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Caring For Monarch Butterflies
Monarchs Need Milkweed
Monarch caterpillars ONLY eat milkweed. In fact, the monarch butterfly is also known as the “milkweed butterfly.”
The female Monarch butterfly will lay her eggs on the milkweed plant. When the egg hatches the milkweed plant provides all the nourishment the monarch needs to transform the Monarch caterpillar into the adult butterfly.
WITHOUT MILKWEED WE WILL NO LONGER HAVE THE MONARCH BUTTERFLY.
But these plants are rapidly disappearing, due to the loss of habitat stemming from land development and the widespread spraying of weed killer on the fields where they live.
This is why it is important for local gardeners like your self to incorporate Milkweed into your garden. By planting milkweed and pollinator plants you are creating a "habitat" for not only the Monarch Butterfly but ALL pollinators. You will see your garden come alive with honey bees, bumble bees and many other butterfly species.
Wild or Cage raise?
It's really up to you, just understand that cage raising comes with a lot of work and responsibility. Monarchs raised in the wild will suffer the consequences of predators and elements but that is nature but will also suffer the consequences of improper cage raising. If you cage raise you must be diligent about keeping your cage clean and milkweed plentiful and healthy.
No matter which method you choose, NEVER use pesticides or chemicals to remove "pests". Remember - the Monarch Caterpillar has to eat the leaves for food! You will kill the caterpillar if it eats chemicals. Sometimes you may see aphids. Just check your plant for caterpillars and remove them to a safe container for a minute. Give your milkweed plants a nice wash with a strong stream of water and knock off the aphids, then place the caterpillars back on the plants.
Cage Raising Monarchs
If cage raising is something you would like to try the survival success rate of the Monarch from egg to butterfly is much higher if you follow proper prceedures. Cage raised Monarchs have about 90% success rate egg to butterfly if you are diligent about keeping your cage CLEAN and not overcrowded. Wild Monarchs have a much lower success rate, somewhere between 5-10% but that is the nature of things. While the success rate for cage raised is much higher for cage raising, it will require some work on your end. If cage raising is something you would like to do, here are some things to take into consideration.
Purchase a Butterfly Habit Rearing Cage
Plant some Milkweed in planter bags for easy cage raising and growing health of plant. Planter bags also work GREAT if you don't have much garden space available.
Download this AMAZING "Raising Monarch Butterflies" PDF Book for EVERYTHING you need to know!
Cage Raising Monarch Butterflies
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