Monarch Migration: Beating the Weather

Subject: monarchs
Location: Westhampton Beach, NY
November 13, 2016 8:47 am
Dear Bugman,
I planted lots of butterfly weed in my yard & had so many monarch caterpillars this year! But now it is cold here in the northeast (east end of Long Island, NY) and I still see some. The problem is, the plants are dying and the caterpillars don’t have much to eat. Is there a way to save the larvae? There is one chrysalis hanging on a dead leaf. You can already see the wings inside. Will this hatch successfully & fly south? Thanks.
Signature: Elaine

Prepupal Monarch Caterpillar
Prepupal Monarch Caterpillar

Hi Elaine,
Alas, we cannot state with any certainty that your soon to emerge Monarch will successfully complete its migration voyage.  In nature’s effort to preserve populations, and because of the uncertainty of weather, insects may continue to reproduce past the time that they would complete metamorphosis before inclement weather begins.  From year to year, that date changes.  Like you, we will hope for the best.  If you cannot feed the larvae on milkweed, we don’t think your existing caterpillars will survive.

Thanks so much for your quick response.  I’ll see if I can find some local “weed” to feed them!

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