Part One: How to Raise Monarch Butterflies at Home

Remember those Monarch eggs I wrote about two weeks ago that I found on my front yard milkweed?  The photos below illustrate how easy it is to raise Monarch butterflies at home.  It’s fun and gratifying to bring the eggs inside for fostering.

Caterpillar condo

It’s not pretty, but it works. Iced latte cup serves as “caterpillar condo.” Photo by Monika Maeckle

Now’s the time of year you’ll find Monarch butterfly eggs on your milkweed.  Just turn over the leaves, look on the underside and you’ll see them.  Your helping hand could give those eggs a higher chance–from 10% to 90%–of completing their life cycle and becoming a butterfly.   Mother Nature can be brutal.  Threats lurk everywhere for the tiny eggs, which serve as  a protein pop for beetles, ants, and wasps–equivalent of a highly nutritious smoothie.  

Once the eggs hatch and start munching on milkweed leaves, the holes and “chew marks” they leave in their wake signal to predators that a tasty morsel is near.   While birds generally don’t find Monarchs tasty, they don’t know that until they have their first bite.

Monarch egg on Tropical mlkweed

Bring eggs in to give them a better chance of completing the life cycle. You’ll find them on the underside of milkweed leaves. Photo by Monika Maeckle

It’s not difficult to nurture an egg all the way through the life cycle–from teeny creamy yellow dot to chubby waddling caterpillar to jewel-like chrysalis to beautiful butterfly.  Chrysalises also make fantastic, unique gifts for life’s transitional occasions–weddings, funerals, graduations, a job or other life change.

If you’re up for fostering Monarch caterpillars, you must have ample, chemical-free milkweed which can serve as Monarchs’, Queens’ and other milkweed feeders solitary  food source in the caterpillar stage.

Any type of Asclepias species will do.  As much as I like native plants, I’m a big fan of Tropical milkweed, Asclepias curassavica, for at-home butterfly gardens:  it’s easy-to-grow, widely available and a reliable bloomer.   Other butterflies adore nectaring on its orange and yellow flowers.

Once the eggs hatch, you’ll need to provide fresh milkweed regularly–and in later stages, daily–to these voracious eating machines, so make sure you’re well stocked.

Former salad greens box converts to a caterpillar container. You'll have to provide fresh milkweed each day. Photo by Monika Maeckle

Former salad greens box converts to a caterpillar container. You’ll have to provide fresh milkweed each day. Photo by Monika Maeckle

You’ll also need a pot, container or “cage” in which to store the milkweed and sequester the caterpillars.  They make quite a mess.  Some people use tupperware boxes, others will put milkweed leaves in a vase and let the caterpillars crawl around, munching as they please.   I like to use a beverage bottle or a plastic iced coffee cup with a lid, which makes a simple “caterpillar condo.”   Be sure to put some newspaper underneath to catch the enormous amount of caterpillar poop, also known as frass, that will result from the constant eating.  Clipping the paper with a clothespin to create a catch for the frass will keep it from rolling onto your floor.

Caterpillar poop or frass

Whole lotta caterpillar poop! Known as frass, caterpillar excrement can be monumental. Photo by Monika Maeckle

Another option, if you have chemical-free potted milkweed available, is to bring the plant inside the house or on a porch and let the caterpillars consume the plant.   That’s one of the easiest methods.

Professional butterfly breeders often take this approach, devoting entire greenhouses to seeded milkweed pots.    Others will use cut milkweed supplied fresh daily after cleaning the containers.


Professional breeders and Monarch enthusiasts plant Tropical milkweed seeds in January so they’ll be sprouting in time for the caterpillar-palooza that arrives in the spring. Photo by Monika Maeckle

Cages must be kept clean and free of frass. You can empty out the frass and wipe down the inside of the cup or container with a paper towel.  Trapped frass can cause a germ problem, as the caterpillars waddle through the mess, track it onto leaves, then consume the nastiness, possibly getting sick.

Beyond fresh milkweed and a container, cage, or potted plant, you’ll need little else but time.  The life cycle from egg to butterfly usually takes about a month.   The egg stage lasts about four days.   Then the caterpillar hatches and remains in its first instar, or stage, for several days.   As it eats and outgrows its skin, it morphs to become a second instar caterpillar.

Caterpillar spinning silk

This guy is forming his silk button and will soon make a j-shape to morph into his chrysalis. See the silk? Photo by Monika Maeckle

The process continues, to third, fourth and fifth instar “cats,” until finally, the caterpillar is almost as big as your ring finger and appears as if it will bust its stripes.   Usually the process from egg to fifth instar takes about 10 -14 days, depending on conditions.   And, if there’s less milkweed available, the caterpillars will hurry up and form their chrysalises, eating less and forming more petite chrysalises.

When that time nears, the caterpillar typically wanders away from its host plant or attaches itself to the top of the cage if confined.   It seeks a nice, quiet place, out of direct sunlight to form its chrysalis.    We have found chrysalises in the most unusual places.

About to go chrysalis, he's forming his j-shape. Photo by Monika Maeckle

About to go chrysalis, he’s forming his j-shape. Photo by Monika Maeckle

For that reason, many people prefer pop-up cages rather than cups or potted plants since you can put a potted plant inside, sit back and wait.   Personally, I love watching the cats’ acrobatics as they go through the process and I don’t mind finding caterpillars on or under my furniture or curtains.  My husband is also quite tolerant.   But…I understand not everyone feels that way.

When the caterpillar is ready to go chrysalis, it sits quietly for a while, seeming to ponder the possibilities.  But actually, it’s spinning a tough, sturdy silk button that will support its weight for the period in which it hangs upside down as a chrysalis for about a week.

When it’s ready, it hangs vertically and forms a j-shape.   At some moment, when you see its tentacles hanging

Monarch chrysalises

These three caterpillars formed their chrysalises on the underside of the newspaper protecting my floor. Photo by Monika Maeckle

limply, it will begin its transformation from caterpillar to chrysalis with an exotic twisting dance that allows it to shed its skin for the fifth and final time.  It  forms the most fantastic jade colored jewel, flecked with gold specks and rimmed with black.   The chrysalis remains for 10 – 14 days, depending on the weather and humidity.

Finally, when it’s ready to become a butterfly, the green chrysalis will turn opaque, then dark, then black, then clear.   You can see the gorgeous orange-and-black coloration of the Monarch butterfly

clear chrysalis

When the chrysalis turns clear, a butterfly is about to be born. Photo by Monika Maeckle

waiting to be born through the shell.   To watch the butterfly eclose, or emerge, from this form warrants a toast of champagne or a sip of Bordeaux. It happens quickly, so don’t leave the scene if you’re hoping to catch the moment.

