Tag Archives: Monarch

Welcome Monarch Butterflies!

27 Aug

The 2022 migration has begun!

In late August, masses of these butterflies begin an epic trip stretching thousands of miles from areas across the United States and as far north as Canada to overwinter in mountaintops of Central Mexico.

On their way south, the amazing Monarchs pass through CV to eat our native milkweeds.

A typical Monarch travels for 30-45 days. This year, the migration is expected to pass through our area from @ Aug 23, 2022 until @ Sept 15, 2022, peaking, roughly, during the first weeks of September.

They won’t hang around long. Monarchs will travel as much as 2,100 miles, averaging 50 miles a day, to reach their destination in Central Mexico by the end of October.

Resting in the treetops, the butterflies hibernate for four months, covering oyamel fir trees (Abies religiosa) in thick layers that resemble black and orange leaves. During this period, the monarchs sit with wings folded, living off of fat reserves, until they head north in the Spring.

Want to Help Catch and Raise Butterflies Here at CV?

On nice days, we will aim to be outside at 1pm and around 4-6pm. Any grownup residents (and their kids, if they have them) can learn to help safely catch and tag the butterflies. (Watch this video from min 5 to 7 to see how to net and handle the creatures.) To get involved and learn more about when we plan to be outside, please send an email message to cvearthlab@gmail.com. We keep the pro-grade nets locked in the shed and limit shed access to active garden members (its never too late to join!)

Collecting Caterpillars to Raise

Monarch butterflies only lay eggs on milkweed, so any caterpillars found on the pink and white flowered plants are baby Monarch butterflies. We can raise these in the net habitats. — if you find one please alert the group (cvearthlab@gmail.com) and put it into the habitat with some milkweed. Its best to keep the caterpillar outside and avoid touching it (our germs can hurt them.) After a week or two , it will turn into a crysalys, transforming after 7-10 days, then emerge as a butterfly.

Learn more about Monarch Butterfly Conservation Efforts at CV here. Thanks in advance for your interest and support.


Three Fat Monarch Caterpillars Sitting

20 Jun

on the Jay St milkweed!

I will likely put them in containers later today (Monday).

More Than 50 Monarch Butterflies Passed Through CV This Fall!

13 Dec

We’ve just filed our annual report with the conservation group Monarch Watch as part of their tagging program. Gardeners placed small numbered ID stickers (tags) on the dorsal wings of 50 Monarch butterflies between August and October 2021.  With luck, a tagged (expired) butterfly will be found in Mexico, the migration destination, recovered and reported.  

A Record-Setting Year for These Special Pollinators

By far, this is the most Monarch butterflies we’ve counted in one season.  No doubt the special new net helped with catching, but a fair amount of the butterflies were found as caterpillars on milkweed plants.  The native plant species is the only type that Monarchs use for egg-laying, which is why conservation efforts call for planting as many of the drought-resistant host plants as possible. (Continued below)

Learn more about Monarch Butterfly Migration, habitat conservation and the Monarch Watch tagging program here. To date, there are 36,863 official way stations in the United States; sadly the species remains at risk, due to deforestation and the ongoing loss of natural habitats.

Migrating Monarchs Need Waystations for Food and Shelter

CVEarthlab Garden was launched in 2013 and a few years later, the play area was registered as an official Monarch Waystation.  This means it provides shelter and food for the migrating butterflies. At CV, food is three different types of milkweeds and a variety of continuously blooming nectar-providing flowers, including annuals such as marigolds and Zinnia and native perennials (plants that come back every year) such as bee balm, black-eyed Susan, echinacea, sedum, coreopsis, goldenrod, violet, and hollyhock.  

We have participated in the tagging program since 2019, but only started documenting CV Monarch caterpillar sightings around 2018.  See the tag numbers we registered in 2021 on this spreadsheet; when a butterfly with the tag number is found it will be reported here.

