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How To Butterfly Project For Children. Saving The Monarchs.



Monarch Butterflies

The Monarchs are back. They are flying all over. We have had so much wind and when this happens they seem to keep their wings closed. They are beautiful. They have been breeding. They're everywhere and many of them, a very good sign.

Monarchs have four stages. There's the egg, the larvae (caterpillar), the pupa and the butterfly. They come here every May. We have lots of milkweeds and they love and it's where they lay their eggs. Our milkweed is just barely up. When the milkweed comes up it smells so good. The Monarchs are in the meadow hanging around in the milkweed even in the old pods from last year. The way things are growing here the milkweed will be up in no time at all. This is what the caterpillar will eat on. I have a picture of the caterpillar on one of my flower hubs.

Monarchs will fly away in October and head to Mexico. Maybe they catch a ride on the wings of geese heading south. (Just Joking) Once they get to Mexico they hibernate. Some will stay in warmer parts of California. It's amazing one little butterfly can fly so far.

We went in the meadow today June 3rd and did get pictures of the monarchs’ eggs and one tiny, tiny caterpillar. I was so surprised at how small they are. The eggs are no bigger than the point of a pencil. The tiny white spec is the egg on the milkweed leaf. I have added the picture of the big caterpillar I took last year.

Today I found a medium size caterpillar on a milkweed leaf. We don't have many caterpillars for the number of monarchs we've had and the number of eggs we saw. We're hoping something didn't eat most of the eggs.

Stages of the Monarch Butterflies:

Egg Stage

Larvae Stage

Cocoon Stage-pupa (or chrysalis)

Birth Stage

The photos to the left are the stages of the butterfly, I found in the garden of milkweed. They're very interesting to watch, and fun project for children.

Eggs and Monarch Caterpillar In Different Sizes and Stages.

You can see the tiny little white egg on the milkweed leaf. Monarch Egg

You can see the tiny little white egg on the milkweed leaf. Monarch Egg

Monarch Tiny Caterpillar

Monarch Tiny Caterpillar

Monarch Medium Caterpillar

Monarch Medium Caterpillar

Monarch Large Caterpillar

Monarch Large Caterpillar



Butterfly In Jar Instructions

We have a large wild milkweed garden. Milkweed grows wild everywhere.

I found two caterpillars in the milkweed and I put them in a jar so I could save a couple butterflies.if you can do this it helps the monarch.

I put a food colander on top of the jar so they could breath better and easier to see them. I added milkweed. I added new milkweed every day. Just a note don't get any of the white milky stuff from the milkweed on your skin, it can be irritating. I didn't remove the old milkweed because you can't remove it without disturbing the caterpillars. The caterpillars leave a lot of little black poops at the bottom of the glass jar don't mistake them for eggs.

Scroll to Continue

You can see from the photos that the first caterpillar turned into a cocoon, shortly after the second one turned into a cocoon. They are so interesting to watch. They go to the top of the jar and start to curl up their bodies and before you know what's happened they are a cocoon. The cocoons turned into butterflies in 16 days. Butterflies wings should dry for about 2 hours. You don‘t touch the the butterflies let them crawl on your finger so you can let them go very carefuly. You can let them crawl out of the colander on their own if you would rather do that.

In the photos, I tried showing all the steps the caterpillar took before becoming a beautiful butterfly.

This is a way of getting children interested in nature and a good way to save a butterfly.

The Larva (Caterpillar)


The top photo

The top photo is the jar I used, but any kind will do. You can use a jar with a lid just make sure to put holes in the lid for air.

The photos below show how the second caterpillar crawled up beside the first caterpillar and turned into a cocoon. It also shows the first butterfly hatched and the bottom photos show the second butterfly hatched. The white stuff at the very bottom photo is the casings from the cocoon once the butterflies came out.

Cocoon Stage-pupa (or chrysalis)


Butterfly I Let Go.

Butterflies Mating

Butterflies Mating

More Mating

More Mating

They Love This Sugary Plant.

They Love This Sugary Plant.

Pod from milk weed

Pod from milk weed

Common Milkweed



milkweed bloom

milkweed bloom

© 2012 moonlake


Chris on July 04, 2017:

milkweed plants are the gift that keep giving. We look for caterpillars and cocoons in the plants every day and they grow great 365 days a year in LA. My boys also used to watch the very hungry caterpillar every morning on Netflix and that music will always remind me of them.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on August 24, 2015:

Wonderful how to for butterflies. I would like to add this to the hub I just posted about a butterfly garden. Would that be okay with you.

