So Where are the Monarchs?

hummersteveJuly 5, 2012

I am in central indy and I havent seen that first monarch. In fact Im seeing very few butterflies at all and no swallowtails either. I have a pretty fair garden which I mainly garden for hummingbirds but I also have host milkweed plants. So whats the deal?

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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I don't know. Are you in an urban or suburban area? If you're in the country, I can see no reason why you wouldn't have seen some butterflies by now!


    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 7:14PM
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I don't know either where all of them are. I've had a male Monarch flying around here for a week or so but no females. Like you, I really don't have many butterflies to speak of, mostly just Cabbage Whites that like to nectar on the Verbena bonariensis. Maybe the Monarchs will still show up. Sometimes I have really good butterfly years and other years are like this one is so far. Last year was a fantastic year for me here in central PA. For whatever reason some years are great and others not so much.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 3:32PM
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At the monarch biology and conservation meeting I talked to people from Indiana and heard there were pretty bad drought conditions...that could partially explain low numbers there.

But I think there may be a much larger territory for the northern migration this year. People are reporting seeing record numbers of monarchs in Canada.

I think the majority of the US will have a slow summer, but the migration could be one of the most amazing spectacles we've seen...that's what I'm hoping will happen because of our extra early generation this year...thoughts?

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 3:49PM
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KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH

Monarchs came through my neighborhood in the spring. I raised them, let them go, and have not seen any since then.

Like Tony said, IN is having a bad drought. I saw in the Columbus paper this week that IN is worse off than Ohio when it comes to lack of rain. Anyway, lack of rain does discourage many insects.


    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 5:03PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Western Michigan is the same. Very slow compared to last year. Though last year was a record breaker for me and Monarchs. They were here early and in large numbers. I had a few cats early on this year, but haven't seen a single Monarch flying anywhere. It's still early compared to some years, but it does get discouraging. I'm looking forward to Sunday. Temps are finally getting back out of the 90/100's. We've been living in the basement, since we have no AC. Fortunately, it's spacious and we bought air-mattresses and fans. We even moved the TV down and we're catching up on movies. I love my automatic ice maker! Hope everyone else is staying cool.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 11:47AM
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This has been the best year ever for me for butterflies, but I haven't seen many monarchs. I attribute that to the lack of milkweed on my property. I don't know why, but most of my milkweed just didn't grow this year. I went out and purchased two new plants last week and I have seen more monarchs since then. My milkweeds seem to be coming around, so I hope to see more soon.

Steve, I know you have some milkweeds, but the more you have the more likely you are to get them. I would think that they will stick around your property once you get some.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 7:48PM
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I have seen lots of monarchs here in NJ where there really isn't drought ---yet. Could use more rain but not the disaster this season has been to so many. I just planted a butterfly garden this year so they are about. It's been hot but thank G-d, their has been some rain and neither vegetation or wildlife are suffering. Hope you see rain soon!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 3:05PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I was at Lake Michigan today and there were thousands of milkweed plants in full bloom. I saw two Monarch males fighting over the best nectaring spots, but no females. I searched several patches of milkweed and didn't find any eggs, cats, or signs of any munching. So, I think they must be arriving now. I've got my fingers crossed.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 8:44PM
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Monarchs have been scarce in Madison, Wisconsin, this year. We saw one or two in May, and a few since then, but no large numbers. I might find two or three eggs per week. We are in a drought right now, that has lasted 6 or 8 weeks.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 8:48AM
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terrene(5b MA)

I think the Monarchs may be in Massachusetts! Saw my first Monarch finally on July 2nd. In fact, it was TWO Monarchs and they were twirling around together in the back garden near the Echinacea.

A little while later, I saw one of the Monarchs checking the plants and I knew it was a female. Collected 6 eggs from the common Milkweed that day, and have collected another 18 eggs since then, both in the yard and at 2 other locations!

I now have 24 eggs/cats in progress, the oldest is 3rd instar. But I am VERY busy right now with work and must refrain from collecting too many eggs!

Yesterday and today I've seen a female flitting in 2 different towns, checking plants to lay eggs. Today one was hanging around my gardens and she laid eggs on the large common mw and the tropical milkweed seedlings which are only 3-6 inches tall!

We are having a lovely summer with pretty good rain so far. The landscape is green and lush and the Asclepias syriaca that I have observed is flourishing in this area, so I guess the butterflies are smart to come here rather than the drought stricken parts of the country.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 10:47PM
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I have seen only one or two Monarchs here, which is a shame since I have my common milkweed in bloom. It has been a very dry summer so far. I have been seeing other butterflies but not as many as I hoped for.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 11:56AM
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I finally have a female flying around here and collected 18 eggs today. Yay! I'll raise some but can't raise many. Hopefully it will be enough to make a difference.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 9:10PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I received the nicest gift today. Nature'sFolly offered Monarch eggs that she had collected, so I met up with her and she gave me 10 Monarch eggs to raise! I have a small milkweed patch in my yard and a much larger supply in an open field two blocks away. I don't know how Monarchs decide where they migrate to in the spring, but I'm hoping that these will be raised successfully and their offspring will find their way back next year. My garden will be just one more year established and welcoming. Good luck to everyone else. I hope the Monarchs show up soon.


    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 7:21PM
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cecropia(z5 Oh)

Saw the first monarch of the season on May 2,which is the earliest ever.Raised a few at that time and released them,and Have only seen a few since then and had not found any eggs on my milkweeds til today.FINALLY!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 11:13PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Congrats on getting some eggs you guys! I am so psyched that the Monarchs are around - they are my favorite butterfly and our season with them is short here. I observed another female flitting around checking the vegetation for milkweed at yet another location today.

Let's hope that there are LOTS of cats out there munching milkweed!!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 9:13PM
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had lots of Monarchs really really early this year in South Carolina ( March ). i raised them and have not seen one since despite the milkweed garden planted just for them. Hoping like everyone else for a magnificent Fall migration.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 1:58PM
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