Updated: Aug 9
I have been taking care of a friend's yard. They put in plants to attract and feed beneficial and endangered creatures. When I am walking around the grounds, I have seen many caterpillars and butterflies, because it is Monarch transformation time.
These beautiful insects are famous for their seasonal migration, where millions of Western Monarchs migrate from the Rocky Mountains south to California for the winter.
The Monarch butterflies lay their eggs exclusively on Milkweed plants.
Once hatched, the caterpillars live for 7 - 17 days with one goal - EAT to grow bigger.
Caterpillars eat only Milkweed, which contains a toxin that makes them poisonous to protect them from predators. It stays in their systems, so even the butterflies taste bad.
Once the caterpillar cocoons up into a chrysalis it takes 8 - 15 days before it changes and emerges as an adult butterfly.
Monarch Butterflies are becoming an endangered species partially due to the lack of Milkweed and the use of herbicides.
We can all help the plight of the Monarch butterfly by planting some Milkweed and other beneficial vegetation while using fewer chemicals. This will enable our little friends to thrive.