When the butterfly first hatches, its wings are soft and malleable.   The butterfly needs to hang vertically so its wings can take shape and firm up.  After about two hours, the butterfly’s wings have dropped completely and are fully formed, ready for first flight.  When you see the butterfly start to beat its wings slowly, as if it’s revving up its engines, its time to take her outside and send her on her way.

Newborn Monarch butterfly

Newborn Monarch butterfly: almost ready for flight.  Photo by Monika Maeckle

For more information, check out the Monarch Larvae Monitoring Project page on raising Monarchs or Monarch Watch.

More on this topic:

Like what you’re reading? Follow butterfly and native plant news at the Texas Butterfly Ranch. Sign up for email delivery in the righthand navigation bar of this page, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter, @monikam. You can also read our stuff on the Rivard Report.

257 thoughts on “Part One: How to Raise Monarch Butterflies at Home

  1. I am going to do this. My 92 year old mom will enjoy watching all this happen!

    • It’s a fantastic activity for seniors and senior citizen centers. The caterpillars become low-key pets whose progress is visible daily. They transform to the “next stage” over the course of a few weeks, then, one day, they morph into a new life form and fly away. Kind of reassuring at any stage of life. –MM

      • Help My outside cats kept disappearing way too soon so I brought in some eggs and one small cat We call him the big boy. Anyway this afternoon I tried transferring him from his glass fishbowl to a larger apple juice container he stopped moving after an hour but he moves when I move his leaf. I put him back in his bowl fearing that he plastic was toxic to him. He is over an inch might he be shedding and I am freaking out over nothing?

        • There’s not much you can do. Let Nature takes it’s course. Cruel, I know. Impossible to say what the problem is without more info. Sorry. –MM

  2. I had a ton of Oleander aphids on my butterfly weed last week, so I sprayed with a mixture of 1 qt of water to 1 T of Castille soap. Aphids are gone, but now I’m wondering if I killed any eggs. Heading out to check for eggs now…

    I would love to be a Monarch momma!

          • The aphids won’t hurt the eggs or the caterpillars. Just find bunches of Ladybugs and they will enjoy snacking on these aphids! Sorry no eggs!!

          • Agree with 🐞 the ladybugs are great! For a while I thought that was all I was raising. But now I have hungry caterpillars and eaten milkweed. 🐛🐛More milkweed please!
            *Always remember if you use something to kill an insect, butterfly is still an insect.
            Even for mosquitoes It’s why I prefer a dragonfly over an insecticide.

      • I sprayed my aphids away, but they’re returning. Luckily I have milkweed in several beds and some have not been hit by aphids.

  3. Hi Monika, your posts are great! Keep up the good work. We’re trying to share the word and knowledge here in Milam County too!! Thank you!

  4. Hi, Monica! I have so many questions but, will only ask one for the time being: I notice that the plastic containers in which you have your caterpillars have no holes for air? Do they need air? No holes in the top would certainly help with runaway “teensie-tinesies”. I use jars and have the smallest plastic screen I can find over the top of the babies’ jar. This morning, I found one on the outside of one of the other jars as I was cleaning and feeding. Thanks so much!

  5. When the butterfly emerges from the chrysalis where should I release it for the best chance of survival? I live in San Antonio and could release it in my back yard, take it to the botanical garden, … I only have one so I want a successful release!

  6. If anyone wants milkweed seeds please email me and I will send you as many as you want, I have red, orange, and showy.

    • Wow, do they strip the plants! I will send you postage for the seeds.
      218 SW 43rd Lane
      Cape Coral, FL 33914

      • Hi,

        If anyone has seeds to share I’d love some. I have Asclepias curassavica the red/orange variety, but would like to branch out and try the others.

        I realize this is an old thread, but thought I would give it a try.



    • My 9 year old daughter and I have been hatching (is that even the correct term?) monarchs for two years now and love it! What a fun time together. We have 4 right now in her butterfly habitat, two are emerging as I type this. Can’t wait for her to come home from school to see them. I would love to have some seeds from your other plants so that we could continue to enjoy this for years to come. How do I contact you to get them? I don’t see an email listed. Thanks.

      • My 3 worms have escaped!, I had them in a large flower pot with the butterfly plant and they must have crawled out. How do you keep them in? Tape the screening to the pot?

        • You can buy butterfly cage and cover the pot, that way , the caterpillar will decide to stick around and attach itself to the cage net, and you can monitor it and let it out when it emerges, good luck

          • Yu can use a clean pizza box, leaving the sides and bottom intact but cut off the top of the box. I found a net that fit comfortably. I taped the net to the pizza box and this kept the enclosed area secure. You will have to clean the box frequently from their waste. The caterpillars attached themselves to the top of the net when they were ready.
            Good luck.

          • Tulle at the fabric store. You can use any size box. You can also put plastic wrap over the box with a stick inside for them to rest on. Stand it up so you look into it. Put paper towels on the floor and water in a lid for humidity. Tape all the way around and open the side to add new food.

          • I bought a “food cover” at Big Lots a few years ago. It’s an umbrella type thing that keeps bugs off your food when outdoors. If your local stores don’t carry, you can Google “mesh outdoor food cover” and you’ll find plenty. These ready- made nets can be used for your caterpillars instead of your food!

          • I found food covers at 99c Store and Dollar Stores. That was during the winter so they might be sold out now. These two stores also sometimes sell foldable laundry baskets that are in the shape of a rectangle. You could use that and put it on a piece of newspaper covered with a soft cloth incase the chrysalis falls.

    • would you please be able to send me some seeds I already have the milkweed I don’t have any of the nice colours you have mentioned

      cheers Marie.

      • Hello Laurie,

        I would like some milkweek seeds. I can send you some money for postage if you like. How do I send you my address without it being posted to a public website?


        Thank you!

    • Hi, I am just getting started on my Monarch butterfly adventure. I planted two milkweed plants two days ago. After hearing about the hungry, hungry caterpillars, I think I would like to plant some seeds. When I was a kid, I used to gather eggs and caterpillars on the milkweed that lined ditches and fields in Michigan and watched them turn into beautiful butterflies. I can’t believe I am now growing ‘weeds’ in my vegetable garden.

    • I’d love to plant your different varieties of milkweed here in Ohio to help our Monarchs. Let me know what postage will be. Thanks,

      Amy From northeast Ohio

      • The original comment from Rene offering seeds is a few years old and I don’t think she is active on this site. I wrote to her and never received a reply.

