Look Under The Leaves

Milkweed blooming at Schenley Park, 26 June 2019 (photo by Kate St. John)

All across western Pennsylvania a wide variety of milkweed is blooming and with it come the insects who depend it, especially monarch butterflies.

Look closely at the underside of milkweed leaves. If you find a small white dot it’s a monarch butterfly egg.

The plant I found didn’t have monarch eggs, but here’s a photo from Wikimedia Commons that shows you what to look for.

Monarch butterfly egg on underside of milkweed leaf (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

I hope the milkweed leaves in Schenley Park have eggs soon …

(photos by Kate St. John and from Wikimedia Commons)

9 thoughts on “Look Under The Leaves

  1. My Common MIlkweed is in its third year and the flowers have bloomed and are gone. I only ever saw bees on the flowers. I just checked the leaves of half a dozen stalks and find only a few slugs. Do you think eggs would have survived the torrential rain of yesterday (7-6)?

    1. Dallas, the eggs will survive if the underside of the leaves stayed (mostly) dry. The downpours seem to come straight down without wind, not flipping any leaves. The rain is certainly amazing!

  2. My milkweed did great, but I see very few butterflies (of any kind) and bees this year (no problem for bumblebees). I hope to find monarch larvae on my milkweed like I did last year. However, it doesn’t look like a good butterfly season. I don’t know why.

  3. I’m with Natalie. Milkweed bloomed magnificently and now nearly done. Yet I’ve only seen 3 butterflies of any kind (and only orange one) near our garden.
    Do heavy, continual rains affect the butterfly populations? Internet search yields no information on this particular question.

    1. Carolyne, I know that butterflies hide when it rains hard but I don’t know if it affects their population if the downpours are periodic rather than all day long. I do know that last year (2018) we had quite above normal rainfall in the Pittsburgh area, yet we also had a lot of monarch butterflies. (see 2018 climate plot for Pittsburgh here)

  4. I had a butterfly in my garden yesterday very briefly and thought it was a monarch, for the first time this year. I have no milkweed though.

  5. My milkweed is blooming & growing like crazy. A couple of Monarchs were visiting yesterday, along with a wide assortment of bees & other insects. I never get any caterpillars on my milkweed until August, they are usually around until the beginning of October.

  6. Had a monarch caterpillar on my milkweed a week or two ago. It stuck around for 2 days or so and then vanished. I assume a bird got it? I have 4 medium sized milkweeds and looked high and low for it.

    1. Nick, that monarch may have been moving north. They do that all summer until they are triggered to stop reproducing and fly south.

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