Shared pinnned G+ tweeted

Thelma Alberts from Germany on June 14, 2015:

What a beautiful hub! There are butterflies roaming around in my tropical garden in the Philippines and I did not even know tha name of them. I just know that one of them is the Monarch butterfly. There are plenty of flowers in my garden like cosmos and zinnias and I know the butterflies love them. Thanks for sharing this very useful and informative hub. Happy Sunday!

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on June 09, 2015:

You're very welcome Moonlake.

moonlake (author) from America on June 08, 2015:

Shyron E Shenko, My bluebirds were back this year. They were going from birdhouse to birdhouse and finally decided on the bluebird house. Thanks for stopping by.

moonlake (author) from America on June 08, 2015:

Kristen Howe, Thank you for stopping by glad you liked the hub.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on June 08, 2015:

Moonlake, this was beautiful in photos and descriptions of your garden. Thanks for sharing with an beautiful voted up!

Audrey Howitt from California on January 27, 2015:

Love Monarchs! Beautiful hub!

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on January 27, 2015:

Your fascinating story of the return of the Monarchs is entertaining and you're right about this process as being a good study for kids and others as well. Back to nature and send them tromping outside for a change. You are ambitious to get these fabulous photos of the caterpillars and butterflies. Nicely done.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on January 27, 2015:

So glad this was shared as a little taste of spring is a nice thing. In spring we see the bluebirdies and monacrchs return. This past summer we had more than was glorious.

Thank you for sharing with us...the photos are awesome.

Angels are on the way to you ps

Voted up and shared pinned

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on January 27, 2015:

I am back to look at the beauty that you have displayed here and read about the blue birds house hunting. I have only seen two here in Texas in the twenty years we have lived here.

I hope that all is well with you.

Blessings and hugs dear friend

Voted up, ABI, shared

moonlake (author) from America on February 21, 2014:

Maria, Thank you so much for stopping by. I have a short time today to get on Hubpages and do a few things. Our son has taken my husband for treatments so it gives me time to catch up around here. We spent much of our week out of town. I too hope spring is around the corner.

moonlake (author) from America on February 21, 2014:

Happyboomernurse, Thank you for letting me know about the award. I didn't know anything about it so I appreciate it. I'm looking forward to spring and the blue birds and Monarchs. It's been a long winter and more to come.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on February 15, 2014:

Dear moonlake,

How wonderful to be guided to this informative and soothing piece of writing this morning. I am thrilled to see that you have been honored on Jo Goldsmith's GC Publication Awards with this beautiful work.

Your photography makes me hopeful that Spring 'must' be around the corner. Thanks for the inspiration today.

Voted UP and UABI. Hope all is well with you in 2014. Hugs, Maria

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on February 13, 2014:

Congratulations on earning the GC Gold Award in the Education category for this informative and beautifully illustrated hub.

It was interesting that the bluebird was being so particular about choosing a home, and that this particular couple were so protective.

I love the detailed observations you make about the wildlife in your yard.

Voted up across the board except for funny.



moonlake (author) from America on November 08, 2013:

starstream, Thanks so much for stopping by. Enjoyed having you check out my hub.

moonlake (author) from America on November 06, 2013:

Shyron E Shenko, Thank you and thanks so much for stopping by. Thanks for the vote, shared and pin.

Dreamer at heart from Northern California on November 05, 2013:

Interesting journal type of hub giving nature details. I think your country life must be full of interesting new sights everyday.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on November 05, 2013:

Moonlake, your pictures are so beautiful. I am not good with a camera except by accident.

Voted up, ABI, shared and pinned.

moonlake (author) from America on September 19, 2013:

CraftytotheCore, Bluebirds are so pretty it's funny how we worry about them every year like they're our kids. We had them this year but I couldn't get a picture. They nested twice in a box we really didn't want them to nest in.

CraftytotheCore on September 19, 2013:

Moonlake, I would be totally submitting those bird and butterfly photos to Birds N Bloom Magazine! I used to have a subscription to that. After reading some of the advice, I too attracted a blue bird to a back yard nesting box. It took me 5 years. I looked out my back door one day and the bird was resting on the side of a bird bath near my back patio. Of course, no camera on me at that moment. Bluebirds are so amazing!

moonlake (author) from America on August 06, 2013:

Au fait, Really isn't that strange I wonder why. I will have to check out your purple board. Thanks so much for the pins I appreciate it.

