Early Summer Treasure Trove

What follows is an account of my best egg find ever . . . a real treasure trove.

We just ended June 2017. It’s been a fabulous summer so far. The milkweed has been growing gangbusters since early May. The older, common milkweed plants have beautiful, aromatic pink blooms dangling from the tops, weighing them down. Some of the milkweed plants have been clipped near the top to remove yucky, aphid-covered leaves. Others were chopped in half to encourage double-branching for more fresh leaves later in the summer.

Mikel (my neighbor and monarch helper) and I both noticed that monarch eggs were few and far between since our big haul back on May 22. (Here’s the link if you didn’t get to read it: Sunshine, Blue Sky, and Monarch Eggs . . . Finally) Those butterflies emerged over the last few days (June 24-28) and things have been quiet since then.

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This afternoon I walked to my front garden to collect a fresh milkweed leaf for my one big caterpillar. I was heading back in when I glanced over at some rose milkweed just starting the top buds of color. My eyes landed on some flecks of white sitting on the buds. Imagine my surprise, when upon closer inspection, I realized they were monarch eggs! Of course, I grabbed my camera. Then, I grabbed my scissors and egg container. Over the next 15 minutes I found 25 brand new monarch eggs! So shiny and bright . . . it’s hard to believe that so many eggs can be tucked into their special hiding spots without us noticing the depositor.

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Did I mention that every egg was found on rose milkweed only? Not a single one was found on the common milkweed. Or the spider milkweed. Or the showy milkweed. Or the whorled milkweed. Or the butterfly weed. That’s one picky mama monarch!

These eggs are the second generation of our summer in Wisconsin . . . the great-grandchildren of the winged wonders that flew from Mexico. The adventure continues with new waves when you least expect it. Have fun! Be sure to let me know what your monarch adventures have been.

A Quick Review

The Mexico generation (the parents) returned to Texas in March. Their children were born in Texas and flew north across the Midwestern States. Those are the butterflies that laid eggs on our Wisconsin milkweed on May 22. The grandchildren were born here (in late June) and are preparing the next wave, the great-grandchildren . . . the eggs I just found today. They will emerge in early- to mid-August. Will they fly to Mexico? Possibly. Some of them might lay more eggs for a September wave bound for Mexico. No one really knows these exact details. The weather plays a large part in relocating the butterflies each year. Warmer weather encourages more milkweed growth. Could we have extra generations in really productive summers? I think yes. Will we ever really know? It doesn’t matter. The population census is reported in mid-February while the butterflies overwinter in Mexico. Simply take care of the monarchs where you live . . . the rest will fall into place.

GO FIND A MONARCH EGG TODAY!


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