arrow-right cart chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up close menu minus play plus search share user email pinterest facebook instagram snapchat tumblr twitter vimeo youtube subscribe dogecoin dwolla forbrugsforeningen litecoin amazon_payments american_express bitcoin cirrus discover fancy interac jcb master paypal stripe visa diners_club dankort maestro trash

by Tony Gomez

9 months ago

Raising Book Resources

Raising Hope for the 2023 Monarch Migration- Share Your Raise The Migration Results

9 months ago


By Tony Gomez

Raise the Migration 2023- Share Your Experience Raising Monarch Butterflies

by Tony Gomez

9 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 2023 experience and raise it forward…

Raise the Migration 2023- 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 2023 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?


If you’re interested in a step-by-step how to raise monarchs book (choose paperback or PDF download) 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.


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

2022- 100% Survival Rate

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 2023 Results

Monarch Eggs from Raise The Migration 2023- Share Your Experience

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 a few years back when I forgot to close a cage door and found a caterpillar crawling on top of the cage. 🐛 😱

Unexplained Caterpillar Deaths


Caterpillar Diseases and Parasites?


Accidental Deaths?

I carelessly removed a small caterpillar that was getting ready to molt inside the plastic food container. It was not able to fully shed its skin and did not survive. 

Chrysalis Problems


Butterfly Eclosure Issues


Final Results

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

This year, we ended up with 9 migration generation monarchs...all have been 'unintentional' after pulling wayward egg-upied common milkweed coming up in the lawn.

So how many survived to reach butterhood?

1 accidental death

0 disease or parasite issues

unexplained deaths

3 healthy males

healthy females

89% survival rate

Lessons Learned

There have been a few lessons learned throughout this season and it's the result of having a new outdoor raising setup.

In past seasons, we raised in a 3-season porch with the windows open, which protected growing monarchs from extreme weather, while still exposing them to environmental cues telling them to migrate. This year, we raised outdoors and barely avoided a couple catastrophes:

  • Protect the cage from heavy rains above- we did this by placing the cage on a bench under an evergreen. On the other side of the deck, we place cages under the awning (prevents drownings and falling chrysalides)
  • If heavy rain is forecast, consider removing the poo poo platter so rain doesn't pool on the cage floor (prevents drownings)
  • Protect monarchs from strong winds- we ended up using two paver bricks in each cage (prevents cages from falling or blowing away)
  • Crowded Caterpillars often Pupate on Milkweed Leaves- We used smaller cages this season and having to use two pavers inside each minimized space which made plant leaves too enticing to form chrysalides
  • If a caterpillar pupates on a leaf that's OK, but separate it from feeding caterpillars (prevents chrysalis from falling to floor if leaf gets eaten)
  • Use your magnifier- our lone accidental death of '23 could have been prevented if I used it to see that a small caterpillar I moved was actually molting. (When you see better, you do better!)
  • Keep Cages away from Predators- we have been lucky with insects and larger predators chewing through the cage to this point, but there is always a greater chance you will have issues with an outdoor raising setup

We were very lucky this season was a success. On a windy night, the cage nearly blew off the table it was on becuase I was using rocks instead of the heavier paver bricks to secure the stage. This could have severely injured or killed most of our brood

I much prefer the indoor setup with exposure to natural outdoor conditions. We will be investing in a greenhouse or arboretum for raising purposes next season and will keep you posted. 


Migration Memories 2023

Our Mexican sunflowers were a big hit with migrating monarchs, swallowtails, hummingbirds, and bees this season. Here's a Minnesota Migration Moment from early September:

...and here's our final release monarch female stocking up on nectar September 20th:

I hope you enjoyed reading about my Raise The Migration '23 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 at the bottom of this page and let 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 2023


  • From Jefferson City Missouri. Last monarch released 10/9/23. Total: 32; Males: 18; Females: 14. I had a great season this year! Two accidental deaths, 3 from disease.