    • Please would love seed !!! have planted for bees and other butterflies but now need to get milkweed started. Thanks Sandy Cook PO Box 1484 Priest River ,Idaho 83856 will send $ for postage..

      • Hi,
        Are the red and orange not the tropical with both colors? If not, I’d like summer of all three!

        Thank you,

        508 West Shore
        Richardson, TX 75080

    • I’d love some milkweed seeds of any variety. We accidentally planted one this year and were graced with a late in the year monarch that layed eggs. We now have one catapillar and just 2 days ago two chrysalis hanging! We really want to try and do this again next season on purpose but need milkweed! My email is and I’ll provide my address!!

  7. Just found your website and love it, so informative. Got four milkweed in pots, left them outside on the lanai. I would sit out there having my morning coffee and watch them lay eggs. I purchased a net house, and brought a pot. In when the catapillars started eating. Somehow the egg laying got out of hand and had to being all four plants inside. What’s with the head bobbing?

    • NOt sure what the head bobbing of caterpillars means. Maybe they’re communicating with us and thanking us for supply the host plant?

  8. My daughter and i have been doing this for three years going along the roads looking for milkweed and caterpillars they are so much fun to watch but having a hard time this year finding them haven’t found any yet don’t know if its to early or to late here in ohio. would love to have some seed and willing to pay for it.

  9. Monika,
    We had a monarch come out of the chrysalis early this am. It is cold and rainy outside. Should we go ahead and
    let her fly away or keep her inside til the weather clears up, probably tomorrow afternoon?


    • I have had to keep monarchs inside for a couple of rainy days in a row. I grow butterfly bushes, so I pick some of the flowers from them to feed the new monarchs.

      • Monarchs do not have to eat in the first 24 or so hours. If you have nectar plants and can bring some in they may or not use them. If longer times are required or if you just wish to offer food, the cap from a Gatorade bottle with a mixture of honey:water 1:9 can work well. I put a stone from stones for aquariums (after they were well washed) in mine, but it is not necessary. I also folded up paper towels and cut a hole to drop the cap in so my guy, Braveheart, could be level with the top of the cap as he ate. But that too is not usually necessary. My guy was older and not well in the end so he needed extra support. One other caveat, it’s easier to get them interested if there is no bright light around. If it’s too bright, all they can think about is getting outside.
        I think mid 60’s is ok to release as long as its sunny. C(Ck experts for this). Late afternoon or evening is not the best time. In my limited experience, they like an early night with some rough sticks (1/2 ” diameter seemed preferred) or a plant to hang on overnight.

  10. I took 4 larva inside just before the first frost. I have been feeding them
    milkweed since then and 3 of them are now in the chrysalis form. I’m
    Now trying to figure out how to foster the butterflies until flowers start to
    Bloom. My question is where can I purchase a cage similar to the one in
    your article? How long can you keep the adults in a cage and still successfully release them?

    Thanks for you excellent website

    • Good for you, Stacey. That “cage” is actually a laundry hamper I got at my local Bed, Bath & Beyond. Our friend Todd Stout of Raising Butterflies sells proper butterfly cages. You can find him on Facebook and order from him. Good luck!

      • Thanks for the response. I found a suitable cage at Carolina Scientific . My concern now is
        how long can I foster the adult butterflies, waiting for the flowers to start blooming here
        In Houston? I’ve seen reports about people
        keeping the adults for short periods but it will
        Be a few months before flowers start blooming
        here in Houston.

  11. Have you had any issues with the chrysalises turning brown and dying? We raise Monarch caterpillars from MonarchWatch in our first grade classes each year and have had issues the last couple of years with OE (Ophryocystis elektroscirrha). Even though we make sure that our habitats are clean and are very careful with handling, we still have issues. From what I have read on Monarch Watch and other sources the spores of OE are mainly spread by adults and they contaminate the milkweed as they land on it. It seems that OE may be a natural cause for why the population is declining–along with all the manmade causes. Do you have any experience with OE and hints on how we can help eliminate it?

    • HI Claire,
      Yes, OE spores arepresent in the Monarch population–just like the strep bacteria is present in human beings. The problem is when it gets out of hand, which often happens in crowded environments or places frequented by many Monarchs. I subscribe to the notion of slashing Tropical Milkweed to the ground in the winter, thus limiting the build-up of OE in a Monarch habitat.

      I don’t have personal experience with OE but I have read about it and have observed my breeder friends take precautions to eliminate and limit it in their breeding houses. Here’s a link that might be useful to you:


  12. I am currently in a biology class at a university in Oklahoma. I was curious as to why the monarch butterfly continues to flutter its wings while drinking nectar. Can anyone help me with this question? Thankyou!

  13. I’m reading a novel – The Butterfly’s Daughter – by Mary Alice Monroe that some of you might enjoy. It has stirred my interest in the whole subject.

  14. Hey. I had a friend who had abundant milkweed in her backyard, and so she took a few caterpillars, provided them with milkweed, and watched their transformation into butterflies. Pretty cool. I’m thinking of doing the same thing this summer.

  15. I’ve had a lot of mortality from tachinid flies, but most disappointing was when a caterpillar destroyed a fellow ‘pillar who was in the process of forming a chrysalis. We returned to find the victim bloodied and at the bottom of the cage, dead, and the culprit at the scene of the crime (hanging out on the lid where it detached the victim). It was only the two caterpillars in the container and plenty of food for the one… my question is, WHY? Why did the caterpillar maul and detach its cagemate?

    • You are the first person to mention this that I have seen. I have had the same problem. A large caterpillar will definitely molest a newly formed or forming chrysalis. I watched a chrysalis forming on a lid and as it was happening another cat on the other side of the lid who had been stationary made his way over to the new chrysalis and started going under the lid to molest as I watched. I promptly removed him from the scene. Now I protect J’s that are about to turn from other large cats. Who knows why but very distressing.

      • So is it preferable to have a separate container for each one? My 2 cats ate leaves together in a cardboard box w. screen on top, then I put one in a separate container (plastic ice cream bucket) with air holes poked in the lid because I thought they preferred a solid surface to hang from when pupating. (They both developed into chrysalides.)

