Knowledgebase

Monarch Butterflies #759673

Asked July 02, 2021, 1:25 PM EDT

I live in Middleburg Heights, Ohio. I have numerous milkweed plants in bloom in my gardens, planted there specifically for bees and butterflies, but no butterflies have appeared, let alone any Monarchs. What's happening? Thanks for your response.

Cuyahoga County Ohio

Expert Response

Hello,

As this website, from Monarch Joint Venture points out, https://monarchjointventure.org/faq/no-monarchs-in-my-milkweed-patch it may take a long time for monarchs and other pollinators to find your plants. The larger the stand of milkweed, the better the chance that it will be found. This website also has links to native milkweed plants for the various regions of the US, gardening for monarchs, and good sources for milkweed plants.

It may also be possible that some eggs have been laid and the pupae and chrysalis of the butterflies were present, and there is a predator or predators in your garden. This website lists monarch predators, insect and disease, that can harm any eggs or caterpillars that have been laid or taken up residence on your milkweed. https://monarchbutterflygarden.net/stop-monarch-predators/

Do you have a variety of native milkweeds in your yard? The female butterfly likes to have a variety of species to choose from. These plants should be native to your area. Tropical milkweed sold in garden centers can be detrimental to the butterfly and should not be planted.

Is your milkweed planted away from wind and in a sunny spot? Wind can be detrimental to these beautiful creatures; they like to bask in the sun. Female butterflies will lay their eggs in a wide stand of milkweed with other flowers around (they will like the nectar from other plants), bask in the sun near the milkweed stand and generally choose where they want to lay their eggs.

Finally, and this is most important, be patient. Monarchs finding your milkweed patch is a little like going away and not filling your birdfeeders. The birds won’t visit for a while, but eventually, they will find the food sources and come back. Monarchs take awhile to find new patches, but they eventually will.

Thank you for helping out pollinators.

Christine Hudak -MGV Replied July 05, 2021, 6:14 PM EDT
Thank you so much for such detailed information.  My milkweed plants are the natural type found in the wild.  I'll be following all your instructions listed.  One note here:  A Monarch showed up yesterday, the first one -- I hope he goes home and tells his neighbors where to find the feast!

Best regards,
Jean


On Monday, July 5, 2021, 06:14:56 PM EDT, Ask Extension <askextension@eduworks.com> wrote:


jean balbin Replied July 05, 2021, 10:55 PM EDT

You are so welcome for the information. I guess, plant it and they will come is true! Enjoy their beauty. I'm sure more will come by and visit. 

Thank you so much for such detailed information. My milkweed plants are the natural type found in the wild. I'll be following all your instructions listed. One note here: A Monarch showed up yesterday, the first one -- I hope he goes home and tells his neighbors where to find the feast!

Best regards,
Jean


On Monday, July 5, 2021, 06:14:56 PM EDT, Ask Extension <askextension@eduworks.com> wrote:


Hello,

As this website, from Monarch Joint Venture points out, https://monarchjointventure.org/faq/no-monarchs-in-my-milkweed-patch it may take a long time for monarchs and other pollinators to find your plants. The larger the stand of milkweed, the better the chance that it will be found. This website also has links to native milkweed plants for the various regions of the US, gardening for monarchs, and good sources for milkweed plants.

It may also be possible that some eggs have been laid and the pupae and chrysalis of the butterflies were present, and there is a predator or predators in your garden. This website lists monarch predators, insect and disease, that can harm any eggs or caterpillars that have been laid or taken up residence on your milkweed. https://monarchbutterflygarden.net/stop-monarch-predators/

Do you have a variety of native milkweeds in your yard? The female butterfly likes to have a variety of species to choose from. These plants should be native to your area. Tropical milkweed sold in garden centers can be detrimental to the butterfly and should not be planted.

Is your milkweed planted away from wind and in a sunny spot? Wind can be detrimental to these beautiful creatures; they like to bask in the sun. Female butterflies will lay their eggs in a wide stand of milkweed with other flowers around (they will like the nectar from other plants), bask in the sun near the milkweed stand and generally choose where they want to lay their eggs.

Finally, and this is most important, be patient. Monarchs finding your milkweed patch is a little like going away and not filling your birdfeeders. The birds won’t visit for a while, but eventually, they will find the food sources and come back. Monarchs take awhile to find new patches, but they eventually will.

Thank you for helping out pollinators.

Christine Hudak -MGV Replied July 07, 2021, 3:55 PM EDT

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