Trail of Eggs

April 27, 2017 by Elizabeth Howard

A monarch lays eggs in your garden. What happens next?

“If those wings could talk, what tales they could tell.” Kevin Ford, Champaign, Illinois April 24, 2017

Lull Between Generations

As the monarchs from Mexico fade away, we’re waiting for the next generation to come out in full force. A surge in sightings will occur when the new adult butterflies emerge and migrate northward.

The map shows the migration has come to an abrupt halt. Notice the lull in action this week compared to the previous two. The leading edge has hardly advanced at all.

  • Watch for fresh wings of new generation butterflies.
  • Keep reporting the number of monarchs you see.

Eggs Across the Landscape

Monarchs leave a trail of eggs as they travel. This spring, they’re leaving an unsually broad geographic footprint — people have already reported eggs as far north as Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Some are surprised by how many one monarch lays:

“I currently have 80+ eggs! That is almost as many eggs in one visit as I usually see in one year,” reported Stacey Whetsone from Tennessee. More…

How Many Eggs?

After a single mating, a female can lay eggs throughout her lifetime. Each butterfly lays hundreds of eggs — as many as 700 have been counted. Because she dedicates her energies to egg-laying, the female only lives a few weeks during this stage of her life.

Journal: How many eggs can one monarch lay?

From Egg to Butterfly

It takes about one month for an egg to become an adult. However, timing varies greatly depending upon temperature. The life cycle is slowed by the cold. For example, a difference of only 10°F adds 15 days to development time as shown on the life cycle chart.

Let’s see how long the lull continues before the next generation to bursts onto the scene….