Monarchs, Where are They in 2013 ?

Monarch on Giant Sunflower in my fall wildlife garden

I am very concerned about Monarchs

This year, I’ve been asked more times than I can count, “Where are the Monarchs?”

It is now fall and Monarchs are migrating through Cape May on their way south to the mountains of Mexico where they will winter. They’re not absent.  We’re seeing some.  But few came from our wildlife gardens, where previously our gardens were responsible for generation after generation.  My garden in all of 2013 (so far) has attracted less than 20 Monarchs and I’ve only found 1 caterpillar.  That’s OFF, big time!

I fear that this coming winter (2013-2014) their numbers at the winter roost sites in Mexico will be even lower than last winter, which was the lowest in 20 years.

Read my latest post on Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens, “Where are the Monarchs in 2013?” to learn about the plight of eastern Monarchs and why we’re seeing so few.

If you are not familiar with the many posts I wrote for Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens (as well as the other excellent daily posts), you might want to bookmark the site and learn from it daily.

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Late-breaking GREAT news (and photos) from Jean Gutsmuth!

At the garden of a friend in Haddon Heights, New Jersey, the numbers of chrysalises hanging from EVERYWHERE on her house and garage is amazing;  she estimated 95 to 100 on September 20, 2013.  They are hanging from eaves, window sills, around door frames, and even on the bricks of her house.  The friend shared that she never saw more than perhaps two pairs of monarchs at one time.  Although she had a fairly good size garden of milkweed, it is pretty well stripped.   Thank you Jean for giving us this GREAT news and sharing your photos.  Let’s hope there are many more pockets of Monarchs like this!

sm-95 chrysalises (Haddon Heights GDN)-by JeanGutsmuth-9-20-13 (001) sm-95 chrysalises (Haddon Heights GDN)-by JeanGutsmuth-9-20-13 (002) sm-95 chrysalises (Haddon Heights GDN)-by JeanGutsmuth-9-20-13 (003) sm-95 chrysalises (Haddon Heights GDN)-by JeanGutsmuth-9-20-13 (005) sm-95 chrysalises (Haddon Heights GDN)-by JeanGutsmuth-9-20-13 (006)

4 Replies to “Monarchs, Where are They in 2013 ?”

  1. Pat, I saw one monarch on my butterfly bush yesterday. Only the third I’ve seen in my yard this year.
    Just reporting . . .

  2. They seem to indeed be in “pockets” this year. I know people who are very keen on monarchs and monarch education, and are always on the look out for them. This year I am hearing the same thing from them… very few, if any. But in my yard, I’ve been seeing Monarchs since spring. Not 100s, but a fairly constant 1, 2, 3 to 4. And they were obviously busy!! So far this year I’ve tagged over 60, gave over 25 to a teacher/friend who shared them with other teachers and still have about a dozen or so in chrysalis. With those 60+ I wasn’t really searching for them; they seemed to be everywhere in my yard and I only live about 8 miles from Pat!
    The one thing I can say is that this year was the best year for common milkweed in my yard. It was gorgeous! In June I cut some of it back and again in July. This forced the milkweed to re-sprout new growth, and bushier growth!, just in time (apparently) for monarchs to get serious about laying eggs!

  3. Thrilled to see Monarchs someplace! Gives me hope for next year. One question. How did the cats get to the house? Quite a feat for them from milkweed to house!
    This year my own garden was very poor. Milkweeds didn’t sprout until July. A few bloomed in late September. I wound up buying milkweeds in July from our local nursery. Still no sign of eggs or cats. Mexican sunflower bloomed (LATE) in September along with the Cosmos. Both were busy from July on last year! In my situation, I blame the weather; cool, wet, cloudy spring into a relatively cool and cloudy summer. Saw Tiger swallowtails throughout the summer, and a solitary Viceroy late September. Most of the fennel was devoured by the black swallowtail cats. Great!, that’s what they were there for. Parsley untouched (except by me for our meals), no sign of eggs or cats on parsley. And still no Monarchs.

    1. Hi Carol, believe it or not, caterpillars go on quite a “walk about” looking for the best place to go into the chrysalis stage. This exploration can take them a good distance away from the plant they grew up on, in this case the milkweed patch. Keep having fun with your garden and thanks so much for sharing! Pat

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