I live in Goodlettsville, Tn. 10 mi. N. of Nashville.
I've been raising Monarchs for over 10 years and usually have anywhere from 250 to 350 Monarch caterpillars and eggs combined by this time of year so I could start my Presentations by the end of August. I have seen only one Monarch in my yard so far. I have over 35 Tuberosa and 15 Tropical Butterfly Weed plants that always attracts them. The one Monarch had laid 15 eggs which I left on the plants. I went out to look for caterpillars several days later and found 4 "cats" and left them to grow a few more days before bringing them in. Three days later i went out to see how they were and to see if the rest of the eggs had hatched. To my surprise and disappointment they were gone, no eggs, no caterpillars. I go out and search every few days and nothing is out there. I keep looking for monarchs, but none are coming in my yard. I also have a large variety of flowers to attract them but am not seeing any.
Is anyone out there experiencing the same problem I am? The only thing that I can think of is that when I gave my last Presentation last May I told the group I would not be able to raise monarchs on the large scale as I've done in the last 10 years. That day we released close to 20 plus we all watched 15 or more hatch while I gave my talk. All these Monarchs heard me!!! I'm wondering--did they pass the word around? Hmmmm.
I'm 83 and have Arthritis which is making it more difficult to go out and get the feed for the "cats". My husband is 89 and used to help me gather the plant food to feed them. In Jan. of 2008 he had 2 strokes and can't help me anymore which gives me more work taking care of him. So, I have retired from giving the Presentations. I will miss all this very much but I did want the joy of raising a few for myself.
I would like to hear from anyone on what's happening in your area.
Jeanine Shaffer, Butterfly Lady of Tn.