The Monarch butterflies have arrived on Clayton Street and are laying eggs! The first adult was sited May 11, the first egg was discovered May 24th, and I found the first larva today, May 27th. This is a bit early for me.
If you want to find newly hatched Monarch larvae on a milkweed plant, the first thing to do is to stand back and look for tiny holes in the leaves.
Big caterpillars are easy to find because they leave behind partially-eaten leaves that are hard to miss. Sometimes, you can even see the caterpillars hanging out on top of or under the leaves.
But the new larvae are so small that you are likely to squish them if you go turning over the leaves. So look for tiny holes in the center of the leaves, like these .
So, once you spy a little hole then you can carefully turn it over to search for the cat.
Instar is the term for the phase between two periods of molting in the development of an insect larva. Read more about the 5 stages of Monarch larva development here at the National Wildlife Foundation.
I currently have eggs or larvae on 50% of my milkweed plants. Are you seeing any Monarch butterflies in your garden?