Now is the time that the monarch butterfly is migrating back to Mexico for the winter. As this generation stops off at Point Lookout, Maryland, we will catch them in a butterfly net and place them in a hamper net until we are ready to tag them with an identification number placed on their wing so that their journey is recorded.
Last weekend, I assisted with the tagging of 100 monarchs over a two-day period. Some of the butterflies were mating, with the larger female butterfly carrying the male as they mated in flight. These fertilized eggs will overwinter and hibernate along with the butterfly until spring. When the butterfly awakens in spring, she will start the journey north, laying those eggs on milkweed plants.
Be sure to plant a diverse selection of late-season nectar sources in your garden, and visit monarchwatch.org to learn more.
by Robyn Affron