Every year around the end of July i start looking for Monarch butterflies. Some years i see quite a few, and some years i don't see any. This year i've only seen 3 so far, and they were just passing through.
The monarch population has been declining for years, because of pesticides and loss of habitat, but i've been seeing a lot of articles this year saying the monarch population is on the rise! Such great news!
Around this time each year, i go out and collect monarch eggs so that we can raise the caterpillars inside. In the wild, only 1 out of 10 monarchs survive to adulthood. So by raising them inside away from predators, and lawn mowers we really increase the survival rate. We still occasionally lose a few due to disease (usually infected milkweed) or already infected caterpillars (full of wasp larva) but i still feel like we are helping the population by raising them inside.
Yesterday i went out looking for monarch eggs and instead found several caterpillars!
So we brought them home to raise inside protected from the predators and county mowers, who mow down all the milkweed each year.
i brought home 4 to raise inside in a glass aquarium, and will be checking for more all week. i'll keep y'all updated on their progress and release. Even though population is increasing, i still plan to help keep it that way by raising and releasing as many as we can!