I thought we had missed monarch season this year. The swamp milkweed grew, flowered, and developed seed pods, all without any monarch butterflies.
And then, just when I stopped squishing the aphids on the plants, a lone butterfly fluttered around the back yard. Several times it landed on the milkweeds. And this past Sunday my son-in-law spotted the first tiny caterpillars, each about 1/2 inch long.
So, on Monday Ted pulled the old aquarium out of the shed. I searched under leaves and found over a dozen caterpillars! They're getting bigger, and I'm fighting the aphids to protect their milkweed food supply. The aquarium protects them from predators. Soon I'll put branches in for their chrysalises.
This year has been a tough one on the monarch butterfly population. Already under threat from herbicides, pesticides, and habitat loss for themselves and the milkweeds they depend on, a huge storm in Mexico is estimated to have killed 7.5% of the migrating butterfly population.
Last year I raised one butterfly indoors. This year I hope at least a dozen will successfully hatch. Now that really would be seeing beautiful!
If you missed the hatching of last year's butterfly, the post is here. The video is at the end of the post.
Happy Seeing Beautiful! Thanks to Sugar the Golden Retriever for hosting this blog hop.