Just when I thought the action was winding down here at Monarch Central, I discovered at least 9 big (stage 4-5) caterpillars, most of them on a very sturdy plant that had not had much nibbling. Obviously they’ve been here – eating and growing and shedding – for quite some time, but I hadn’t been looking for caterpillars in recent weeks. Based on data I collected previous summers, I assumed things were winding down about now. Perhaps that was because in previous years, the first wave had eaten most of the leaves on my milkweed and I never saw the second generation, which went elsewhere to lay eggs and feast! Suzanne told me that in past years she had seen most of her Monarch activity later in the summer into early fall.
This new observation reinforces to me how I shouldn’t assume anything – that I should try to keep my eyes open to discoveries and possibilities every day. I am hoping you’ll get to discover some activity on your plants, too!
The first photo shows at least 4 caterpillars, if you look carefully; the second shows 2.