One of the joys of summertime for me is searching for monarch eggs. And last year, there were none. NONE. I didn’t find one single egg last year. I was worried. I was sad. I didn’t even see any monarch butterflies in my garden the whole summer. Not a single one. The organization, Monarch Watch, is trying to change that and so am I!
Yesterday, as I sat outside reading on our deck, I looked up and saw a beautiful orange and black butterfly floating around my garden.
This is the third monarch butterfly I’ve seen in my garden this year! My heart swelled with joy.
About five years ago, I planted milkweed in our back yard after having experienced the incredible transformation of egg to caterpillar to butterfly for years, and reading that the monarch population was diminishing, in part because of the destruction of milkweed plants. Today, some of that milkweed I planted is as tall as I am!
Searching for Monarch Eggs
My children and I have gone in search of monarch eggs just about every summer for the past fifteen years…along the shores of Lake Erie, in area parks, beside the parking lot at a nearby church. The eggs are oh so tiny, like the size of a grain of salt! The mama butterflies only lay their eggs on milkweed because that is the plant the baby caterpillars need to eat to grow.
Our very first summer of bringing eggs indoors, my friend Janet gave us a bunch of the tiny eggs because she had so many she couldn’t keep them all! I think that summer, we had at least eight butterflies emerge that we then released back outside.
Yesterday, I saw the butterfly, and today I found one egg! Hurray!
When I spotted the butterfly yesterday, she was not landing on the tall plants like I would have expected. Instead, she kept landing on the tiny 6 inch plant in the middle of the grass! So today, when I checked there, I found the egg. Then I found another and then another! I was overjoyed. The monarchs are back in our yard this year 🙂
Once we find the eggs, we bring the whole leaf with the egg on it inside and place it in a small tank that has a mesh lid (this becomes important later on!).
Then, we wait. I find myself checking in on the eggs every morning when I first wake up. I hurry downstairs to see what changes today will bring.
Here are the three eggs on their leaves in our tank.
Now we’ll watch and wait. I’ll keep you updated on their progress!