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A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Monarchs (and a Caution!)

Updated: Jun 10

First - the Caution

In a previous blog, I described my obsession with raising Monarch butterflies during the Pandemic. It is fun, educational, and rewarding to think that I am helping an important species survive. But am I really helping? People with more knowledge on the subject (Xerces Society, Monarch Joint Venture) say that the practice of ‘captive rearing’ monarchs may actually be counterproductive.


In a nutshell, they assert that captive rearing allows individual caterpillars to survive who would not have otherwise survived, creating a less robust gene pool. Captive rearing of monarchs also has the opportunity to introduce more disease and parasites into the population. Using the wrong kind of milkweed, putting too many caterpillars together, improper handling and unclean cages can all contribute to releasing unhealthy monarchs into the wild.


Having said all that, Xerces Society and the Monarch Joint Venture also say that captive rearing may be done responsibly and in small numbers. According to Monarch Joint Venture, “People who wish to rear monarchs should do so in small numbers, for outreach, personal enjoyment, or community science”.


So, for those who want to responsibly experience and share the thrill of seeing the progression from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to a beautiful monarch, this Guide is for you.


The Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Monarchs

Click on the image to access your printable PDF document with our Step-by-Step Guide for raising monarch butterflies. This Guide is compiled from our personal experience and consultation with a number of resources from scientific organizations as well as other amateur monarch hobbyists. If you believe there are errors or misinformation in this Guide, please comment below or send us a note at info@pollinatorsplace.com.


What Else Can I Do?


If we have discouraged you from attempting to raise monarchs yourself, that doesn’t mean you can’t contribute to their survival. Most monarch conservation organizations suggest that your time and energy are better spent preserving and enhancing habitat for wild monarchs – grow native milkweed and pesticide free native nectar plants! We discussed in our last blog how you can build more Pollinator’s Places in your yard or community. In our next blog, we will be talking about Container Gardens for pollinators – a great solution if you don’t have the means to convert your yard into a pollinator haven (or if you have resistance from your HOA).


You can also help by supporting Pollinator's Place! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

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