Monarchs have been rare in Nevada this year. Just as they have been rare the last decade. But this year is different. This year I have taken action to promote monarch habitat by growing milkweed. In addition I am taking notice of habitat loss. Furthermore I am counteracting habitat loss by planning Fall planting in addition to growing my own butterfly garden. Today my wife said she saw a monarch fly thru our yard yesterday. I know I can make a difference.
The photo above shows a monarch egg that I found on a milkweed leaf in August 2014. From the egg I can see that monarchs are trying to survive. But thru have it hard in the wild. Rarely do more then 5-10% of eggs become butterflies. Often they get devoured as tiny caterpillars. Sad as it may be, it's true.
It's not to difficult to locate the monarch butterflies. For me, I just head to the area that has the highest density of milkweed. Either East or West of Reno I can find sprawling milkweed patches and monarch. The monarchs are not abundant like I would prefer. There are often only one to five that I can identify on any given day. The photo above is the second monarch I saw on August 8th 2014 by Mayberry Park.
On this walk I was poking around every milkweed plant I saw. I was looking to see the progress of the seed pods. I was also inspecting leaves for monarch eggs. Not getting any results for quite a while and nearly running out of fresh water. I was about to call it quits.
I'm glad I persisted. Because seemingly out of nowhere I saw the beautiful monarch caterpillar eating away under a leaf. Careful not to disrupt its appitite I was able to capture the photo above and even a short video that I shared on twitter. See my twitter profile @growmilkweed
It really made my day great seeing that a tiny monarch egg can become a healthy hungry caterpillar. I hope you enjoyed my experience. I look forward to sharing encounters like this with many people as I dpread the word about milkweed and it's popularity among the monarch population.
Brad Grimm at GrowMilkweedPlants.com
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June 2015 Monarchs Everywhere
February 2015 Podcast launch
January 2015 Monarch Count
January 2015 Winter 2014
November 2014 - Welcome
October 2014 - Migration