Why do you get up in the morning? For me, it doesn’t get any better than this: I was outside in the garden yesterday to check on a squawking hen. Looking up as a shadow crossed over my head, I spotted a monarch butterfly. A very welcome sight, because this hasn’t been a good year for monarchs; she was the first one I’ve seen in our garden all year.
She flitted around several of the milkweed plants that George has planted to attract the monarchs. Milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars eat.
Finally, she found one to her liking and deposited an egg under a leaf.
If I hadn’t taken this photograph of her leaving the egg, I don’t think we would have found it, it was so well hidden.
We carefully inspected the other milkweed plants and found several more eggs. I wonder how many we missed!
The one high up in this milkweed plant (it’s the yellow dot near the center of the photo) must have been left a few days ago, because it already hatched, as did a second one George found on the same plant. This photo with the head of a pin included shows the size of the egg and the two tiny caterpillars.
Have you seen any monarchs in your garden? Are you planting milkweed to attract the females and feed the caterpillars?
Amazing pics! I get these butterflies in my backyard but never noticed the eggs… thanks for sharing!
Thanks Alex! If you have milkweed watch to see if they seem to be pausing at the plant- it’s really hard to find the eggs if you don’t see them being deposited.
I’ve been planting the milkweed but haven’t seen the Monarchs. What plant do the Swallow Tails like?
Check the underside of the leaves for eggs. We hadn’t seen any monarchs either but one had definitely been there because the egg hatched the day we found it – I believe it takes 4 days for them to hatch. Anise swallowtails lay eggs on fennel in our area. Yampah is their native larval plant, but it grows slowly. Here’s one of my posts about the anise swallowtail: https://gardendelightsarts.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/the-cycle-begins/
They like fennel, dill, rue and parsley. They are not such big eaters as Monarchs though. Good Luck!!