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It’s been several years since I’ve had many Monarch Butterflies on the farm. About five years ago Milkweed started growing in my garden. Since I wasn’t using the entire garden I let it grow. For several years in a row I found large numbers of Monarch Caterpillars on the Milkweed plants.

Monarch Caterpillars

Monarch Caterpillars

A couple of years later the Milkweed had established itself in several other places on the farm so I decided to remove it from the garden. This was easier said than done. The root system is large and the roots are even larger. I’ve spent the last couple of years hoeing it under several times a week and it is still growing.

Monarch Caterpillar

Monarch Caterpillar

Last week my wife and I were gathering produce from the garden and my wife found a Monarch Caterpillar on the ground. I decided to move it to a patch of milkweed growing nearby. Over the next week I found about a half dozen Monarch Caterpillars in the garden. I noticed they were attaching themselves to the young milkweed plants still growing in the garden. As I hoed the garden I carefully remove the caterpillars and moved them to the nearby milkweed plants.

Monarch Caterpillar

Monarch Caterpillar

I haven’t quite figured out what is going on because there are no milkweed plants in the garden that are over three inches tall but the caterpillars seem to gravitate to them.

Monarch Caterpillar

Monarch Caterpillar

Up until a couple of days ago I didn’t know if the caterpillars that I had moved survived but as it turned out they are flourishing in their new location. Every time I go out the check on them they are eating as fast as they can.

Monarch Caterpillar

Monarch Caterpillar

I’m concerned that they are not going to survive to migrate south because the Monarch Butterfly migration is currently underway in this area.

Monarch Caterpillar

Monarch Caterpillar

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2 Comments

  1. I am working on a local project to protect pollinators in our city, Ann Arbor, Michigan. I will be making a presentation to a public grade school class next week. Would you allow me to use photos from your Monarch collection? I want to include information on multiple pollinators, and the life process of Monarchs is one that students follow well. I will appreciate hearing from you. Your photos are beautiful!


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