Want to help support the 2022 Migration? In March we will start to grow butterfly-friendly flowers at our seed-starting event; there are many ways to help with conservation in the Spring, Summer, and Fall. Send your contact info to CVEarthlab@gmail.com and we’ll keep you in the loop! -CVEarthlab Core Committee Members

Related posts: Monarch Butterfly was Tagged, Released Today (2019) ; CV Has Monarch Caterpillars! (2018) ; Why I Love Mulch! (2017) ; What’s In Our Butterfly Garden? (2014)

The Goldenrod Is Blooming

13 Sep

Timed to coincide with the Monarch migration the showy goldenrod is sure to attract even more of the butterflies.

Today’s Monarch Migration Happenings: 9-11-2021

11 Sep

After naming, tagging, and releasing 13 newborn Monarch butterflies on Friday, we had more insect fun on Saturday. Two females, Lola (above) and Flyer (below), were netted, tagged, and released.

We watch, we wait, and eventually catch the butterflies with nets — swooping down when they’re feeding from one of the white butterfly bushes in the play area.

We capture caterpillars that we spot on milkweed plants. This is the only plant that hosts them, the only place a female will lay eggs, so when we see a caterpillar on milkweed, we know it’s a Monarch.

Marley, shown above, was discovered, named, and placed inside a habitat. She’ll eat milkweed leaves for the next week, until she’s big enough to go into a chrysalis in which she’ll transform into a butterfly over 7-10 days. You can see the lifecycle here:

We found and housed 4-5 swallowtail caterpillars in a habitat, but we don’t study or tag these, typically. We’re working with Monarchs as part of a citizen science project from MonarchWatch, a group that helps conserve the important pollinators. Learn more here.

The Monarch Migration is forecast to continue to move through Brooklyn until about Sept 26th — we’re smack in the middle peak season! Stay tuned for more local reports. –Denise

Read posts from previous migrations:

Monarch Butterfly was Tagged, Released Today (2019; CV Has Monarch Caterpillars (2019;


2:30-3pm Friday, 9/10: Big Butterfly Release!

9 Sep

We plan to tag and release 13 Monarch butterflies from the garden tomorrow. All are welcome to watch — and we’d love help taking photos and video!  See pics from a previous release here.

My New Monarch Tagging Method

6 Sep

I spotted a couple today, around 1pm. Since I was in the garden alone, I called Benji to help me tag. I was able to hold onto the body through the net while Benji attached tagging sticker. After tagging each with ACUS 732 and ACUS 733, we released the two females.

Esp with the big net, it seems fine to let’em hang for a bit.

@1pm seems to be THE TIME for Monarchs to visit the play area. Check it out on the next sunny day! Just a couple weeks left before migration peaks. — Denise

Pre-migration Monarchs Persist

23 Jul

This looks like a female, here’s hoping she left behind some eggs! Keep an eye on the milkweed outside play area near honeysuckle, lavender, and comprey plants.

Caterpillars Are Secure

6 Jul

A couple of hours after Shari tucked them into the bush when the wind kicked up, I moved the habitats into elevated crates. Both Marco and his young friend Polo were snug in their chrysalises, still attached to the mesh roofs of their homes. Stay safe guys!

Two Monarch Caterpillars Prepare to Transform

4 Jul

Butterfly habitats hang on a large bush behind 195 Adams Street, just outside the Children’s play area.

Check out the caterpillars if you walk by the garden shed. Both were found within the last week and will likely move to the pupate stage later this week… If all goes well, they should emerge as Monarch butterflies by mid-July.

To learn more about Monarch waystation and conservation efforts at CV, including wildlife support, read about them here, and follow this blog via email notifications. We will be searching for caterpillars, catching, tagging and releasing butterflies later this summer, when the 2021 migration starts to pass through Brooklyn en route to Mexico.

Day 10 of Monarch Chrysalis: Butterfly Will Emerge Within Days

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