C E Clark from North Texas on August 05, 2013:

Love your beautiful photos here. Pinned it once to my 'Butterfly' board, and now I'm going to put it on my 'Purple II' board. For some reason my purple boards get the most attention.

moonlake (author) from America on August 05, 2013:

ologsinquito, Thank you and thanks so much for stopping by.

ologsinquito from USA on August 04, 2013:

You have a lovely garden. These are such beautiful closeups of the monarchs. I voted up and I'll be pinning this to my Monarch Butterfly board.

moonlake (author) from America on July 21, 2013:

Au fait, We didn't get our Monarchs this year but we do have bluebirds nesting. I wished I had taken the picture of the chrysalis but I never found one. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing.

C E Clark from North Texas on July 16, 2013:

Came back to this article because it has such beautiful photos. Loved them all and some are really exceptional. I really love the one of the chrysalis. I've pinned this hub to my butterflies board. Will also share it with my followers again. Thank you for sharing these excellent photos!

moonlake (author) from America on April 19, 2013:

Deborah-Diane, Thank you and thanks for stopping by.

Deborah-Diane from Orange County, California on April 18, 2013:

Gorgeous article. I love the photos!

moonlake (author) from America on March 06, 2013:

bridalletter, We have a long way to go before we see spring here. It's still so cold. Thanks so much for stopping by and reading my hub.

Brenda Kyle from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA on March 05, 2013:

Such a joy to see the blue birds. I get a few pair each year. So glad you are able to photograph them. I am passionate about butterflies, thank you for sharing information on them. The time is nearing for Missouri's spring birds...

moonlake (author) from America on January 30, 2013:

pstraubie48, You are so lucky you saw a butterfly today? All I see when I look out the window is snow and tomorrow -12 temps.

Thank you for stopping by and for the vote and for the angels I can use them.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on January 30, 2013:

Your photos add much to this article. And I can never read enough about birds...all kinds and the bluebird is a favorite. Butterflies too are another favorite of mine...I tried to get a picture of a lovely butterfly today when I took my grandson for a ride in his stroller but I was not fast enough.

I do not see many Monarchs but am thrilled when I do .

Voted up+++

Sending Angels to you and yours :) ps

moonlake (author) from America on January 30, 2013:

SallyTX, I don't think we have as many as we use to have and there are so many things that eat their eggs or the caterpillars. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment and for the vote.

Sally Branche from Only In Texas! on January 29, 2013:

Beautiful photos! We don't have bluebirds here, but I do see a few Monarchs each year; although, this year I think it was only one or two. When I was a child, they were plentiful, and I remember once seeing a small tree covered with them. My mother said that when she was a child, they would darken the sky and cover the trees as they made their way through north Texas on their migration to Mexico.

Voted up & beautiful! ;D

moonlake (author) from America on December 18, 2012:

Jackie Lynnley, Sometimes I can only get the pictures from inside the house out the window but whatever works I do it. My camera is small it takes at distance but not real well. Thanks so much for stopping by I appeciate it.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on December 18, 2012:

I love bluebirds, well all birds really and avian here has just got me interested in photographing them, I didn't think I could. Well I can't as good as you or her but I am starting to learn and earn trust and it is a great thing! Butterflies around me got more numerous this summer. I hope that is a sign they will continue to multiply.

moonlake (author) from America on December 07, 2012:

pstraubie48, Thanks so much for stopping by, glad you enjoyed the walk. I appreciate your comments.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on December 07, 2012:

This was a lovely walk with you, Moonlake. I love to watch the birds and the butterflies in my yard. I have not seen any Monarchs since I moved to North Central Florida. I am sure they are here but none have visited. We have a lot of lovely yellow ones and they like to fly close to me when I am outside. The bluebirds are not abundan there either but lots and lots of both male and female robins. thank you so much for sharing with us... :) ps

moonlake (author) from America on December 05, 2012:

Eddy, Thanks so much for stopping by. We love the birds and butterflies in our garden.

Eiddwen from Wales on December 05, 2012:

Beautiful and so interesting. Great share.


moonlake (author) from America on November 28, 2012:

Stephanie Henkel, The bluebird was also having problems with the Robin following him around the yard I don't know why. Robins don't build nest in boxes. Mrs. Bluebird wanted a bigger and better home this year I guess. Thank you for stopping by always nice to see you.

