Life is too short: eat dessert instead
Not a monarch to be seen in central NJ this year, but a lot of others, including a great invasion of Red Admirals in May, wonderful sight. And enough dusky swallowtails and tiger swallowtails to compensate for the lack of monarchs.
This is the best year we've had in about five, and for the life of me I cannot figure out where they are coming from. I have a garden full of milkweed, and yet the mystery is where they are feeding, as caterpillars, and where they have chosen to pupate. Just looked up the Red Admiral; what a pretty sight that is. I can see why we don't have them here, as much, we don't have their host plants.
I've seen a couple of monarchs on milkweed these last few days here in central NH, but someone told me that further north a lot of the cocoons were dried out by the heat and the butterflies aren't emerging -- she estimated as much as a 50% loss.
Im not surprised, and it's amazing that we have any at all. They seem to have switched their egg laying to a place outside the garden, possibly because the butterflies that did lost the eggs to predators. Wherever they are now, it's very successful. I did notice that some of them seem to be smaller, noticeably so, and wondered if they had been affected by the dry weather.