I have seen only one monarch this year, and was very lucky to get the picture of her laying the egg on July 27. I did not even realize it until I downloaded the picture into the computer, and then I could see that her abdomen was curled under the leaf. I then went back to the plant and looked, and sure enough, there was an egg. 2 more eggs were spotted on a different leaf. I looked at the eggs with a magnifier, and they are beautiful and unmistakable.
We watched the 3 eggs hatch on the 5th day. The caterpillars are very tiny, not much bigger than a hair, and we saw them starting to chow down on the milkweed leaves.
The next morning they could not be found. Hoping they had migrated to different leaves we watched and waited. Nothing appeared and no evidence of leaves being chewed.
Finally we concluded that all three were the victims of predators, of which I read on the internet there are plenty - wasps, spiders, lady bugs, ants, and so on.
That lone Monarch is the only one I have seen this year, so we are grateful that we at least had the opportunity to watch the eggs mature and hatch. I doubt there will be another chance this year. The small miracle is that she found our milkweed!
The next time the leaves with the eggs will be brought inside and put in a container until maturity.
BUT WAIT – August 27, one month after the first Monarch visited and laid her eggs, we saw another Monarch, and watched as she laid one perfect little egg.
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