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Old 08-28-2019, 10:34 AM
Cabin_Fever is offline
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Monarch Butterfly Question


I live on the west coast of northern Michigan after spending half my life on the Gulf Coast.

I have read about Monarch butterfly migration, that they like milkweed plants (which is why I let those thrive along the property line edges). With winter just around the corner, why are they still here?

They are beautiful and I enjoy their presence, but shouldn't they be headed to Mexico, Central America? I had one land on me briefly the other day while sitting on the front porch. We had a short conversation and he/she went about their butterfly business. Anyone care to fight my ignorance?
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Old 08-28-2019, 11:09 AM
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If they are Monarch butterflies, migration typically does not start until October.
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Old 08-28-2019, 02:47 PM
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If they are Monarch butterflies, migration typically does not start until October.
Oh cool. Maybe I can enjoy their presence for a bit longer. They just recently been everywhere at Casa 1905.
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Old 08-28-2019, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Cabin_Fever View Post
With winter just around the corner, why are they still here?
Given that it's late August, even in northern Michigan winter is still some ways off.

Googling suggests the southern Monarch migration is September - November.
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Old 08-28-2019, 02:52 PM
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Given that it's late August, even in northern Michigan winter is still some ways off.
Given that my bones and joints disagree, winter is coming. YMMV.
Of course, don't forget, I'm from the south. 60 degrees F has me putting on my winter coat.

Last edited by Cabin_Fever; 08-28-2019 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 08-28-2019, 09:17 PM
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I've been raising monarch (and swallowtail) butterflies this summer, and I think there might still be some migration-generation eggs being laid here in upstate NY. Keep planting that milkweed! (And dill, parsley, Queen Anne's lace, and other carrot-family for the swallowtails.)
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Old 08-29-2019, 06:08 AM
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Keep planting that milkweed! (And dill, parsley, Queen Anne's lace, and other carrot-family for the swallowtails.)
Be sure to plant the correct species of milkweed!
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Old 08-29-2019, 08:17 AM
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Saw the Imax movie on Monarch butterflies. It was said that the migration requires 3 generations to complete. No mention was made of Uber-Monarchs.
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Old 08-29-2019, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Kimstu View Post
I've been raising monarch (and swallowtail) butterflies this summer, and I think there might still be some migration-generation eggs being laid here in upstate NY. Keep planting that milkweed! (And dill, parsley, Queen Anne's lace, and other carrot-family for the swallowtails.)
I have yet to see a swallowtail since moving back here. You are lucky. They are also beautiful. Maybe my location isn't right for their habitat.
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Old 08-30-2019, 02:22 PM
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I have yet to see a swallowtail since moving back here. You are lucky. They are also beautiful. Maybe my location isn't right for their habitat.
We had swallowtail caterpillars invade our bucket garden. (Didn't know when they first showed up what type they were, but a little investigation revealed them as swallowtails.)

They ate all our dill.

To punish them, we planted more dill for them. Serves them right.

One morning, all the caterpillars were gone. We're hoping they went off to metamorphose.

We live near the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago, incidentally. Swallowtails aren't common around here, apparently.
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Old 08-28-2019, 12:09 PM
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The monarchs you're seeing now might not even be the ones who will migrate this fall. Normally monarchs only live a few weeks. In the fall a special generation of uber-monarchs is born which can live for many months, and those are the ones who undertake the migration to Mexico.
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Old 08-28-2019, 02:39 PM
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In the fall a special generation of uber-monarchs is born
Uber-monarchs. I like that term. Perhaps the many I am seeing lately are those. They are a beautiful creature - unlike the typical generic butterfly/moth I get to see.
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Old 08-28-2019, 02:22 PM
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Thanks for all your answers. I was under the impression that they would be headed south by now.
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Old 09-03-2019, 06:21 AM
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We used to visit the Butterfly Farm in St Martin every year, until Irma destroyed it. From what we learned there and elsewhere, we've planted much of our yard with plants designed to benefit butterfly populations.

One summer my gf had some coworkers over for tea. We walked out of the sunroom into the yard and there were dozens of butterflies. It was surreal; it looked like a Disney CGI effect, causing jaws to drop.

I shook my head and apologized, saying, "sorry about this, I should have sprayed this morning". My gf got the joke but her friends were aghast.
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Old 09-07-2019, 06:33 PM
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I'll never forget a few short years ago on a bright sunny mild October day, with a bright blue sky, here in upstate NY. I saw some monarchs fluttering around, unusual! ... but driving down the road for some miles, I noticed a fluttering across the road, way up in the sky. Starting and stopping. I pulled over, and watched for an hour as a line of butterflies ambled on by...a short wait...followed by another small line......another wait.....more butterflies. It was a migration, slow, sparse, but steady in progress. One of the most beautiful hours of my life.... A pity that might be just a memory as the world climbs up its own stinking shithole and everything dies off.

Last edited by salinqmind; 09-07-2019 at 06:34 PM.
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Old 09-09-2019, 03:05 PM
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I am going to semi-hijack my own OP, if that is permitted. Thanks to all for the answers/clarifications provided. (I love the SDMB for just this reason).

There has been a abundance of butterflies with white wings that I see out through my window. They are not moths and they are very numerous, more than the monarchs that I have seen. They flit about so fast that I have not been able to capture them (err.. poor choice of words) with my cameras. Can anyone clue me in on who they are? My google-fu returns so much that I get lost.

For those who wonder, I am on the west coast of the state of Michigan, about half-way down the mitten if you get my drift.

Last edited by Cabin_Fever; 09-09-2019 at 03:10 PM. Reason: hoping some one with more knowledge tham me can answer
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Old 09-09-2019, 06:52 PM
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European Cabbage White, an introduced species.
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Old 09-09-2019, 07:28 PM
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European Cabbage White, an introduced species.
Interesting, but I haven't noticed any dots on the wings. I will try to get a closer look in daylight tomorrow.

https://www.bing.com/images/search?q...te&FORM=HDRSC2

Last edited by Cabin_Fever; 09-09-2019 at 07:29 PM. Reason: image link added
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