        • I think raising similar sizes together in the same container is fine but give them enough or large enough leaves to be separate. Since I have seen the molestation problem several times I definitely watch a J about to pupate to be sure no other cat is approaching ready to cuddle!
          I also like to use clear plastic containers and then cut out a section of the lid and replace it with window screen with spots of hot glue.
          The chrysalis can form well on the screen mesh but not so well if it soft netting. After a few days you can carefully detach the silk and move it to a safer place if necessary

        • Happy New Year to all! I am a first timer. Planted a bunch of milkweed but I had no caterpillars in the spring. I’m in Texas, and no matter what I tried, the wasps would get them. The good news is that I went outside on Christmas Day and counted 10+ caterpillars! I brought 7 of them inside and made little plastic container habitats. I feed them every day and clean their frass (correct word?) daily. They are thriving in their new habitats and I have 3 “J”-ing already. I did have to separate two of them because in a weird way, it looked like they were fighting. I’m so excited being a first time Monarch person.

          • Sounds very promising. Keep up the good work! They do have little spats and they do like their space. The time to really keep them separated is when they are full size and going into a J and chrysalis. While in the shedding-the-last-skin or early chrysalis stage (first 12-24 hours or so) I have found them extremely vulnerable to attack by another fat 5th instar to the point where they will die from the attack. Keep a close eye on them or separate them at that stage.

          • OK, so I am pleased to report that I have 10 in containers that have spun into their chrysalis stage!! Now, I need more help…what do I do now? Do I leave them alone and wait, or is there something else I need to do. I’m so excited!

          • I did more research and found out that I need to leave them alone until the chrysalis is clear. Many have attached to the lids of the containers. Also, I have three more instars (is that the right word?) who I made more habitats for. Please let me know if you have any suggestions. Like I said, this is my first time.

          • Just leave them. They will take 10-15 days, depending on temperature. Make sure there is enough space, 3 inches or more, for them to drop down and inflate their wings when they eclose. Wait 2-4 hours and release them if the weather is good and still several hours of daylight.

          • OK! Thanks for the info. I work during the week and by the time I get home, it’s dark. If they hatch while I am work, do I wait for daylight to release? I’m so sorry to have so many questions, but I want to give them every chance to make it.

          • Most monarchs will “hatch” in the morning. It would be a shame to make them wait all the day until the next morning to be free if it’s a nice day. If you work at a desk, could you take the chrysalis to work with you if it’s about to “hatch”? Would there be somewhere you could tape it up by the silk where it would be undisturbed during the day? You would remove the silk carefully from where it’s attached, press scotch tape to the silk and then stick it under a shelf or ledge so it could drop down. They will hatch that day if they are completely black with the color of the wings showing through the chrysalis. It’s hard to think that this is happening in December/early January. I don’t expect to see any caterpillars in my area until June! I think it should be above 50 when you release them.

          • I do have a desk job!! I will talk to Human Resources about having a “bring your chrysalis to work day”. 🙂
            There are a lot of coworkers who have become fascinated with this process. I think I may be able to pull it off. Thanks again for the info.

  16. You have totally inspired me to do this next year! I’m doing a landscaping overhaul in Oct and planned to plant butterfly- and pollinator-friendly plants for my garden and to give a bit of a wildscape to my otherwise boring suburban landscaping 🙂 . I’ll be adding milkweed to the list.


    • I’ve raised them for two years, last week 4 went on their way. It is a rather emotional and well worth endeavor as one feels they are worth the effort and fun. Susie


  18. I have had Monarch caterpillars in my yard three times this year. Only one out of probably 35-40 caterpillars made it and I had to save that one off the ground. A labor of love which ended with a beautiful butterfly. I had another nine caterpillars on my milkweed plant last week, this morning I had six and then this afternoon I only see two. what could be happening to them? Will birds eat them? Would love to learn how to protect them since they seem to enjoy my yard.

    • It’s a dangerous world for caterpillars. Birds, disease, accidents (getting stepped on, for example). That’s why I like to bring them inside, otherwise they seem to just disappear. Surely much of that is Nature’s Way. If the hundreds of eggs all made it to become butterflies (actually, only about 10% make it), we would have an overpopulation. When we help them out, the odds are reversed and they have about a 90% of completing the life cycle. Good luck.


  19. I have one that just hatched this morning. I think he’s ready to be released, but it’s raining out and I don’t think it’ll be stopping soon. Any tips? How long can he stay in the jar? Would overnight hurt?

  20. This summer I notice milkweed growing where there was none last year. Along roads and fields.
    I continue to give seeds to all interested.

    Many people have mw in their yard who last year could not have cared less.
    This is in Mid West, Kalamazoo, MI.

  21. Hi, I have a newly hatched monarch and she did not hang from her chrysalis, she dropped to the bottom of the container and her wings are not unfolding all the way. Any suggestions? Shall I mist her a bit to keep her wings from hardening? I placed a stick in the container and made her crawl up, but it’s been about 2 hours and no real change.

    • I had this happen last year. I took her outside, set her on a flower to let nature take it’s course. Within no time she was gone and I prefer to assume she was dry enough to fly off. Dunno, I just couldn’t watch if I lost her.

    • It sounds like an OE infection. Not being strong enough to hand after eclosing and wings not expanding are tell tale signs.

  22. Found caterpillar on butterfly weed this week and she barely ate or messed up the jar. She was truly ready because within 2 days she was clinging to the screen on top and yesterday I have a pretty green chrysalis.

    The jar is on a shelf in a pantry where the light is rarely on. Last year I just left the jar on the stairs landing in the corner, out of bright light. Now I’m worried it’s too dark in the pantry. Any help with this stage appreciated. Worried Monarch mom.

      • Madam Butterfly emerged this morning. Looking fine, just waiting for wings to dry then off she goes. Will let neighbor kids send her off. This late term butterfly is so big and beautiful, kinda hate to send her on her way but she needs to leave Michigan ASAP.

  23. Hi Monika,

    My monarch had a difficult time getting out of the chrysalis. It was stuck on one side for hours, so I held on to the twig it was attached to as she twisted to set herself free. She finally did as soon as I held onto the twig.But that wing is crumbled up to the outside and the other is extended. She’s fluttering her wings, but one looks damaged. Can I help her unfold it? Any suggestions?


      • Hi Monika,

        Thank you for your response. I have another question. Could lots of flash from picture taking cause the chrysalis stress, causing malformation? I took many, many pictures up close using a flash. I know this is not good for babies (within 3 feet of their faces), but didn’t think it might affect cats or chrysalises. Hoping for a reply. Thank you.


  24. i am near or Orlando FL it start to be cold and late for the monarch
    My last 7 caterpillars hatched put them outside but have hard time to make them go did not went to leave my finger ??? Maybe because they where warm
    I finally fund a place on the sun and it was ok after minutes, but one come back inside I do not know if I can keep it and feed it for it to survive ???
    How they do on butterflies professional house ??

