After our successful Monarch Butterfly experience in 2014, I spent much of last summer eagerly anticipating a new crop of caterpillars. Late in September, they arrived.
Despite the fact that the milkweed was beginning to die back in anticipation of fall, the caterpillars molted through multiple instars.
Unfortunately, none of the caterpillars survived to maturity. Over a period of three or four days, I found a few caterpillar bodies curled under the milkweed, but most simply disappeared.
Frustrated by this failure, I moved the milkweed into what I hope will be a healthier location. I also added seeds given to me by a friend. The seeds haven’t sprouted yet, but the yard’s old milkweed seems happy in its new surroundings. So I am once again eagerly anticipating a new crop of caterpillars.
According to the Journey North tracking map, Monarch Butterflies have been sighted in South Carolina and Tennessee. Hopefully, by the time they get to Virginia, the yard will be ready!