Who doesn’t love a monarch butterfly? Just about everyone loves butterflies, but the monarch, with its bold orange and black pattern (which some other butterflies mimic) is the favorite of many, old and young alike. Not only is the adult beautiful, but the caterpillars are striking, and the chrysalis, in which the caterpillar trasnforms into an adult butterly, is beautiful as well, looking like a jeweled case.
If you would like to attract monarchs to your yard, you will need food for the caterpillars, and sources of nectar for the adults. The caterpillars eat only one food- milkweed. It can be common milkweed, swamp milkweed, tropical milkweed, or butterfly weed, but they need milkweed, and plenty of it! I have a tiny yard but am growing all of these varieties. To attract the adults you also need to have some colorful flowers in your yard. Any of the popular annuals will do.
We have all grown up hearing that monarchs are poisonous, due to their food source, the sap of which is poisonous. However, that does not mean that nothing preys on them. The caterpillars can get a virus, and other insects, such as wasps, prey on them. In fact, sometimes yellow jackets will sting and kill an adult butterfly!
Chrysalis in one of my flower pots
I was lucky enough, two years ago, to have many monarchs in my yard, and the photos are below. This year I am helping mother nature along, and am raising some caterpillars (which I ordered online) in an enclosure, to keep them safe. If you would like more information about attracting butterflies to YOUR yard, or about raising them, please text or call me at (864)214-6247. Of course I would love to answer your real estate questions as well!
Newly emerged butterfly on begonia