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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


  • Milford, Oh. We had only had 2 large cats this yearly and both were released. Never did see the monarch for those 2 but did see one on our plants but never got any eggs. In 5 years of raising and releasing this was our worst year.

    Glenn A Neely on

  • Ocean Springs, MS. I only wanted a few milkweed and other pollinator plants to start a tiny butterfly garden as a way station for the traveling monarchs. Surprisingly, I ended up with 10 larvae, which later became butterflies. I am hooked and looking forward to increasing my monarch knowledge this winter for raising more butterflies in 2024.

    Charlotte Yarbrough on

  • This is our third year of nurturing Monarchs in Orange County, Southern California.
    2021 ~ 25 successful launches
    2022 ~ 35 successful launches
    2023 ~ 53 successful launches

    As we have many grand-children, we provide opportunities to them to name butterflies when we are ready to let them fly away from their tent.

    We have 9 net tents ( 2 are smaller for ICU’s.) We try to keep those in the same stage of development together. We place eggs on leaves in food containers, but prefer cheesecloth rubber-banded “lids” over provided food container lids. We’ve learned that early placement of eggs in floral tubes in tents seems to work best and we don’t need to change out the feeding milkweed as often. We have several varieties of native milkweed in our garden + non-native tropical variety that we trim way back in December. Sometimes, when our collection of hungry cats was over-stretched, we’d supplement with native Indian milkweed found in a local wilderness area.
    We learned to set limits of how many eggs and cats to nurture based on both our food supply and upcoming vacations. We have drafted many neighbors to help.

    Last year, we launched our last Monarch in December ~ named it “Rudolph.” That was quite a shock. We determined that we would stop earlier in the fall this year.

    Pat and Trish Dwyer on

  • I released my last monarchs (two females) on October 2, 2023 for a total 43 (23 makes, 20 females) this season. The 2022 season started in June, but 2023 started July 18 for monarchs. In 2022, I released 111!
    I gave a presentation about the monarchs and how we can help them to 16 girl scouts this month. Later this fall, they will come to my home and help scatter milkweed seeds, that I’ve gathered, in my three patches.
    I am in east central Illinois.

    Polly on

  • Today is October 6, 2023 and I just released my last monarch for this year – 148 in total, 75 females and 73 males. I also raised and released 14 black swallowtails, and have another 15 swallowtails that are in chrysalis and will be spending the winter with me awaiting a spring emergence.

    Lisa on

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