Monarch Monitoring 2022 Season: June Entry #1

I am all set to monitor for Monarchs this year! It is so exciting! Two days ago I saw my first monarch butterfly of the season fly over our deck in the late afternoon. An ideal day, sunny and warm, I shouted with glee as the monarch passed!

Having already entered my milkweed observations to Journey North, I’ll have to get back on their website and enter my data for a first monarch sighting for 2022!

Male Monarch on Rough Blazing Star.© Carol Labuzzetta, 2020.

Changes this year

  1. I will not raise any monarchs until August. This will allow me time to get settled at our cabin. Last year there was abundant milkweed there and I expect the peak migration will be in early September, not mid-September. This date is set according to latitude, so I’ll have to check a chart online to be sure.
  2. I am all set to monitor for the Integrated Monarch Monitoring Program (IMMP) at one of two pieces of property. I heard this morning that the Science Coordinator for Monarch Joint Venture (MJV) got approval for me to monitor a randomly selected right-of-way site in Price County Wisconsin. This made me very happy and I was very appreciative of her doing the leg work for me as far as contacting the landowner/government maintenance person to obtain permission. It takes a huge possible headache off my hands.
  3. Our milkweed here is growing well. We also saw many stems on our land in an adjacent town. This is the second place I will monitor for IMMP. I’ll pick a spot there and map it out, mark it, and monitor it during the monarch breeding season this year. If, when we build, the spot I’ve chosen to monitor is buried in dirt, I’ll just have to choose another spot to monitor and note why the previously chosen spot is not being monitored.
  4. A friend of mine has a friend near our cabin who is a teacher. She is going to check with her about opportunities for me to present about monarchs in that school district early this fall. It might not work due to vacation plans but it will be nice to have the contact.
  5. Eggs? I need to make the rounds on my milkweed plants to see if there are any eggs or larva yet. In general, our spring seems like it’s been cool and wet – definitely not ideal conditions for monarchs to be laying eggs. But, you never know until you look! I surveyed the milkweed in our yard and it all looks very healthy. There’s a possibility of an egg on a common milkweed plant. I’ll have to stop back in a day or two to see if it is still there. The shape was a little off. Typically, monarch eggs are pale yellow in color and ovoid in shape. This looked more round and was very white. I’m suspecting it might be some latex that oozed out of the leaf.
  6. One sign of caterpillars is that the milkweed leaves have been eaten. I only saw one leaf that looked like something had eaten it. Again, I’ll have to check back.

I am going to try to post on my monarch monitoring twice a month through September. Please stop back to see what I’m finding and learn more about the monarch life cycle and what you can do to help this iconic species. All photos are copyrighted by Carol Labuzzetta. There is no permission to duplicate in any form without my express permission. Thank you!

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