Stephanie Henkel from USA on November 28, 2012:

Monarchs and bluebirds - my favorite garden visitors! I so enjoyed your photographs and the story of your bluebirds' search for a nesting box. Our bluebirds are very fussy, too, and check out both boxes several times before deciding on their home. Sometimes they even start to build a nest in one of them and then move. I blame it on Mrs. Bluebird just being very hard to satisfy! :) Thanks for a beautiful hub!

moonlake (author) from America on November 24, 2012:

Au fait, I don't mind thank you. So glad you dropped by. I loved your Glasswing Butterfly. I don't know if I read your other two hubs but will check them out. Thanks so much fro the vote and share.

C E Clark from North Texas on November 24, 2012:

You have such fantastic photos! How lucky you are to live where you can enjoy the wildlife. I have put a link to this hub in 3 of my related hubs, I hope you don't mind. I think my readers who enjoy my 2 hubs on birds (Bob White and Whippoorwills) and the one on the Glasswing Butterfly would also enjoy this hub.

Voting you up, interesting, and beautiful. Will share.

moonlake (author) from America on October 05, 2012:

Dolores Monet, Thank you it is nice in the spring when all the birds and butterflies come back. We have such long hard winters here we enjoy seeing all of this. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on October 05, 2012:

Oh moonlake - what a beautiful garden! What could be more wonderful than bluebirds and butterflies. That sounds like a kids' book or a song. I enjoyed reading this one so much!

moonlake (author) from America on July 06, 2012:

mary615, Our milkweed field just keeps growing and now I think there is another one starting. Here they can grow all they want no will plow them down. Thanks for stopping back by. You have a great evening.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on July 06, 2012:

I came back because I forgot to go to the site of the lady who does all the work for the butterflies. My next door neighbor grows lots of milkweed so the Monarchs will have food.

Hope you have a wonderful day!

moonlake (author) from America on July 05, 2012:

sgbrown, This year I can't look inside the birdhouse it's to high up. They are now feeding the babies. They must be getting big because parents seem to spend more time outside the nest.

Thanks so much for stopping by and for the votes.

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on July 05, 2012:

What a wonderful hub! I loved "walking around in your yard". Your information is excellent and your pictures are beautiful! I love it whenthe bluebirds come back in spring too. We have a pair that always nest near the house. I like to "check in" on the babies. I loved your hub! Voted up and more! Have a wonderful day!

moonlake (author) from America on June 29, 2012:

Angelo52, Thank you for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed the hub. I appreciate your comment.

moonlake (author) from America on June 29, 2012:

Hi Mary, So glad you came by. I will check your hub. I don't think I have seen that one. I go down to the milkweed patch almost everyday to check and see if anything is happening. The monarchs are still flying around. Thanks for the vote and the share.

Angelo52 on June 29, 2012:

Beautiful introduction to your garden and the animals and plants that live there, even if only part time. Thanks for sharing.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on June 28, 2012:

I really enjoyed reading this Hub. I've never seen a Bluebird in my part of S. Fl. but we have Monarchs. It is hard to find Milkweed here, and of course they feed on the Milkweed. I found some plants locally and was able to "grow" some Monarchs. I hung a chrysalis on the Blue Orchid I received as a gift, and was able to get a good photo of him when he came out and into the world. If you want to see him, check out myHub on the Tropical Ranch Botanical Gardens.

I voted this Hub UP, and I'd like to share.

moonlake (author) from America on June 28, 2012:

billybuc, We were in the meadow yesterday and the monarchs are still mating. The milkweed in blossom now. The bluebirds have their little ones now. Thank you for stopping by and I always apprecitate comments.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 28, 2012:

We were just watching the bluebirds yesterday and of course the Monarchs are always a welcome sight. What a journey those Monarchs take!

Great hub and pictures.

moonlake (author) from America on June 16, 2012:

ChristyWrites, Thanks you glad you like the photos. They are going in and out but I don't hear any babies yet. Thanks, for the vote and for stopping by.