  25. I have the larvae inside, but forgot to put the top cover touching the top of the milkweed. I have several now on the cover. I’m not sure if they are waiting to form the chrysalis or just lost. If the latter, I can put them back on the milkweed. They are large so maybe it’s time for them. How much time should I give them to move to the J before I put them back on the plants? Thanks for your help.

    • I have found that once the cats move away from the milkweed, they are very fragile. I would wait and see what they do. They might crawl back to the plant to do more munching, or they might make a J right there. Once the chrysalis is formed, they can be moved. I have found it takes up to three days to form a J.

  26. i have a lot of caterpillars on my milkweed (outside). is there a recommend structure I could construct that would entice the caterpillars to go to to for the chrysalis stage?

    • I am not an expert, but I think the chrysalis prefers indirect light rather than direct sunlight. The larvae like to go up – and out of the wind I would think. I’ve had to bring mine in due to inclement weather. They are doing fine with fine mesh burlap and a cardboard cover. Some have formed the chrysalis on the burlap itself and some have used the cardboard. I think they have to be able to hang down to develop properly.

  27. Hi, I have a question about a chrysalis that is about to hatch, but its turned see thru on New Years Eve and today it still hasn’t come out. I can see the orange and black monarch inside but it isn’t hatching, could the cold be slowing down the process or could something have happened to it? I’ve had them turn black and die before but never see thru- they always hatch if they make it to this point. Thanks for your input : )

    • Could be diseased or just slow. How long has it been clear? If they’re not healthy, they sometimes get stuck. I know. Brutal.

      • It was clear for three days and I couldn’t stand it anymore so I flushed him down the toilet : ( ive had them turn black before but never turn clear and then not come out. Oh well, i’m in So Cal and because of the Indian summer we had I still have caterpillars like mad on my bush- even after I pruned it back!!! so carzy : ) Thanks for your reply!

  28. Hi Monika,

    I live in San Diego and planted milkweed seeds about three weeks ago. None have germinated, although they’re inside, covered with plastic, and in a window. Do you find you need to “chill” the seeds in the frig and/or scrape the seeds to get them started? Thank you.


  29. Has anyone ever used a bird cage for housing the caterpillars? I do have a number of plants but last year I noticed that my caterpillars were not surviving because of the birds. I only had 5 butterflies for the season. I thought the cage idea would help to protect them and with a drawer at the bottom, easy to keep clean. Any other ideas would be appreciated.

  30. Pingback: How To Attract Butterflies and Birds To Your Yard - Day2Day Joys

  31. Does anyone know what it is I see when a caterpillar is finished eating and crawling to the top of a cage to attach, there is a green gooey liquid coming from its backside, what is it? is it dying? please help me, thanks

  32. My butterfly “hatched” yesterday morning but doesn’t seem to be eating. It is sitting in the sugar water but not drinking. The proboscis is curled. I have a container with the water, probably 1/4 inch deep Should I take it out of the water?

    • Butterflies often don’t eat in the first 24 hr and that is ok. If a longer indoor time is required, the most effective way I found to feed them was: take the top of a Gatorade bottle (orange may be preferable) and fill it with a 1:10 mixture of honey and water or honey and Gatorade. I put a flat stone used for aquarium tanks in it for them to rest their feet on. However, others have not found the stone necessary. If the butterfly is enclosed, it may fly to the food itself. Otherwise, hold it gently in the proper manner (see internet monarch watch or other website) and set on edge of cap.

      Unless the proboscis is stuck, when the butterfly is settled and hungry, it will unfurl the proboscis, insert it into the liquid and eat. If the proboscis is stuck, it can be gently unfurled with a toothpick, but I would watch a video if you’ve not done it before. Mona Miller has concise and informative videos on this and other subjects on Youtube. When it is done feeding, it recurls the proboscis.

      Hope this helps

  33. Hello Lovely!!!!
    I have my own milk weed with 3 day old little caterpillar crawling all over it!! i have been recording it from egg and would love to share with people who are just in love and amazed as i am!! Pictures and videos!!

  34. Pingback: Research | The Butterfly Box

  35. I am giving a lecture on raising Monarchs to the Izaak Walton League Dwight Lydell chapter next month. Is it okay that I put your article in their newsletter for those who can’t attend?

      • Hi Monika,
        The league is the oldest conservation league in the country. Most are pretty old fashioned and there are many older members who don’t use the internet.

  36. Hi
    I have one plant of Milkweed that has been very popular I have taken in at least 15 eggs and caterpillars inside and found another 6-10 caterpillars on the plant. The ones I have taken in have been doing well and growing and eating but I can’t keep my milk weed from drying out. I have tried putting leaves in wet paper towel wrapped in tin foil. Also cutting the stem of a plant and putting it in water. The leaves don’t last the day before they dry out and the stems last about two days. I feel bad cutting down milkweed that maybe another clutch of eggs could be laid on. So anyone have any tips to make a cut stem last when I put it in a cup of water?

    • Hi! Could you just bring the whole plant in so the “cats” could eat from the live plant? Maybe put a mesh expandable laundry basket over it?

      • You might try smashing the bottom inch or so of the plant, that seems to keep them fresher longer with wrapping with paper towel, hope today helps!!!

      • My milkweeds kept drying out, too, until I transplanted them into bigger pots (5 gallons). These seem to work well.
        Does anyone know which causes which: a difficult time eclosing causes a malformed butterfly, or an already-malformed butterfly inside the chrysalis causes the difficulty eclosing?


  37. when my children were younger we would hunt for monarch caterpillars and bring them in to watch become the butterfly. We planted milkweed outside our back door and we have had butterflies every year. Found some eggs today.

      • I had nothing but aphids two weeks ago… I went out and have full size caterpillars all over my milkweed!! Woo hoo! They are there and thriving despite the aphids.

        • I love everyone’s posts and questions but it would be so helpful to me if I knew what area they were coming from. I am in San Antonio, TX. Thanks!

          • I got rid of the aphids and noticed a monarch visiting several of my milkweed plants last week. Still looking for eggs or caterpillars. Woodland CA

  38. I have had some disasters already with that tachinid fly! Awful! I am bringing them inside now as eggs. I had a newly hatched guy inside the popup cage and the little stinker got right through the holes. So now I am investigating the Tupperware idea. Question: You say to put the lid on, but what about air? Thanks!

