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by Tony Gomez

A month ago

Raising Book Resources

Raising Hope for the 2022 Monarch Migration- Raise The Migration Results

A month ago

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By Tony Gomez

Raise the Migration 2022- Share Your Experience Raising Monarchs through the Butterfly Life Cycle

by Tony Gomez

A month 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 2022 experience and raise it forward…

Raise the Migration 2022- 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 2022 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:

2021- 86% Survival Rate

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 2022 Results


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

None in 2022


Caterpillar Diseases and Parasites?

None in 2022


Accidental Deaths?

None in 2022


Chrysalis Problems

None in 2022


Butterfly Eclosure Issues

None in 2022


Final Results

As you may know, we moved to a new location and we're starting to plant our perennial butterfly garden this fall 2022, so we raised very few monarchs this summer. However, we did have some wayward common milkweed plants, so we raised just a couple, but we raised them well. 😊

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.

2 monarch butterflies emerged from their chrysalides between August 28th and August 31: 

0 accidental death (butterfly fall)

0 disease or parasite issues

unexplained deaths

0 healthy males

healthy females

100% survival rate


Lessons Learned?

unofficial raise the migration caterpillars in 2022
Raising Outside Under an Evergreen


I think the biggest lesson I learned this year had nothing to do with raising monarchs. 2022 was a year of extreme change for my family and raising butterflies was put on hold so we could focus on more important things, but that's life! I'm hoping to have more time for gardening and raising monarchs again next year.   

My biggest raising lesson this season was that placing cages under the protection of trees works well in rain storms...the chrysalides went though a couple heavy rainstorms and didn't even start to come loose inside the cage. Still, I prefer raising in a porch that's 100% free of extreme weather. We are planning to raise monarchs in a new gazebo next season...

 

Migration Memory 2022

This is our first year with a new garden, and we have yet to make it our own. However, there have been a few highlights to the season:

  • an abundance of phlox in shades of pink/white attracted many giant and tiger swallowtails, and hummingbird moths
  • One night at dusk we went out and saw about a dozen large white-lined sphinx moths nectaring on the phlox...it was magical, and one night only
  • Large flowered zinnias were the monarch favorites with a limited menu
  • 6 Mexican Sunflowers (tithonia rotundifolia) purchased from a nursery, seem to have hybridized with (tithonia diversifolia) which was a POOR substitute for attracting monarchs and the first flower is yet to bloom ⌛️🦋🇲🇽


I hope you enjoyed reading about my Raise The Migration '22 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 2022

163 comments


  • This is my 7th year raising monarchs. From my first butterfly on January 31till the last on September this is the most I’ve released…225 and I am happy with the results. I had fewer diseased compared to the previous years. I did noticed that the last batch of caterpillars in late August, only one eclosed, healthy. The others did not make it after eating and making to the chrysalis stage.😮

    I have around 35 tropical or common milkweed mostly on pots and do cut them down every year and spray them with hydrogen peroxide regularly. I started this past Monday pruning them. I also am going to try to transition to the California milkweed little by little … I have about five in pots.
    After reading Tony’s articles, I try not to get too concerned about the aphids and milkweed beetle. I learned they’re a temporary nuisance and before I knew it they were gone. I did clean some of the aphids and beetles periodically. Tony, I would like to know if you have a chart on how you keep your monarch data and if you would be willing to share it. 😉 Thank you!

    Oh, I have registered my habitat as a way station for the monarchs. Excited!!!😊

    Herlinda on

  • This was my first year raising here in Massachusetts! Here are my results:
    Successfully released 13 males and 13 females.
    Lost 1 cat to t fly
    0 accidents
    Collected only from eggs or 1st instar from milkweed I planted in my yard.
    My advice would be to do your research BEFORE starting to raise!
    Avoid overcrowded enclosures and inspect milkweed leaves thoroughly for pests AND wash.
    My goal for next year is to double my numbers. Also offer more flowers and grow MORE milkweed.
    I love doing this and will continue as long as I am physically able! They bring so much joy in this screwed up world.

    Diane Koske on

  • As I have seen others post, this was a disappointing year. I only raised 40 monarchs after raising 116 last year. This is the lowest in my 17 years of raising them. I raised 200+ in four previous years. I had a patch of 10 common milkweed plants still with fresh leaves as I write this on September 24, but never had any late eggs. I guess the unbeaten leaves says it all. I had my last female enclose this afternoon. I had a 95% success rate this year which was one good thing at least. I know the monarch population is in trouble but maybe there is still hope for the future. I live in central Indiana.

    Barbara Sidebottom on

  • I’ve been raising for about 10 years using milkweed from my urban Chicago garden. I just released the last of my 140 monarchs for this season, almost exactly the same number as last year. My success rate was 99% (one monarch had a wing deformity). I had one scare: a caterpillar about half the size of most chrysalis-formers made a chrysalis about half the usual size. But she eclosed as a beautiful, petite monarch and flew off without hesitation.
    Lessons learned (or relearned):
    Always Look First is my cardinal rule. Look before unzipping a zipper, grasping a floral tube, tube rack or cutting container, or opening or closing a caterpillar hatchery container. This rule has saved more than one caterpillar from being squashed.
    Inspect “Used” Milkweed More Than Once Before Discarding. I check used cuttings/leaves, discard them in a dedicated wastebasket, and check again before emptying the basket into the trash a day or two later. It’s easy to miss an egg or a small caterpillar—or an overlooked egg that has hatched in the interim.
    Don’t Tape Anything to the Plastic Viewing Window. I learned last year to spread a towel over the green nylon cage floor so a fallen newly hatched monarch can crawl to a wall to hang. This year, 20 caterpillars made chrysalides right above the clear plastic wall. I taped cheesecloth inside this “window wall” in case a fallen monarch needed to climb that slippery surface. The tape left a sticky residue that I can’t remove with any of the suggested remedies. Sticky spots are hazardous to caterpillars climbing the window (as they sometimes do), so I’ll either put something over those spots or get a new cage. Next year (if cats form chrysalides right above the window), I’ll hang cheesecloth from the roof with safety pins to cover the window and make it “climbable.”

    Diane J on

  • This was my 3rd year raising monarchs. Last year I released 39 butterflies. I think I released my last monarch in early November! They came into my garden starting around late July. This year was different. I started getting the butterflies around May. I am about to release my 45th butterfly after it ecloses in a few days. That will be my last butterfly for the year. By far, the most successful thing I have done is to bring in the eggs to my “prenatal” nursery inside. If I find a caterpillar outside, most often they do not survive—-they’ve already been affected by predators (tachnid flies etc) or disease. Anyway, when I brign the eggs inside, I keep them in a separate cage from young cats because sometimes the young cats accidentally eat the eggs. I move young cats to a separate “neonatal” cage until they get big enough (maybe 1 1/4") to move to the outside cage where they eventually make their chrysalises. So I am diligent about looking for eggs every day. I had a whole batch of about 20 cats that did not survive. Pretty much all at once. Heartbreaking. I have no pesticides in my yard, so I figure that they got exposed elsewhere. Next year I’ll have a microscope to check for OE to see if that’s been part of the problem. I’m in southern California, so I am anxious to hear about this year’s overwintering count.

    Sudi on

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