Monarch struggles

Maybe I haven’t taken time to notice but it seems like the butterflies are not as plenteous this year.  I enjoy seeing these graceful forms of creation, and their struggles to become what they were destined to become. 

I’m thinking of what we did for the monarch butterflies during the past two years to help them populate. I prepared a little information and gathered some of our photos as well as video clips. 

Since the lizards enjoy the caterpillars so much I built a crude little vertical, rectangular, screened-in house for the monarchs to munch on milkweed. And, WOW, did they munch. It was amazing how they multiplied. I had a challenge keeping sufficient milkweed plants in their house.

I stopped by Ace Hardware one day and happened to notice this nice, larger, butterfly house. They weren’t selling it but it sure posed some ideas of expansion. Well, back to the growth process.

I think you’ll get a laugh out of the video piece as one monarch can’t get a little piece of leaf off its antennae (tentacles), and the challenge of finding a place to “hang out.” 

We can learn from the butterfly – to not give up but persevere through the challenges.  That’s what I thought when I looked back over my photos and video clips.

The monarchs really enjoy feasting on the milkweed plants, and then they mate.  Females lay their eggs . Caterpillars hatch, feast, chrysalize, and metamorphose into new butterflies, which set off northward toward yet new breeding grounds.

Come fall, the great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren of the original migrants head south, returning to trees that neither their parents nor even their grandparents ever knew.

Apparently many believe the monarch butterflies are the most beautiful of all butterflies, and are considered the “king” of the butterflies, hence the name “monarch.”

Monarch butterflies go through four stages during one life cycle, and through four generations in one year.

The four generations are actually four different butterflies going through these four stages during the year until it is time to start over again with stage one and generation one.

Here is some neat information from  In March and April the eggs are laid on milkweed plants. They hatch into baby caterpillars, also called larvae. It takes about four days for the eggs to hatch. Then the baby caterpillar doesn’t do much more than eat the milkweed in order to grow.

After about two weeks, the caterpillar will be fully-grown and find a place to attach itself so it can start the process of metamorphosis. It will attach itself to a stem or a leaf using silk and transform into a chrysalis. Although, from the outside, the 10 days of the chrysalis phase seems to be a time when nothing is happening, it is really a time of rapid change.

Within the chrysalis the old body parts of the caterpillar are undergoing a remarkable transformation, called metamorphosis, to become the beautiful parts that make up the butterfly that will emerge.

The monarch butterfly will emerge from the pupa and fly away, feeding on flowers and just enjoying the short life it has left, which is only about two to six weeks. This first generation monarch butterfly will then die after laying eggs for generation number two.

The second generation of monarch butterflies is born in May and June, and then the third generation will be born in July and August. These monarch butterflies will go through exactly the same four-stage life cycle as the first generation did, dying two to six weeks after it becomes a beautiful monarch butterfly.

Let’s enjoy life all around us and take time to think about the butterfly.  They can help us relate to life a little better.

Blessings along the Way!


36 thoughts on “Monarch struggles

  1. Wow…..just wow. This post.
    First, thanks for writing this. I can completely appreciate EVERYTHING you said here. The efforts you made to feed them their beloved milkweed! Amazing. The caterpillar trying to fling the leaf and wiggling so much brought quite a few giggles! 😊

    Awesomely awesome, Ronnie. The things you share are always so touching. You have a way of looking at the world in a beautiful way and you see beauty in places open our eyes.

    I have a very…um, well, interesting story about a Monarch butterfly that flew into my house last summer after Nick’s funeral. 🙂 And, I did a poem called “Chrysalis” which I’ll re-post at some point. Butterflies are one of God’s most powerfully beautiful creatures. So much beauty in such a small thing.

    This made my day! 💖

    1. Wow, too! Such wonderful and encouraging comments Kara. I watched the butterflies struggle to live and attempted to keep the lizards from them too?

      I built this little make-shift house for them and it was amazing how they flourished.

      Some naturally didn’t survive – I guess because they couldn’t dry their wings properly. I attempted to help them but that didn’t do much.

      I was elated to see them suddenly fly away into freedom. Such a joy.

      Your caring words made my day too. Thank you. 💖

  2. How marvelous! I would love to do this. I find all butterflies to be magnificent. When we lived in Costa Rica we saw so many Blue Morpho butterflies. Wouldn’t you love to see the migration when it reaches South America? 💕

  3. These past few years our thick stand of milkweed has attracted a few generations of monarchs. We are thankful. Last year I guided one through to flight. A rewarding experience.

    1. Fantastic Michael. Glad to know. It is really intriguing to watch the process – and a sense of accomplishment. Thanks. 🙂

  4. “We can learn from the butterfly – to not give up but persevere through the challenges.” Wonderfully said! Thank you for all you’re doing for our butterfly friends 🙂 We had quite the migration here in California this spring.

  5. Butterflies have always been a favorite of mine. I used to teach about the migration of the monarchs in my Spanish classes. Amazing part of God’s creation!

    1. That’s neat Vicklea. I agree that they are amazing and certainly reflect God’s variety and desire to provide us beauty here on Earth.

  6. I m old school, trust myself first, not technology, oh oh oh, except when it comes to math… winks and sends a hug your way

    1. Aww, thank you so much. You’re so kind. I agree that they certainly are one of God’s beautiful creatures. And He did it for us. 😊

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