  39. Pingback: Saving the monarchs | Your community newspaper in Guelph, Ontario

  40. I just found 12 beautiful big larvae on my milkweed. I cut a large section of milkweed and brought them inside and stood them up in mason jars with water in them. I’ve covered the mason jars with saran wrap so hopefully the caterpillars will stay out of them. My question is: will the caterpillars stay on the milkweed? or will they wander off? It does not seem like they could wander off, because they would want to stay with their food source.
    Also – some aphids came in on the milkweed. Will they also stay on the milkweed, or will I wake up tomorrow with aphids all over my house?! 🙂

  41. I planted common milkweed seeds in late fall so they wouldn’t sprout, then after a cold Minnesota winter, they came up in spring. The first year when still small the plants were eaten to the ground by monarch caterpillars, and they grew back in time for more egg-layings and more butterfly development — so exciting. But the “enemies” discovered my milkweed garden after a few years. It seems the first egg-laying every year is successful, but after that it’s as if the enemies have caught on — very heartbreaking. I was able to find 2 cats on the milkweed and raised them inside. They’re in their “J” stage right now. My question: Is the dying effect of air-conditioning bad for them?

  42. I planted common milkweed seeds in late fall so they wouldn’t sprout, then after a cold Minnesota winter, they came up in spring. The first year when still small the plants were eaten to the ground by monarch caterpillars, and they grew back in time for more egg-layings and more butterfly development — so exciting. But the “enemies” discovered my milkweed garden after a few years. It seems the first egg-laying every year is successful, but after that it’s as if the enemies have caught on — very heartbreaking. I was able to find 2 cats on the milkweed and raised them inside. They’re in their “J” stage right now. My question: Is the drying effect of air-conditioning bad for them?

  43. Hi, I tried a cutting in a cup of water like you did but mine wilted almost immediately and never perked up. Your cutting in the picture looks great….How did you do yours> Thanks

  44. Pingback: Night Owl and Butterfly

  45. Because the cats had pretty well devoured my milkweed, and I found probably stage 3 cats, I hit the neighborhood, cut milkweed and placed these cats and plants in a large plastic tote lined with newspaper. I have chrysalis on the leaves of the milkweed, on the screen over the top of the tote, and hanging from a broken off stalk of milkweed. How can I transfer them to a safe butterfly mesh cage I just borrowed? Is there a way to adhere something in the cage to transfer the chrysalis to? Since the cage is borrowed I certainly don’t want to cut holes to string something through. I have about a week to do this before their time to emerge will arrive.

  46. My monarch butterflies just hatched and it was so very awesome to watched the very moment. For about 5 – 10 minutes it moved a bit, spinning slightly. It is hanging as described and pictured about yet seems lifeless!!! Is this normal while it takes the couple hours for its wings to fully form. I’m afraid it may have died. ?????

    • It sometimes hangs for a couple of hours without much movement before it climbs off its chrysalis shell and drops some rust coloured liquid when it has finished filling out its wings. If you just gently touch the tips of its wings after a couple of hours it will move. Shouldn’t be dead if it came out of the chrysalis OK. After 4 hours you should release it unless it’s late or bad weather.

      • My chrysalises opened beautifully….butterflies hung for 4-5 hours. Looked perfect and healthy. But when I took them outside, they could not fly. I have 5 of them that will flap their wings and fly 20 feet then down to the ground. Is this normal? Do I just put them on a branch and hope they figure it out? I brought a couple back inside as they seemed weak. But they did not make it inside either.
        How do you “release it” if it does not fly?
        Please respond as I will have several more opening over the next couple of days!

  47. I have one new Monarch still hanging onto its chrysalis, and another chrysalis almost ready. It is raining heavily here on the East coast, with rain in the forecast for the next few days. Will the Monarchs survive if I put them outside in a sheltered spot?

  48. Quick question. We found a caterpillar late in the season and it just this week (Oct. 1) formed a chrysalis. we’re in southern Ohio and I’m afraid that if it hatches he may not survive this late in the season. Do you think he may be okay? This next week should hopefully be in the 70’s, which I’m guessing would be okay, but the past couple of days it has been in the 50’s.


  49. I live in Northern California and have “hatched” over 10 Monarch butterflies Outside in my garden. I only would do this “naturally” and it is Not hard to due. There is only one thing that you must do: Plant milkweed and They will come!
    That easy.

  50. I live in the U.P (Upper Michigan)and I found a monarch chrysalis under a dog kennel, recently. We’ve been having a lot of rain lately and it’s been chilly and damp. Just yesterday (Nov 2) the little butterfly hatched but I found it on the ground; it’s wings kind of shriveled up.It was nearing evening so I carefully brought it inside (to keep warm.) I’ve been surprised it has survived the fall and bumping around. Not sure how to help it. ~Melody

  51. The weather is horrible it’s cool and rainy plus windy yesterday two were hatched but I think the weather had them fall and the ants ate them 🙁 today two hatched and I moved them to my screened room them seem to have finally dried but it’s dark and late, should I still release them or wait for morning?

  52. First live B-fly found yesterday, late. Wings still wavy, left outside overnight,verycold in So Cal, about 40. Still perched on same limb this AM, but moving & fluttering wings when touched. What to do? ALL of my m-weed plants develope dark brown spots & yellow leaves. Nursery says too much water. Didn’t water for 5 wks, no improvement, plus even NEW plants have same spots. Doesn’t seem to bother cats, I have lots of them. HELP! Gloria

  53. Cool Spring in New Zealand this year. Have a lot of caterpillars but haven’t seen a butterfly for ages. The new lot of butterflies are now hatching but it has taken two warm days (19 – 20°C) for this to happen. Can they delay hatching to coincide with warm weather?


  54. My name is Becky Pate from South Texas, I just got started raising the Monarch Butterfly and love doing it, I released 7 last week one was dead, I have 12 more in green cocoon waiting to come out, the Monarch is still laying eggs and I want to keep then and set them free like the others but I’m running out of milkweed, I’am going to try and plant the seeds all over my yard to grow more, does anyone have any suggestions on what else they might eat besides the milkweed, I found 2 pretty good size ones on my dill weed I’m growing and I put them in a cage with dill, and they made it, but I have read they only eat milk weed, need some input.. thanks Becky

    • They ONLY eat milkweed. You have to buy some at a nursery or find out where it’s growing. I found some in a hedgerow 5 miles away and had to go get it but now I’m growing it, thank goodness.

    • I have so many baby plants coming from last year’s….I can’t wait to see more butterflies…….all of have is yellow Flower one….

