Raising Monarch Butterflies

Since I was a child I have raised Monarch Butterflies. Unfortunately, because of life circumstances I am not always able to every year and have missed the past two seasons. I am fairly determined, even though I live in a motel, to raise a few this year (and if I do I will take pictures for you).

Going through old online photos, I found some pictures of my past efforts (minus the monarch egg picture, that I had to find to show you what it looks like).

O.K., first off this is a plant called Milkweed. This is the only plant that Monarch caterpillars eat. Milkweed grows all across the United States, but because it is considered a “weed”, it is often cut down. It is not widely known by people that the Monarch depends on this plant. So, if you see this plant growing around your garage or popping up in your garden, leave it be.

This is a Monarch egg. You will find it under the leaves of the Milkweed plant. The eggs stay a white/yellowish color till they are about to hatch. When they are close to hatching, they darken to an almost black color. Shortly after a bluish caterpillar comes out.

I mentioned when they hatch they are bluish, but shortly after, they get black stripes mixed into that blue, and as they grow become white, black and yellow.

This is the chrysalis stage. It will be light to dark green with golden spots on it.

And finally they hatch. Look at the picture of the Monarch with its wings open. See the two black dots, one on each lower wing? That means it is a male. Only the males have the black spots at the bottom. There are of course other ways of telling, but that is the easiest.

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