Last week when I spotted a female Monarch (Danaus plexippus) on my coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), my hopes soared that this year we might host a new generation of this imperiled species in our backyard.
Today, I spotted a male and my hopes grew. I wandered over to my milkweed patch (Asclepias syriaca) to check and I found 5 instars. What a thrill! Who would have thought that seeing a caterpillar munching my plants would make me so happy?
While there are several factors leading to the decline of this unique migratory insect, including widespread use of herbicides killing off milkweed host plants, habitat loss and climate change affecting their winter home in Mexico, some scientists believe the major cause lies in the use of neonicotinoids, a systemic pesticide used in commercial agriculture and the nursery trade, which is killing pollinators that visit the flowers of contaminated plants.
It is important for us to put pressure on growers, retailers and politicians to ban the use of systemics in flowering plants, as well as urging the practice of organic methods in home gardens. We must be good stewards if we want a world that works for every species, not just humans.
Oh, Eliza, I totally share your joy in finding Monarch babies! How very exciting….let them much away, to their belly’s content! Yesterday (the day after I sent you my Female Monarch photo) my daughter took a photo of a female Monarch (on a plant I gave her…they live 3.3 miles from me…I didn’t see “my Monarch” again!) It’s so amazing for nature lovers to share such joys!
I thought of you right away, Alice. I knew you’d share my joy. 🙂 I hope you’ll soon see babies on yours, too.
Beautiful discovery! Love nature 🍃🍀💚
Thanks, Karen! 🙂
I feel like a proud mama! 😉
So cool!!! We used to have so many here but the numbers have been dwindling and dwindling. Thank you for sharing this. I’m so glad to see that they are still alive somewhere. 🙂 ❤
It does give us hope. 🙂
Yes it does😊❤️
Congratulations! Birth announcement has gone out, now enjoy your new darlings!
And thank you for the gentle reminder that humans are just one of many of Earth’s babies.
Thank you, Micheal. I’m pretty stoked! 🙂
Good for you, how exciting! I also spotted a butterfly a few days ago and lo and behold this morning found some eggs. Tomorrow I’ll collect them and start the little guys out in a safe container, it’s been several years since I was able to do this!
Great news – I hope they grow well for you. I was wondering if I should do the same, but I’m away this coming week. Maybe when I get back?
Yes, I’m away next week as well, but I just happen to have a few potted milkweeds which may tide them over in the garage while I’m away… then a few days home but then we’re going away again, so maybe they’ll be big enough then to fend for themselves at that point.
Isn’t it a thrill to find them. Watch them get fat. I’m still looking for a chrysalis on mine. I can’t find any.
I saw two more in a friend’s garden today. Feeling hopeful!
That’s great, Eliza! Congratulations!
Thank you, Kris. Can you tell I’m excited? 😉
“We must be good stewards if we want a world that works for every species, not just humans.” This is SO true, Eliza. This is truly a significant birth announcement.
🙂 After years of no butterflies, I’m pretty stoked!
Great message. Totally agree!
Reblogged this on anita dawes and jaye marie.
Wonderful news, Eliza… the Monarch is one of my favourites!
Thank you, I feel quite happy about it. I appreciate your reblogging, too!
‘We must be good stewards if we want a world that works for every species, not just humans.’
All I can say is: yes, yes, yes. You are so very right, Eliza. Thank you for continuing to blog about these issues.They’re so important …
Thank you, Rebecca. A subject I’m very passion about!
How exciting, I wish we had these beautiful butterflies here. Well done, we all have to keep plugging the message about neoncotinoids.
Yes, indeed. Thanks, Chloris.
A couple of years ago school kids brought about a dozen caterpillars to raise and release, last year none. I’ve only seen 2 monarchs so far this summer. Release days are the best, hope their are many more.
It is a precarious situation for sure. Their numbers need to build back up significantly, the more we do to support them and other pollinators the better.
Congratulations, we have been looking diligently in the fields of milkweed we hike through on a regular basis and have yet to see a caterpillar this year. In the past we have seen many. So yes, it is vital we put pressure on growers and gardeners alike to use methods of production which benefit all species which call this planet home.
Thank you, Mike. Fingers crossed their numbers increase again this year.
Yes, I hope so as they deserve a chance just as much as humans do.
Welcome to the munchers and their offspring. Gorgeous last photo. I haven’t seen one this year so thank you for sharing.
I saw two more today in another part of town with one tiny caterpillar (I was working so didn’t have time to inspect all the milkweed). So I feel quite heartened!