  55. I would love to buy some seeds if they are available….I have so many cats and no more milkweed (: cucumbers work for now but need more milkweed!

    Robin Dwyer
    13402 Lost Creek Rd.
    Tomball, TX 77375

    • I have a bunch of established milkweed (yellow) and I am in the Sugar Land area. Maybe we could meet halfway if you’re interested. Very healthy plants.

        • Oh, wow, that’d be lovely….right now i’m ordering seedlings off of ebay. But, my cats have gone through 20 seedlings in 4 days (: I might not be able to do anything until next week. As far as cucumbers, the cats will eat them! It works and I’ve seen the butterflies fed with cucumbers fly away from my porch. They just have to be in a certain stage (say 1/2 way through the growth cycle) You just slice a cucumber up and the cats go to it.

  56. After reading about the cucumbers, I gave some little instars a slice. They went right to it, sat on it, and ate. So cute! Also, I have 25 chrysalises right now, so my plants are almost depleted. It was great to see them eat it. Thanks for the wonderful tip!

    • You’re so welcome! I have a few chrysalis’ too and my milkweed is stripped! So I’ll be using cucumbers too soon ?

      • My last chrysalis “hatched” today. I brought in a huge cat and raised it in a wonton soup “to go” container. It’s like they have their own little caterpillar condo. It was only in there 2 days before it “spun”. I haven’t seen any more cats or eggs, so I think my season is over for now. I have plenty of milkweed. I wonder if I could ship it UPS to Tomball and it would still be good…I mean if I wrapped the roots in soil and saran wrap.

        • that would work…right now i’m getting some from ebay and he’s shipping them the same. i’ll be happy to pay your costs via paypal if you give me the email associated with your account and the fee. i think has a small box priority that might work too. if not, no big deal. i know that is a lot of trouble. i have a few outside still eating away but I do still have one bush and I can always use CUCUMBERS, lol, if the going gets rough!

  57. Let me see what I can do. I may be able to use my brother’s UPS account at no charge. (He has a business and ships UPS and FedEx every day. Plus, my plants are at least a foot high, so I don’t want to crunch them into a small box. I’ll get back with you.

    • I have seen a couple postings regarding feeding cats cucumbers. Does this work? I have turned our vegetable bed into a milkweed bed, but last summer had to scour the countryside for milkweek. Please let me know…………

      • Yes! It absolutely works. I’ve been feeding mine cucumbers since last spring when I run out of milkweed. I buy organic cucumbers, wash them and cut them in half then I quarter the halves. Put enough in the area for two cats per piece.

        • That is awesome!!!!! thank you so much!
          being in central Pennsylvania, our growing season this year is way behind, due to cooler temps. my milkweed beds are anywhere from an inch to 1 foot tall. I don’t know if they will be ready when the Monarchs arrive. But if not, and also in the fall when my plants are pretty well decimated, I will definately try that. That is so exciting! Won’t bother me at all……I eat alot of cucumbers myself! LOL!

        • I know I am sounding absolutely stupid in regards to this, but……cutting the cucumbers in half, I “assume” you do not mean lengthwise? Then cut the two halves in quarters……..are the quarters lengthwise or 4 thick round slices? Sorry…..I am a visual person….thanks for any assitance

          • I wish I had a photo….I’ve taken many but deleted from my phone. I usually bring in about 10 and put them in an aquarium with a reptile type lid and feed them cucumbers.

            Cut in half (not length wise), and then quarter those halves. It really doesn’t matter. You can slice them just like you’re going to eat them and they will still go for it. Best of luck….it’s a game changer when the milkweed is gone 🙂

        • You’re so welcome….. Just a note to all regarding the cucumbers: The cats “waste” will be more wet, now, and if you are keeping them in a container, raising inside, you’ll need to clean more often than with the milkweed which produces a more dry waste. As long as you clean more often, all should be good with the cucumbers. As I said, I’ve been doing it for over a year now and have had beautiful butterflies with it 🙂

      • Hello monarch lovers! I am looking for asclepias tuberosa seeds. If anyone has some, would you please send to me? I teach “How to Raise Monarch Butterfly” classes in adult ed, and I love to get my students started by giving them free seeds. Would you like me to pay postage? Just tell me how much!
        Please send to:

        Monarch Lover
        772 Jamacha Road
        Suite 237
        El Cajon, CA 92019

        Susie Monarch

  58. I read ALL the comments and am anxious to give it a try. I’ll probably use cucumbers since I don’t have any milkweed. I live in Western PA, is this a good time to look for the eggs?

  59. Hi Monika,
    When you notice eggs on your milkweed, what do you do at that point? Do you leave the eggs alone on the plant, let them hatch, and then bring the caterpillar inside? Or do you clip the leave with the egg from the plant and bring it in as soon as you find them?

    • I clip the leaf and bring it in because we have many predators in our yard – primarily wasps.
      I keep milkweed in cages in our house so I add it to one that has no active caterpillars because I’ve heard that the caterpillars will “accidentally” eat the eggs.
      Then, I watch them hatch and grow!

      • Thanks Silvia. We are finding that the eggs are failing to hatch when we bring them in and those that do, the cats don’t feed on the leaves so we are losing them. Very disappointing because last year we would have 20+ cats at a time feeding on our plants.

  60. I just had my first hatch today. I am so sad I missed it, but we were gone most of the day. My grandchildren enjoy the fun, but not nearly as much as this grandma does. I just found another cat tonight so that will make 12 more hatches to go! We planted red milkweed, but I would love to have some different varieties as well and would pay for postage. We use deli containers and drill holes in the lids. We put the milkweed and caterpillars inside. I keep a few so I can clean and refeed often. Then when they attach to the top I pin the lid (my husband makes a hole on the side of the lid too so it will hang) to our mesh butterfly house. Very primitive, but it works for us here in Wisconsin. I wish there was more information on what to do after they hatch. Do I need to feed them or after they dry off can I just put them outside? I usually sit them out on a flower. How long can I keep them before I release them?

    • I have read that if you keep them for more than a day you need to give them nectar. An orange slice or some people use gatorade in a small shallow dish. I do a tape test for oe to send to Project Monarch Health and then I release them, normally within 4 to 6 hours of the eclose (hatch).

    • It sounds like you’re doing a great job. I keep my butterflies at least 3 hours, usually four and then release them unless it’s late or the weather is bad. Make sure the butterflies can drop down with no interference when they come out of the chrysalides. It’s such fun raising caterpillars.

