This Monarch Female Is Laying Your Butterfly Egg.

Click on each picture for a closeup view!

Picture #1
Picture #2
Picture #3

Your butterfly egg has just been placed on the milkweed leaf by this female Monarch. She curves her abdomen and sticks one egg to the milkweed leaf. She usually places the eggs under the leaves but they can be most anywhere on the plant. Female Monarchs are easily spotted on Milkweed and are usually the only butterflies on a non flowering plant.

With some luck and your protection your egg will hatch and the caterpillar will grow to become a beautiful Butterfly. Even as an egg, danger is lurking and sometimes it is too small to even see. In the wild only 3 out of 100 of these eggs are able to reach adulthood due to the many obstacles the caterpillar must face before emerging as an adult butterfly. Will you help make sure this egg is safe from danger and becomes a beautiful butterfly? Great! just keep reading and learning with each new update.

In picture #2 the female butterfly is just laying your egg and already there is a possible danger...It is a tiny almost invisible paracite called OE which may have been on the female butterfly's abdomen. This OE paracite has an interesting lifecycle too which is totally dependent on the Monarch. OE egg spores are eaten by the newly emerging caterpillar when it eats its egg case. This danger can grow and replicate inside your caterpillar making its life very difficult. If the weakened caterpillar survives with this paracite it can become a danger to many other caterpillars. The OE replicates millions of times as the caterpillar grows and then moves to the outside of an adult butterfly during pupation so it can spread more OE eggs to other defenseless eggs and caterpillars. In the wild it always exists in low numbers but when keeping many caterpillars in a small environment OE can be a big problem and steps must be taken to ensure that your Monarchs are safe.

Not to worry, we will wash your egg with a special sanitizing solution which can remove this nasty paracite. Our Foundation has worked for years with others in the field to create this solution for this very real problem. Just spray or wash your eggs with the sanitizing solution and the paracites will die. But there are more dangers for our egg which we must prepare for and protect from. Tiny flying wasps called Trichogramma lay their eggs inside many butterfly and moth eggs and their offspring can wipe out all eggs within your garden very quickly. The best defense is a fine mesh placed over the eggs to isolate them from these wasps, or bring them inside. <Patio screening will not stop the tiny Trichogramma wasp.>

These two steps <sanitizing and covering> will give your caterpillar a very good chance of survival. Other bugs eat the eggs and caterpillars so the fine mesh is very important! Spiders, wasps, ants, assassin bugs and a range of other critters would gladly make a meal of your tasty caterpillar so make sure your fine mesh netting is intact <NO HOLES>.

The live Monarch Foundation is happy to bring you this free learning experience and hope you will share your, lessons with others and help Butterflies in your area by planting seeds for their caterpillar children. Please take advantage of our Free Seed Program and please tell others about this online pet adventure!

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