Monarchs one year,none the next?

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  • #32857


    I’ve been seeing these reports on the forum with people having great monarch years, then no sign of them the next.

    Is this a common thing, or is it something new? How are numbers of the butterflies anyway? Increasing, or not? And what is their southermost distribution?

    I’m trying to put lots of work into a butterfly garden this year, I’ll be kinda peeved if they ignore it next year lol.

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  • #33013


    Hi, new to the forum. We have been nurturing Monarchs for about 5 years with variable results until this year. We had 3 emerge about 3 weeks ago and in the last 3 days we have had 34 healthy butterflies emerge, just wondeful to see. There seems to be fewer mantis’ this year and they have certainly done damage in the past, still got nasty wasps unfortunately. Probably about 20 more butterflies to come in the next few days. The swan plants are demolished of course but new growth is showing now. All up we had at least 70 caterpillers, many killed and some wandered off to pupate and I doubt we have found them all. Great year and yes it seems to vary enormously year to year. We are in Otaki.




    You could be right Katrina, I actually have a few butterflies, who laid masses of eggs, I think about 20 hatched out, and now I’m almost having to beat the monarchs off with a stick, as I’m having so many visit and lay eggs on my poor swan plant (a self seeded one which started all this caper!) and I’m pretty sure they must be the ones raised here.

    So, I”m just musing about what next year may look like, after reading that people may not see any, after having lots the year before.

    Glad you have managed to introduce them to your neighbourhood, they are just so lovely, addictive even! 🙂



    Now I am no expert but I do know that this is the first year I have put swan plants outside and I have had monarch laying today here in Dunedin where many report no visitors at all.  I have got to wonder if the fact that I raised and released many monarchs I was able to “import” as eggs from kind forum members has meant that these butterflies have returned to my property they were released from to lay their eggs?  
    It might be worth getting some eggs if you are getting no natural visitors next season to get the ball rolling?
    Katrina 🙂

    Sent from my iPad



    Thanks Jacqui, wow, Stewart Island, I wouldn’t have thought it! I’m being a bit facetious about my garden, even if the butterflies don’t make it next year, there will be lots of very happy bees bumblebees and other bugs!! 🙂



    Hi BlueSkyBee – if you’re putting in a butterfly garden I can highly recommend the on line course which starts next week. You can’t guarantee anything in Nature – Nature is… natural. It tells us what is going on out there. But you can do the “best you can” the more you know about habitat.

    Some years ago there were sightings of Monarchs down Stewart Island – but haven’t had any for a few years. Does that mean that no-one has bothered to report them? Or does it mean that there are no Monarchs down there? Don’t know! I do know that an Invercargill school has just signed up for tagging – so they have Monarchs.

    Hope that helps.

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