Christy Birmingham from British Columbia, Canada on June 16, 2012:

I vote up and awesome! The photos are magnificent. My parents have birds coming to their birdhouses at their home. What a great hub.

moonlake (author) from America on June 05, 2012:

Peggy W, Thanks so much for stopping by. My poenies are just starting to open wide. The Monarch have kind of died down and now the yard has lots of swallowtail butterflies. The swallowtails like the camera more than the monarchs. Thanks for the vote.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 05, 2012:

Enjoyed seeing your bluebirds and the Monarch butterflies in all stages of growth. Also loved the flowers. We used to grow poenies up north. I miss seeing them. Voted up and beautiful. Thanks!

moonlake (author) from America on June 02, 2012:

Hyphenbird, Glad you liked it. We were so happy to see the blue birds come back. They have been here since we moved here in 2005. Thanks so much for stopping by.

moonlake (author) from America on June 02, 2012:

RTalloni, I have to put the names on of the flowers, sometimes I don't even know the names even though they're growing in my garden. Thanks, so much for stopping by.

moonlake (author) from America on June 02, 2012:

anusujith, I'm glad you liked them thanks so much for stopping by.

Brenda Barnes from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on June 02, 2012:

Just lovely. I am happy to see the bluebirds making a return. They have been so scare in the last decade. Your pictures of the birds, flowers and description of your farm are wonderful. Your home is a great place for nature. Thank you for sharing it with us.

RTalloni on June 02, 2012:

How lovely to have bluebirds! I'm glad the monarchs are doing well, too. Your photos are beautiful. I recognize some of the flowers, but do not know the names of others.

Anoop Aravind A from Nilambur, Kerala, India on June 02, 2012:

wow!what a beauty.natural photos, really its beautiful.

moonlake (author) from America on June 01, 2012:

JamaGenne, We thought it was pretty funny. We were really hoping he wouldn't pick the little garden birdhouse. It's just really so small even though they have had their babies in it before it's low to the ground and not the safest place. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Joanna McKenna from Central Oklahoma on June 01, 2012:

How lovely! I thoroughly enjoyed Daddy Bluebird checking out the different homes available in your yard. Wouldn't you LOVE to know what he was thinking while looking at each? ;D

moonlake (author) from America on June 01, 2012:

Lesley, Thanks so much for stopping by glad you liked visiting my yard. One of these we will be able to stop covering the plants. I took a picture of the eggs of the monarch yesterday, now to get time to put them on. Thanks, for the vote.

Movie Master from United Kingdom on June 01, 2012:

I have so enjoyed visiting your backyard and I am so envious of your bluebirds and monarch's!

Your flowers are beautiful, thank you for sharing and voting up!

moonlake (author) from America on May 31, 2012:

aviannovice, Thank you, and thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, I appreciate it.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on May 31, 2012:

Beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing and keep up the nice work.

moonlake (author) from America on May 31, 2012:

tillsontitan,Thanks, so much for stopping by glad you liked the pictures. I have I think better bluebird shots on my other hub. These were just hard to get. At least the flowers stood still I could get them with no problem.

Thanks, for the vote.

Mary Craig from New York on May 31, 2012:

I think bluebirds are so pretty. They nest at my father-in-laws as he has open fields around. I live in a development and have never seen one here.

Your hub was interesting but your pictures, they are amazing. I know the bluebird ones were difficult but the flowers! Calenar material for sure.

Voted up, awesome and beautiful.

moonlake (author) from America on May 31, 2012:

kashmir56, Thank you, glad you liked the hub. Thanks so much for the vote and for stopping by.

Thomas Silvia from Massachusetts on May 31, 2012:

Thanks for all this interesting information within this well written hub, loved all the beautiful photos as well.

Vote up and more !!!

moonlake (author) from America on May 31, 2012:

Bob, Thanks for stopping by and visiting my hub I appreciate it.

moonlake (author) from America on May 31, 2012:

Joyce, That would be a good idea I never thought of doing that. I was really having a hard time getting good pictures. Bluebird was not happy with me. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment and thanks for the vote.

diogenes on May 31, 2012:

Hoon. I have written about the Monarchs on here and in various newspapers. And visited their retreat in Michoacan in Mexico. They don't hibernate down there but have fun in the sun!

Their migrations, spread over 4 generations, are incredible.


Joyce Haragsim from Southern Nevada on May 31, 2012:

Moonlake, Your photos are amazing. There's one of our hubber friends making calendars with her wonderful photos, maybe you could as well.

Vote up beautiful and interesting, Joyce.

moonlake (author) from America on May 31, 2012:

Minnetonka Twin, Thank you, I'm so glad you liked it. It is beautiful when spring comes in our yard. Thanks, for stopping by.

Linda Rogers from Minnesota on May 30, 2012:

What a beautful slide show of nature's beauty. I hit many buttons.

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