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by Tony Gomez

12 months ago

Raising Book Resources

Raising Hope for the 2021 Monarch Migration- Raise The Migration Results


Share Your Raise The Migration 2021 Experience in a Comment Below

12 months ago

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By Tony Gomez

Raise the Migration 2021- Share Your Experience Raising Monarch Butterflies

by Tony Gomez

12 months ago

Raise The Migration is an annual North American challenge to raise monarch butterflies to release for fall’s annual monarch migration. The time has come to share your 2021 experience and raise it forward…

Raise the Migration 2021- Share Your Experience Raising Monarch Butterflies

The raising season is coming to an end, so we’d love to hear how many butterflies you released for fall’s annual 2021 monarch migration…and more importantly, what lessons you’ve learned through this amazing raising experience?

If you’ve still got some raising to do, raise on! But please post in the comment box at the bottom of this page after you’ve released your last butterfly.

Every year, I start Raise The Migration in July, but monarchs raised at that time aren’t actually migration generation butterflies…they’re the parents to that amazing generation of travelers.

There’s no way to tell whether butterflies will mate or migrate, but one telltale sign of a migration generation butterfly is its size, which is dependent on how much the caterpillar eats. The first super-sized caterpillars start to form chrysalides around the first week of September in our northern region…

In the garden, you can tell non-migratory butterflies by their worn out wings. Non-migratory males are also more aggressive, chasing off potential competition while seeking out female companionship…migratory monarchs are in sexual diapause and only interested in stocking up on nectar for the long journey ahead.

So how did our Raise The Migration Monarchs fare this season and what lessons did we learn raising forward?

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If you’re interested in a step-by-step guide digital guide with free updates (before each monarch season begins in spring) please check out the monarch raising guide by clicking this butterfly photo:

Raising Monarch Butterflies Book

For anyone who purchases the guide (or any other item) from Monarch Butterfly Life, you will be invited to our closed facebook group where you can discuss raising monarchs with other raisers and post your photos.

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Here are Raise the Migration results from the past eight seasons:

2020- 82% survival rate

2019- 81% survival rate

2018- 93% survival rate

2017- 100% survival rate

2016- 96% survial rate

2015- 96% survival rate

2014- 90% survival rate

2013- 100% survival rate

As you can see from the results, this raising system is consistently producing healthy monarchs to help support the struggling monarch population.


Raise The Migration 2021 Results

I released 15 healthy monarchs (14 females and 1 male) from July 29th to August 16th with a 100% survival rate. I am fairly certain all of these butterflies were parents to the migration generation. 

The seven monarchs we raised after that, were counted as our official Raise The Migration monarchs for 2021...


Caterpillar Escapes

By keeping monarch eggs and baby caterpillars in sealed food containers, and raising larger caterpillars in the mesh cages, we never lose caterpillars. 

I think the closest we have come was two years ago when I forgot to close a cage door and found a caterpillar crawling on top of the cage. 🐛 😱


Unexplained Caterpillar Deaths

We didn't have any unexplained monarch deaths in 2021.


Caterpillar Diseases and Parasites?

I'm happy to report no disease issues in 2021. All of our raise the migration participants were brought in as eggs so no issues with tachinid flies...a couple eggs were parasitized by trichogramma wasps, and we discarded those eggs when they darkened and never hatched. 


Accidental Deaths?

We experienced one accidental (and completely preventable) accidental death. See the Butterfly Eclosure section below for more details...


Chrysalis Problems

No chrysalis issues to report in 2021...

Community member Jude R. recently used the microfiber method to rehang one of her fallen chrysalides:

Rehang Chrysalis on Microfiber- Raise the Migration 21 Results


Jude reports: There was zero silk and I wasn't sure what to do. Your tip worked and just in time. I was a little worried the bfly's feet would get stuck in the microfiber, but it had zero problems.
 
 

Butterfly Eclosures

We had one eclosure disaster this year. An early morning butterfly (emerged from chrysalis before 7am) fell from our kitchen overhang on to the floor.

She lost a lot of fluids from her abdomen when this happened. Her wings recovered 'somewhat' when I hung her from inside a mesh cage, but she was injured badly from the fall on to the wood floor, which is about a 7 foot drop. 

Starting in 2022, we will no longer rehang chrysalides on our overhang. It's much safer to rehang them inside the cage where they can crawl up a mesh wall after falling a much shorter distance. 

safe way to rehang monarch chrysalis


Final Results

Our totals are from all eggs that have successfully hatched. We don't count eggs that were parasitized outside or monarchs brought in as caterpillars because they could have parasites too.

