One of the joys of summertime for me is searching for monarch eggs. And last year, there were none. NONE. I didn’t find one single egg last year. I was worried. I was sad. I didn’t even see any monarch butterflies in my garden the whole summer. Not a single one. The organization, Monarch Watch, is trying to change that and so am I!

Summer Nature Study Raising Monarch Butterflies

Yesterday, as I sat outside reading on our deck, I looked up and saw a beautiful orange and black butterfly floating around my garden.

This is the third monarch butterfly I’ve seen in my garden this year! My heart swelled with joy.

About five years ago, I planted milkweed in our back yard after having experienced the incredible transformation of egg to caterpillar to butterfly for years, and reading that the monarch population was diminishing, in part because of the destruction of milkweed plants. Today, some of that milkweed I planted is as tall as I am!

Searching for Monarch Eggs

Milkweed plants for monarch eggs

My children and I have gone in search of monarch eggs just about every summer for the past fifteen years…along the shores of Lake Erie, in area parks, beside the parking lot at a nearby church. The eggs are oh so tiny, like the size of a grain of salt! The mama butterflies only lay their eggs on milkweed because that is the plant the baby caterpillars need to eat to grow.

Our very first summer of bringing eggs indoors, my friend Janet gave us a bunch of the tiny eggs because she had so many she couldn’t keep them all! I think that summer, we had at least eight butterflies emerge that we then released back outside.

 Yesterday, I saw the butterfly, and today I found one egg! Hurray!

Searching for Monarch Eggs

When I spotted the butterfly yesterday, she was not landing on the tall plants like I would have expected. Instead, she kept landing on the tiny 6 inch plant in the middle of the grass! So today, when I checked there, I found the egg. Then I found another and then another! I was overjoyed. The monarchs are back in our yard this year 🙂 Three Monarch Eggs

Once we find the eggs, we bring the whole leaf with the egg on it inside and place it in a small tank that has a mesh lid (this becomes important later on!).

Then, we wait. I find myself checking in on the eggs every morning when I first wake up. I hurry downstairs to see what changes today will bring.

 Here are the three eggs on their leaves in our tank.

Butterfly Tank

Now we’ll watch and wait. I’ll keep you updated on their progress!

Next: Watching Monarch Caterpillars Grow

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  1. Hi Jean,

    Oh I’m so glad that your monarchs are back! I can totally understand your excitement…

    We too love to follow monarch butterflies from eggs. There is a large milkweed bush (we call it “crownflower” here and make leis with the flowers) in the yard of our Waldorf school. We watch the life cycle of the butterflies each year and it’s such a joy…

    Enjoy the monarchs…and summer.

    Much aloha,

    1. I love the image of making leis with the milkweed flowers! They are so beautiful with all of their tiny, draping blossoms. I will now think of them as crownflowers! The monarch lifecycle is truly amazing to experience. I found another egg this morning! Happy summertime to you.

  2. I love that you do this and posted about it. We celebrate the Monarchs every year, too, as they migrate through the area. There is a park celebration we attend annually, as well. Despite this, I have never had my kids go egg hunting, but I think we will. We had a Milkweed sprouts going, but they died. We will have to try again.

    1. What fun that you have a celebration at a nearby park! Our Metroparks does that also. I encourage you to go searching for milkweed plants…it’s so magical to see these itty, bitty caterpillars grow and grow and then form a chrysalis and then transform into butterflies. I am always amazed as a parent that the magic happens when we quietly but repeatedly (there’s that rhythm!) do the same things each season. The other night when we had guests over for dinner, my twenty-something boys chimed in with stories of our butterfly experiences over the years! What joy there was in their voices. It’s a beautiful thing! Hope you find some milkweed…let me know!

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