I would not tag until mid September. I see Monarchs and usually have caterpillars in September. Some years I have adults in early November, which I try to get them a ride further south in VA. VA Beach usually doesn't get heavy frost.
We get an influx of Monarchs from the mid west that come across the mountains and then head south in June. http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/ ... .full.html
Monarch butterflies cross the Appalachians from the west to recolonize the east coast of North America
Monarchs don't just keep heading north, I participated in this study. I sent him 6 specimens from our area for analysis.
I'm doing a tagging program at Sky Meadow State Park on 9/15 (rain date 9/16) and maybe another one the next week for Runnymede Park in Herndon, VA.
Monarchs Rule at Sky Meadows State Park
Over 60 species of butterflies have been identified at Sky Meadow State Park, but the focus on Saturday, September 15, will be on Monarchs as they begin their 2,000-mile trip to central Mexico where they will stay for the winter. Sky Meadow State Park and the Washington Area Butterfly club invite people of all ages to explore the park for butterflies and to participate in the tagging of Monarchs for Monarch Watch, a program that promotes the education, conservation, and research of Monarch butterflies.
Tagging a Monarch is quite simple; even children can do it with basic instruction. The tag is a small, quarter-inch sticker that is placed in a specific spot on the Monarch's wing. It has a unique code on it, like a bird band, and information on how to report the tag recovery, in very small letters.
The day’s activities, presented by members of the Washington Area Butterfly Club, will start at 11:00 a.m. with a netting demonstration. Immediately following the demonstration, join our volunteer Master Naturalists for our monthly “Flutter By, Butterfly” walk. Hike the park’s lovely trails and look for butterflies of all varieties. If any Monarchs are netted on the walk, hikers will have an opportunity to tag them in the field. Some nets will be provided for the walk, but if you have your own, please bring it.
After the walk, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m., stop by the exhibit tables for a tagging demonstration and exhibit of live butterflies, followed by games and activities from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. In the event of rain, an abbreviated program will be offered on Sunday, September 16. The rain-date program will consist of a netting demonstration, butterfly walk, and tagging from 1-3 PM. This program is free and no reservations are required. The regular weekend parking fee of $4.00 per car is required.
Come out and learn more about the tagging, what happens to the collected tags and about the flight and plight of Monarchs and other butterflies. The program will be educational and a great hands-on learning experience for the whole family. Bring binoculars and water and wear comfortable shoes. Additional information and directions to the park can be found at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/sky.shtml