Sound philosophy, too, Eliza
Thank you, Derrick.
Yes! I have seen Monarchs here recently and many Florida gardeners are actively watching over the caterpillars. I have a couple of different kinds of butterflies in my garden and it is weird to be happy about your plants being eaten!
I know, it does seem contrary, but I now have host plants that I WANT to see chewed up – lol! Let’s hope this is the beginning of a glorious comeback like eagles, whales and bison.
Always hope!! Love the rewilding movement.
Absolutely! I have just found out I have Edible Passionfruit/flowers growing in my back yard. Major host plant for Gulf Fritallaries. There are Eagles here,too.
What a treat. I’ve seen one monarch this year, so far, and will start checking for eggs.
It is really so exciting – I would love to see them become common once again.
Wow, awesome! I’m looking forward to seeing the pictures of the newborns :p
Thank you, Samuel. They grow fast, but I will be taking lots of photos.
Great news on the babies!
Yes, after years of seeing not a single one, I’m thrilled!
Well said, Eliza. And what good news about your babies! 🙂
Thank you, Cathy. I’m pretty happy about it… after years of envisioning, planting, it is a dream come true! 😉
How wonderful, Eliza! I hope all goes well!
Thank you, Pete. I hope so, too.
I was so excited when I saw this title- wondering exactly what “babies” would be shown. Thank you, Eliza:0
Babies are always exciting, aren’t they? 🙂
Right you are. I’m seeing Monarchs all over the garden this year. Could it have anything to do with my now prolific asclepias collection?
I’m sure it does. Have you seen any caterpillars?
How very exciting! I have been saddened in that I have only seen one Monarch this year – and it was in flight. But I refuse to give up! Thanks for making us all aunts and uncles. 🙂
Yes, we all are pulling for this next generation. Thanks for your visit!
Terrific news Eliza! Thanks for the smile and some hope for the future generations ❣️
Thank you, Val! 🙂
Seeing these pictures and hearing this news put such a big smile on my face. How exciting to see a new generation of Monarchs! Congratulations! 😀
Thank you, Robin. I’m so pleased!
Congrats! I feel the same, after years of bringing plants and caterpillars from over-crowded plants in town. And seeing the butterflies floating around feeding from my flowers is like being blessed.
Thanks, Cath. Yes, their floating, graceful flight does feel like a blessing!
Excellent news, Eliza! Today I saw one Monarch visiting our milkweed flowers, but did not have time to run our and take its picture. Maybe tomorrow or any day in this coming week. I will also watch for caterpillars.
I hope you have eggs, too!
Excellent news and post!
It really is. 🙂 Thank you, Belinda!
Thanks, Kathy. Big doings in the country!
Yay is right!!!! I have gotten to the point when I am actually thrilled to see milkweed growing in profusion by the side of the road.
It is a big event around here after years of planting milkweed and hoping for caterpillars!
Yay! This is exciting news – I am happy to see lots of milkweed around us for these guys!
I’m praying for a rebound!
Woohoo, wonderful to see those babies! I’m smiling now 🙂
A big event in our yard! 😉
Congratulations! Great news, message and images!!!
Thank you, Denise. Fingers crossed we have chrysalises and successful hatching!
Congratulations on your babies! What a proud mama you must be!
Oh, indeed. Fingers crossed that we can grow them into butterflies en route to Mexico!
Ooo – how lovely!
Great message and something to celebrate. I love sharing our garden with a profusion of life, and don’t mind munched leaves at all – as far as I am concerned that, in part, is what they are for!
I agree – sooner or later, everything is food for something else. The great circle of life. 🙂
Cute little guys, I bet they’ve grown a bunch since these photos were taken!
I have six I’m nursing along and they’re going outside again this weekend to find their own spots to pupate. My little babies raised from eggs, I hope they’ll be ok!
Of the two I brought inside, one died inexplicably, and the other is now pupating. Of the five that were outside, I can find only two. There is another set of instars and the other day I found more eggs. Three generations! So pleased. I plan on posting an update soon.
Fantastic! YAY!! My hubby & I planted a milkweed last summer. We have many milkweed babies, and have seen a few Monarchs. Yet, we have no Monarch babies.
We live on a migratory path that has gone from sun blocking clouds of Monarchs, to a few. So sad.
Sad, indeed. I’m hoping we can turn this trend around. Living in the north, we only see migrants in ones and twos. I can’t imagine seeing thousands – what a sight that must be!
Yes, it is breathtaking! Yet, after seeing the Monarch clouds, and now seeing none … breathtaking has a new meaning.