Seven monarch butterflies emerged from their chrysalides between August 29th and October 5th: 

1 accidental death (butterfly fall)

0 disease or parasite issues

0 unexplained deaths

4 healthy males

healthy females

86% survival rate


Lessons Learned?

Chrysalides should always be kept in a cage or somewhere where the butterfly has a chance to climb to safety if it falls after it emerges. In my experience butterflies rarely fall, but it can happen. 


Migration Memory 2021

I came across these mating monarchs in our Minnesota garden on September 19th when it was an unseasonable 90°:

Mating Minnesota Monarchs September


Before 2021, I had never seen mating past the first week of September in our region. 

I hope you enjoyed reading about my Raise The Migration '21 results and lessons learned raising monarchs through the butterfly life cycle .

And now, I'd love to hear about your experience...
 

Share Your Results?! ✍️

Please share your results below by letting us know how many monarchs you released to help boost the struggling monarch population…remember to include your location.

More importantly, please share the most valuable lesson(s) you learned about raising monarch butterflies, that you believe can help others raising forward.

Thank you for helping to Raise the Migration in 2021

334 comments


  • This year I raised & set free a total of 51 Monarch butterflies in Wellington, Ohio. There were 20 females, 29 males & 2 escapees that I didn’t get time to sex. Our last one was a chrysalis from North Olmsed Ohio that was made at the bottom of a patio table that my mother found. I carefully removed it, transported it & my son used cross stitch thread to stitch it to the top of my habitat. He emerged beautifully & was set free Oct.3rd. I had to totally revamp my butterfly garden due to a weed issue. In doing so it was a trade off this year. I had less milkweed, but lots of flowers. They simply loved the Mexican Sunflowers! Although we had other issues such as non-emerging eggs & chrysalis issues due to cats attaching to silk on other chrysalis & not on the top of the habitat, all in all it was a great year! My 3 teenagers have helped me do this for 6 years. It is a learning experience for them, helps the Monarch population & we do it in memory of my brother as well as other loved ones. The only major mishap was an Monarch wound up an overnight guest & tore the tip of her wing. Even so, I was rather surprised she still took off, flying quite high & far. As a result, we all learned something new. Not to mention we have been sharing the knowledge we’ve gained on Monarchs & Milkweed seeds with others in order to raise more awareness. I feel that all the hard work & effort that my kids & I have put into these past 6 years has made a difference for Monarchs, my family & others in our neighborhood. Thanks to all who do what they can to help all the different butterfly species!

    Dezra Vale on

  • Total butterflies released for the entire season were 129. From August 28 to October 6, I released 15 male and 12 female. I had two fails. One never completely eclosed while one did completely eclose, but fell and never recovered. I was surprised to come home yesterday (Oct 13) afternoon to see a monarch flying around the yard. Perhaps a last chrysalis that was on my milkweed? Hope he makes to Mexico. Lesson learned this year. My granddaughter’s daycare provider had a cage with two new chrysalis. She thought the empty ones were ugly and started to pick them off the top not realizing the new one had attached itself to the silk of the empty one. The chrysalis fell and was damaged. Just leave those empty chrysalis shells up there until the entire cage is empty and you can clean it.

    Jean Ammerman on

  • My sister and I, here in Perry County in Southern Indiana, successfully raised and released 180 Monarchs this season. We released 7 in June, 7 in July, 40 in August, 120 in September and 6 in Oct. We lost 4 cats and 3 chrysalises due to unexplained causes. Nearly all were collected as eggs. We kept groups of eggs collected at the same time and location in separate habitats to keep from potentially spreading disease, but had no problems with any of them. We didn’t do any bleaching of eggs or plant material, but made sure to collect from clean healthy plants only. Altogether, a very successful season!

    Sarajane Damin on

  • Hi Tony, love your updates and messages, thanks. I had a good season, released 210 June thru Aug., all from eggs. In Sept and up to now have released 204. Unfortunately I still have 45 cocoons, actually found eggs the middle of Sept which is kinda late??? Most are turning dark but we’ve had some cool nights so it’s wait and see.
    You were worried about your Monarch that fell to the floor but I have to tell you that I had a record yr of them that fell from the top of my cages, probably 10%. Most looked perfect except that they laid on the bottom of the cage and their wet wings got bent. A few recovered when I helped them back to the top but not many. All together I feel like it was a good yr but hate to see any losses!

    Shirley GAGLIANO on

  • Buffalo, NY. Had a pesticide issue in July but was back at it in August. At least a dozen released with equal boy-girl ratio.

    Erin on

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