  61. I have at least thirty holes where the eggs hatched and they ate through. Now I don’t see any caterpillars at all. We have had a lot of rain. Could that have knocked them all down in the ground? Or is something eating them? These are on new plants from the nursery, could they have had some pesticides on them?

  62. What if one of the wings doesn’t fully open and all they can do is crawl around in butterfly cage? I had 7 chryalis’s and two hatched on same day this morning. I let one loose but the other one can’t fly?

  63. I have a chrysalis outside, hanging on a guara branch. It’s been there 3.5 weeks, though. It turned dark about a week ago, and then started to get transparent a few days ago. This morning, it is even more transparent. I can see the wings folded in there. The weather here in coastal central CA has been weird– it got very hot about a week ago (& I shaded the chrysalis w/ an umbrella), and for the past several days looks like winter, with temps high 65, low 52. Please tell me it isn’t dead!

    • I also live in California and know the weather well.
      3 – 5 weeks is a very long time for the chrysalis stage. Mine have always been around 2 weeks. They turn dark when they’re ready to emerge and I haven’t had one turn back to transparent. I’d advise snipping off the branch taking it in the house. If it smells, then sadly it has died. 🙁
      But take heart.Where there is one, others will soon follow.

      • I live in the Houston, Texas area and NONE of my chrysalis were fortunate enough to have a butterfly emerge. We have been having strange weather with cold snaps. Soooo, Saturday I brought in 8 cats and gave them each their own “condo”. 🙂 Happy to report that three have spun their chrysalis and I noticed two that will probably “J” today. I even caught one spinning its’ chrysalis last night. Got an AWESOME video. Good luck to all!

  64. Thank you so much for the pictures and description. You helped me identify the catepillars on my milkweed. Hope I can help them thrive.

  65. Hi all — first timer, here! I just placed three LARGE Casin a butterfly netted enclosure. The one I found on Amazon is tall enough that I can have a small potted milkweed plant inside. Do I need to provide water in another form – other than the damp soil in the clay pot? Would a sponge be a good plan or perhaps if I try feeding cucumbers that will provide sufficient moisture? THANK YOU!

    PS — I am a photographer and hoping to get neat pics!!

    • I am not sure what you mean by casin. Most monarchs should be in their overwintwering sites and not breeding. Depending on where you are there maybe breeding Monarchs. If you are out of milk. I have heard of successful feedings with cantaloupe and cucumber. Their grass will be runny so frequent chcanges are a must to keep your stock. Healthy

    • Congrats!!!! Welcome to the club. I put a damp paper towel in the bottom of my caterpillar habitat and have had good luck…but my caterpillar condos are small – made out of 32 oz. plastic containers, like large wonton soup containers. I put the damp paper towel in the bottom, a small stick slanted diagonally (so they can climb around) and feed them fresh milkweed leaves from my garden every day. Not sure if this helps. Good luck, and keep us posted!!!!

  66. My wife and I just visited Pismo Beach for the migration. We would like to try and build a habitat for them and try and add to the population. We live in the CA foothills where it gets cold as well as quite warm in the summer.
    Can we do it? We have seen few if any Monarchs in our area, so can we order eggs somewhere?
    We can grow milkweed in pots so the habitat may not be a problem.
    If we can do it can these butterflies migrate and return to us each year?
    So many questions …

    • I’m in my fourth year growing milkweed in Yolo County. Last year was the first year I got eggs and caterpillars. If you grow it evemutually they will come.

    • Whereabouts in the California foothills, Bill? Email me separately if you’d like and I will try to help. I moved from Southern California to Nevada, near the California border years ago and got interested and involved in raising monarchs 4 years ago. Email

  67. It’s April 30th and I had planted a Milkweed plant about 2-3 weeks ago which is now starting to flower. The plant is only about 18″ tall so is it too small or am I too late to have butterflies this year? I hope not – I’ve just discovered your site and I’m so excited to find that you can raise butterflies!

  68. research shows very clearly that monarchs breeding on tropical milkweed throughout the winter have higher levels of protozoan infection (caused by Ophryocystis elektroscirrha, OE)

    • I have had success raising the monarch caterpillars on my patio in San Antonio. I do keep them out of the direct sun. Have fun!

  69. How do I find milkweed seed for Northern California. The temp in summer get to be 100 and in the winter down to freezing.
    Is there also someplace that I can get caterpillars for a starter crop of Monarchs? When I was in grade school, 60 years ago, we would find them in the garden and bring them into science class.They would go through their cycle and hatch in our large aquariums.

  70. Pingback: Oceanic Wilderness

  71. I live in northern MN my last monarch caterpillar has been eating for 21 days & still hasn’t went into J is it too late in the season, will it transform? Should I mail the butterfly to a friend in CA to release or will it make the journey ok? should emerge about sept 5 to 10??

  72. Superbusy week. As of today I have 49 caterpillars. 15 are in the 4th and 5th instar stage. I am not sure if the mother is headed for the coast but she dropped a load for me this week.

  73. I have a pupa hanging from a Home Depot bucket in my garage. It’s been 16 days. It’s turned from light green, to dark green and about 4 days ago started going dark brown/black at the top. I can see the shape of a wing but it doesn’t seem to be progressing. The temps in MA have been cool. Do you think it will still hatch or has it died?

    • Mine do that too! Leave it alone. I’ve found that if you can see the wing, it will probably hatch the next day or so. So exciting!!!!! Good luck.

  74. I have been watching the cats on my milkweed. Today, I found a chrysalis on the ground, apparently knocked of a bush when using a hose. Does it have to hang? Can I hang it in some way?

    • It does not have to hang, but the butterfly needs to be able to climb up something and hang when it ecloses. A cheap mesh laundry hamper should do the trick. Even if they are on their backs, I have seen them breakout, get upright and climb up the side of my enclosure to hang and dry their wings.

  75. We are battling the evil tachinid fly. It’s killing hundreds of our monarch caterpillars, either on the plant or during the chrysalis stage. Does anyone know the best way to kill this particular fly? I can’t find it on the internet. So far, sticky fly traps are helping but not completely and watching my poor caterpillars be eaten from the inside out has been like a scary alien movie. Poor things. I know it’s just nature but it’s depressing to see dead caterpillars or deformed chrysalis everywhere.

    • I used the Dynatrap 1/2 acre flying insect trap, plus the yellow sticky paper. Not 100% successful but it will reduce the problem. Over time it gets better. Be sure to clean every once in a while.

  76. Pingback: The Garden Path Podcast

  77. Pingback: How to Bloom Alongside the Flowers this Spring | Ask Carolyn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *