban sprawl are to blame. I’m hoping to see at least one, this summer.

  38. Donna says:

    I have been raising the Black Swallowtail Butterfly on my parsley. One was found dead with only one wing fully open, then another was seen to be in good condition flying well in the garden. Some caterpillars are still munching on the parsley–love to see this.

  39. Laura Bee says:

    My neighbour has milkweed in her front garden. I’d guess 95% of her yard is gardens & pathways. Going to take my daughter over this afternoon & see if we can find an egg or two. I haven’t done this since I was a kid. There were so many 35 years ago. Bees, butterflies & bats. All in trouble. Pinning, sharing & emailing this one for sure!

  40. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Thanks for the reminder to plant milkweed..I have a small creek on the one side of my property..I am going to see if there is any growing there..if not I will buy and plant it..I do grow Butterfly Bush as it is not invasive here..

  41. Patti says:

    Ahhh..plotting sweet revenge! The best revenge is living well and I think you have it already!
    I raised a monarch when I was a kid….but some how the caterpillar escaped in my dad’s work room. Imagine the surprise when it hatched in the winter… It died of course.
    Anywho….I have noticed that all bugs are MIA. I don’t use insecticides other than Diatomaceous Earth, I will pick off bugs and I pull weeds.

  42. Rondina says:

    Just as I was thinking that these were stunning photographs, you said they weren’t your best. I think they are fantastic pictures of the process.

    Our Monarch butterfly population is down drastically. It isn’t the milkweed source down here. As I understand it, they fly back and forth to Central America and their habitat down there is being destroyed.

    I miss lightening bugs. They were numerous when I was a child in the southern US, but I haven’t seen one in years. My children and grandchildren are living in a very different world than the one I was raised in. The Internet—good. Global communication—good. The destruction of nature to produce what we “need”—a bummer.

    • Alice says:

      I was in southern Ohio recently and there were loads of lightning bugs there. We don’t have them much in Canada (too cold).

      • Karen says:

        I think it depends where you are Alice. Where I live I see fireflies every night. And my friend was shooting a commercial over the weekend in the forests around my town and she had great video of them. ~ karen!

  43. JMY says:

    Milk weeds attract Monarch Butterflies like magnet. I didn’t have Monarch Butterflies in my garden till I grew a milk weed plant two years ago. Last winter out of desperation I paid $9.95 each, bought four pots of milk weed plants from local nursery because I had two starving caterpillars lived on my wilting milk weed plant. This Spring and Summer I have been seeing several Monarch Butterflies visiting my back yard almost everyday because I have several milk weed plants and butterfly bushes in the garden.
    TO BRING BUTTERFLIES BACK, PLANT MILK WEED PLANTS AND BUTTERFLY BUSHES.
    ALSO KEEP RACOON AWAY FROM GARDEN, RACOONS EAT CATERPILLARS.

  44. Barb says:

    After looking at all the previous posts about raising Monarch’s, I went out to my prairie garden and, lo and behold…a caterpillar exactly like the one in your photos! That made my day! What timing you have, Karen!!!

  45. Liz Cobler says:

    I love this post. It reminds me so much of my wedding. Instead of throwing rice or blowing bubbles, we released Monarch butterflies. It was truly the most beautiful, blessed thing I’ve ever seen. I received the caterpillars a few weeks prior to the wedding. We placed each in its own cardboard box and then to a warm, dark, quiet closet to hatch. Although I fretted that they’d all hatch in time, it was an amazing sight as they were all released as we exited the church.

  46. Danielle says:

    I’d never given monarchs much thought but I just finished reading Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver and now I’m obsessed. Does anyone know of a nursery in the GTA that sells milkweed or milkweed seeds?

    • Bobbi says:

      I loved the book. Read it as a book group choice. Lots of discussion about the decrease of butterflies and bees in our group.

    • Carolyn says:

      Hi Danielle,

      You may want to try Sheridan Nurseries. They have several locations around the GTA and when I did a plant search I saw that they do carry Butterfly Weed (Asclepias Tuberosa) which is in the milweed family, so they may carry Common or Swamp Milkweed as well. You’ll just have to check out the store.

      Good to know – the Mississauga/Oakville location is very careful about using Neonicotinoid pesticides…you can ask the location nearest you.

      Cheers!

  47. Jan says:

    The town where I live has had a butterfly raising program for a few years. It is part, a large part, of The Community Education Center.
    http://www.elktonbutterflies.com/butterfly-pavilion.html

    Even so, I have seen very few butterflies in my yard about 4 miles away. The tree that used to be covered with a variety of them had just a few when in full bloom. Quite disturbing to hear that this not just trouble here in my garden.

  48. Alice says:

    I had been thinking about doing this for a while — I do have lots of milkweed in my yard, specifically for the monarchs. I just went outside and on the very first plant I looked on, there was a little caterpillar wandering around (about 1/2″ long)! I’ve brought it in and made a little home for it.

    There are lots of yellow eggs on the plants, too, and some of them seem to be hatching some kind of tiny fly. Any idea what that is?

  49. Wendy says:

    PHEW thought the pink tool belt lady & I were getting feathery skinny legged cluck clucks.
    I will try my best to hover over all the milkweeds to raise monarchs. I am lousy I mean real lousy at watching any plant…my one & only zucchini plant that grew two humongous zukes…which I think would be a good swap. You may think that a dinosaur walked by your garden in the next few days.

    • Karen says:

      I TOTALLY missed the point of this comment Wendy, lol!!! That thing is 5.5 pounds!!! I’m not sure whether to cook it or burp it. ~ karen!

  50. Naomi says:

    If you find another egg, I’d love to try this.

  51. Mindy says:

    It’s been 13 years, a house, a dog, a cat, a husband, and three kids since my horrifying, heartbreaking, breakup, and I still plot revenge. It generally happens in the dream state, when I’m not conscious of my malice, but still. Now that I’ve typed that, I’m not sure if it’s consolation or a really good reason to seek therapy. Either way, to hell with them. I can honestly, without a doubt say, THANK GOD I’m here and not there.
    In reference to the actual post, I see some links to obtaining milkweed. I’m on it.

  52. Debbie says:

    We have a few in our yard, though we don’t have milkweed. I don’t know the name of the bush they seem to enjoy, but we love watching them. The local hummingbird likes the same bush! We rarely saw one in NY, but it is nice to see them in PA.

  53. Tina says:

    I’m feeling quite blessed after reading the comments. We had so many monarch caterpillars on one small milkweed plant that we had to relocate some to new milkweed plants so that they wouldn’t starve. We watched one butterfly drying his wings. (I didn’t know that butterflies had necks and could turn their heads. It was kinda freaky.)

    We harvested some seeds from a different kind of Asclepias which grows bigger so we can feed more ‘pillars. We also bought some more plants to feed the ravenous hordes.

    Thank you for the tutorials.

  54. maggie says:

    I live 5 kms. from Point Pelee which was a stop over for migrating Monarchs forever. The Monarchs have pretty much disappeared from the Point now. I have seen maybe a half of a dozen so far this year. Last year, I had a pot of dill weed growing on my back deck which was completely consumed by monarch caterpillars in a matter of a day. I was sad to lose the dill but happy to see the old familiar striped guys.

  55. Karen says:

    Butterflies use penis to gauge sex competition

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126903.400-butterflies-use-penis-to-gauge-sex-competition.html

    Thought you needed a hook for all those people who came for porn from a week or so ago due to the sex and chicks post. Content marketing is all about creating a consistent experience for your readers.

  56. Safetydog says:

    I have had milkweed in my yard for years. Have also had caterpillars eating said milkweed, turning into butterflies, but not Monarchs. Last year I didn’t even have those. This year saw 2 caterpillars eating my parsley. The milkweed is clear. Again, not Monarchs. So sad.

  57. Ofelia, from Mexico City says:

    Thanks for this post. Im a mexican girl and I know for real the monarch butterflies are in real and great danger. So Im in, please grow a monarch butterfly… Save the monarch!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Ofelia! I’m happy to spread the word and thank you for joining in! I’ve given 3 to my sister to raise and I’m raising 3 right now. :) ~ karen!

  58. Carolyn says:

    Ever since I read this post and the step-by-step guide to growing a monarch, I’ve been watching the roadsides and park borders like a hawk for milkweed. Is it just me or is it rather scarce around our parts (I’m just North of where you are)? I’ve made my husband stop the car so I could search what few plants I saw, all the while looking like a crazy person I’m sure, yet alas – no eggs. Did I miss the egg-laying time frame?

    I’m also personally concerned about our other native pollinators, like bumblebees. We went for a camping trip out to Pinery Provincial Park and learned that the Rusty-Patched Bumblebee is now critically endangered in Canada and on the brink of extinction throughout its range (it used to be the 4th most common bee in S. Ontario). I’ve signed up as a “citizen scientist” on bumblebeewatch.org to keep my eyes peeled for all types of bumblebees! Every little bit helps.

  59. Pingback: The Monarch Project | McBottom Family Blog

  60. magali says:

    Thank you for this post Karen! This is a very important subject for me. This coming December I am going to Mexico to see the monarchs in their overwintering sites. As an entomologist, it’s a dream come true for me and I’m so excited, but also scared to see how badly the population is doing.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Magali – Let me know how it turns out! I know a lot of people have decided to raise a butterfly from this post. My sister and I alone have raised 7 in the past month. :) ~ karen!

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