We are SO excited!!
The other day I saw a bright orange butterfly pass over my driveway as I pulled in. I’ve been checking our milkweed in our butterfly garden and other gardens around the driveway regularly and hadn’t seen any evidence of Monarchs – although I had seen lots and lots of Tussock Moth Caterpillars which have all but decimated the milkweed in most of the gardens.
But when I saw the orange butterfly pass over I thought I should walk down to the old vegetable garden where I knew there were a few milkweed plants that had sprung up amid the mess of weeds and see if anything was down there.
Sure enough there was a large Monarch caterpillar!!
So excited, I ran up to the house calling the kids to come look…and grabbed my camera of course.
When we looked a little closer we spotted another Tussock Moth Caterpillar which caught the eye of the girls. As they were looking at that, right alongside they saw an inchworm sized baby Monarch caterpillar on a Milkweed seed pod of that same plant.
However, the Tussock Moth caterpillars had removed just about every leaf on that milkweed plant and there weren’t any other milkweed plants nearby. As we looked around we then saw a large Monarch caterpillar in the grass near the base of the plant – probably off in search of more food… but heading in the wrong direction.
Here are a few more pictures from our first encounter with these amazing little creatures.
After messaging a friend who is actively raising Monarch caterpillars and doing a little googling we decided to bring them inside and raise them. So now we have three Monarchs! One just formed its chrysalis this morning. One is large but still eating away… and the tiny, tiny one which we feared we’d injured when we tried to move it was just molting and is now about twice the size he was when we found him.
Can’t wait to post updates!!
EDIT 6/10/2015: for more information on how you can help with Monarch Butterfly conservation efforts visit Monarch Watch at www.monarchwatch.org.