Mona asked me to describe the way I raise the Monarchs. I don't know if this is a good way. I just know it works for me.
Like many of us here, I grow a Monarch Waystation garden.
I collect the eggs by cutting them out in a triangle. I tried collecting just the eggs last year, but over all, I found it easier and perhaps less tedious to collect the eggs attached to the leaves. When I have older cats to feed, I'll clip the entire leaves and trim out the eggs later -- in this case, I cut a piece of the main leaf vein with the triangle. In the process, I also collect any caterpillars I find.
I give the milk weed leaves a brief rinse at the outside faucet, then bring them inside for a thorough rinse in the sink with a pan in it, in case I accidentally knock off a cat. The cats and eggs are unceremoniously dunked and swished in the pan of water. I just use plain tap water. Hoping the chlorinated water will serve some purpose.
The leaves with eggs are cut out in triangles at this point. All the leaves are laid out on paper towels to blot, though typically not dry all the way. I find the leaves last longer without drying out this way. Extra leaves and stems are kept in a container of filtered water. I usually collect enough for a feeding plus a little extra.
I re=purpose containers for the eggs and cats. They have clear lids at the very least. Holes punched on the lid and sometimes on the bottom. The bottoms are lined with at least 2 layers sometimes more of Bounty paper towels. After daily cleaning and re-lining with clean paper, cats clinging to old stems and leaf veins go in, then Fresh leaves and stems are leaned against the sides or elevating with the stems and veins. Frass and old leaves go in a brown paper bag to be put in the compost pile later.
I have 5 different containers/cages. Containers for Eggs/1sts, 2nds/3rds, and 3rd/4th, and cages for 4th/5th and day old butterflies. They are moved up as they grow, and butterflies that eclosed are gently transferred to the Butterfly cage the same night so as not to get mixed up with newly eclosed butterflies in the morning. Last year, we had a two-person screen tent out in the garden for the Butterflies. But we didn't do that this year.
The containers are kept inside the house by a SE facing window, with the A/C vent blocked. I adjust the blinds during the morning hours so direct sun is not too strong, and use a yellow sheer gauze curtain to filter the sun/light.
If there is a premature death, I remove everything, wash with plain hot water, then spray with Hydrogen Peroxide, which is simply wiped dry. The cages (both pop up laundry baskets) are sprayed then scrubbed on both sides with a paper towel.
As of this evening, the total chrysalis count is 72 - 3 chrysalis deaths = 69 for adjusted total . And total eclosed butterfy count is 39, with 32 already tagged and released. A modest number, to be sure, compared to many, but at this point, we're sure to exceed our total from last year.
I'll post some photos later on.