    Caprice Pope on

    Most of this past very dry summer, until late August, was spent looking for female monarchs with little success. Only a single male was seen during this time, and he did not spend much time in the garden of blooming swamp milkweed, butterfly weed, butterfly bushes, and an enormous number of zinnias. This garden is located in Bowie, MD (38.96N and 76.74W) for bearings. Expectations were high, but the monarchs were not seen until later even though normal numbers of tiger swallowtails and zebra swallowtails were around. The smaller butterflies like the cabbage butterfly were in abundance. A conscious effort at removal of wasp species had been made as they had been a factor in past efforts of raising monarchs.
    We had almost given up and in and an effort to remove the oleander aphid invasion that was targeting the remaining stalks of withering swamp milkweed which was making little or no effort to bloom after the seed pods were removed. It seemed that the aphids appeared at the same time as the caterpillars and that brings into focus if they are linked in some fashion; something to consider watching for next year. Another observation that requires further study is that the caterpillars appear to like only the milkweed that they first consume. Efforts to feed those feeding initially on swamp milkweed failed to move easily on butterfly weed and the cats wandered away to be closer to the swamp milkweed species. It seems that if there is no other food source they will, reluctantly, eat other milkweed leaves and available blossoms.
    Within, what seemed to be a very short time between observations, as the stalks were being removed, a large number, about 14 at first count of large caterpillars, in excess of 1.25", were removed and placed in airy and finely screened enclosures with whatever remnants of the swamp milkweed that could be harvested. Later on several additional caterpillars were found and removed; total now was around 17. The next day as we prepared to place the, now recyclable plant material, trash can out for collection three more were attempting to get out of the can. An additional 4 were found on the remaining milkweed plant as it was cut back to rid the plant of the aphids. We had trouble determining an exact number, as they were moving around cages on plants (see attached picture). It was at that time the number of formed chrysalis would be a better bet on counting; the final caterpillar count; that would be 25.. we thought.
    These cats were going to become butterflies in Severna Park, MD (37.08N and 76.86 W) as our vacation plans had come into play. Consequently, all of the harvested large caterpillars were moved from Bowie to Severna Park. As this is written, September 16, we have 22 chrysalis that appear to be making it to the finish line. Two of the original chrysalis, both females, have emerged and are being held until tomorrow, the 17th, when the temperature would be more to their flight liking. Since all of the rest of the developing monarchs seem to be on track to emerge on September 17-21, we may have to hold some of those newer butterflies for the same reason as holding the first two. Overnight temps have been trending in the mid 50’s with mid 70’s during the warm sunny days.
    The last half of the weekend, the 17th, appears to be a problem for the developing butterflies as rain is to be a problem after noon according to the weather. We will not have the time to hold them much longer should the predicted rain ensue; probably the second wave of flyers can be held a day more, but the first two will have to be released for their own sake….starvation. Not a decision we like.
    It is most rewarding to see monarch caterpillars go through the process and yield such a beautiful creature. We hope that all of the “hanging greenish-white bags” produce the orange and black suited flyers that we have tried to protect. This has been a joyous adventure for father and son.
    Scott and Paul Jung

    Paul Jung on

  • I live in Indiana and I raised 84 monarchs this year. That was certainly better than last year’s record low of only 40. I had no issues with tachinid files or pesky aphids which are usually overpowering the plants. I had two unexplained caterpillar deaths which were on the same leaves as another one that went on to be a healthy butterfly.

    Barbara Sidebottom on

  • This was the first year for my husband and I to raise monarch caterpillars. We have quite a few milkweed plants and plenty of flowers to attract butterflies. I didn’t find any as eggs, most were well into the caterpillar stage by the time I found them. We only lost one chrysalis and successfully raised and released 40 monarchs. The first one was released on Aug 12 and the last two on Oct. 6. Our son and daughter-in-law also have plenty of milkweed and flowers and after seeing the fun we were having they also started raising caterpillars. Not sure how many they have released but seems like its about the same amount as us. We live in Xenia, Ohio on a farm and have planted lots of wildflowers and perennials to attract bees and butterflies.

    Donna Foster on

  • I live in the western suburbs of Chicago. This, my 3rd year for raising monarchs, was my most successful. I grow swamp milkweed and that’s where I find all my eggs and a few cats. I started finding eggs in early July and started releasing butterflies on July 22nd. The last monarch was released September 18th. At one point, I had 52 chrysalides! My cages were full and I even had to use the little “hospital” cage until space was available in the larger cages. I rehang the chrysalides using the dental floss method so they are carefully spaced. This year I released 149 healthy monarch butterflies! I didn’t keep count of successful eggs, so I don’t have an accurate percentage success rate. I did lose 4 chrysalides, 2 to falling accidents and 2 to disease.
    Almost no oleander aphids this year and very little disease on the swamp milkweed. We had a lot of rain here, so maybe that had an impact. My cages are kept in a screen house on my patio and I actually bring them into the kitchen for cleaning, food replenishing, moving cats around if necessary, and rehanging chrysalides. Raising monarchs is a very labor intense hobby for 2 months but so satisfying!
    Next year I’ll keep count of hatched eggs. I also will be ordering another cage. For now, I’ve been scattering swamp milkweed seeds I’ve collected. Our local forest preserves have very little common milkweed and no swamp milkweed, so I hope next year I’ll see more of both. Thank you, Tony, for all your information and advice! 10/7/23

    Jan Fleming on

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published