Above left: caterpillars hiding amidst the flowers. Above right: a tiny monarch egg, which turns dark green when it is about to hatch.
How To Raise Monarch CaterpillarsWe attempted to raise monarch caterpillars last year, and gave up after many failed attempts. I think the best way to go is not to raise them in vented containers indoors as we did, but to observe them outdoors. Proper ventilation is a must, and so this time around we have our milkweed containers perched outside the kids' window. Milkweed is the only plant monarch butterflies lay their eggs upon, and thus the only plant monarch caterpillars eat. Not all nurseries carry it. Once you find some, be sure no pesticides were administered, or the likelihood of finding caterpillars on your plant is slim to nil. Look on the undersides of the leaves and inside the flower clusters for eggs and teeny caterpillars. If you are interested in raising your caterpillars indoors, visit http://www.glorious-butterfly.com/raising-monarchs.html for in-depth instructions. Otherwise, just place your containers outside in a safe spot (direct sun is fine), and observe as the caterpillars develop from chrysalis to butterfly!