How do I take care of Monarchs in Winter?

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  • #61338

    Daniela Ruiz C


    Me and my housemate are taking care of monarch caterpillars during this winter. However, we’re a bit worried because some of them pupated and have been in that stage for at least 3+weeks and very few signes of development. Do anyone knows if this is normal?? And another thing, when/if they hatch what do we need to do? Should we just release them on a not-too-cool day???

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  • #61380


    I haven’t had butterflies in my garden for about a month and my garden is feeling and looking very “winter”, so last week I gathered my potted plants together and left them huddled for the winter expecting to transplant them to the garden closer to spring. Imagine my surprise and sense of perplexity to go out this morning to find a caterpillar on one of the plants! Since I saw the last butterfly, we have had two prolonged periods of heavy rain and strong winds, so the egg must have been on that plant for a long time. For its sheer tenacity – I have brought the whole plant inside for warmth to give this little cat a chance to be a butterfly. It survived as an egg in inhospitable weather and even as a cat – it’s not a tiny one – it has survived against the odds here in Taranaki – so I’ll help the odds a bit. It was immobile and I wasn’t sure it was even alive, but just a few minutes in the warmth and it is already moving and eating.



    Hello Daniela – yes everything slows down at this time of the year. In summer they’re in the pupal stage for 10 or 12 or 14 days (two weeks as a caterpillar)… but some can take weeks in the colder weather. HOWEVER, bear in mind that over the summer diseases have had a chance to build up and as the cooler weather and shorter day length slows the process down, they are less likely to be successful.

    You can either let the monarchs do their own thing in the outdoors OR if you bring them indoors, once they eclose (emerge from the chrysalis) and their wings are dry you can take them outdoors to a sheltered place and they will fly away when they’ve adjusted to the season/temperature. So long as they’re not exposed to heavy rain or wind they should be fine.

    When we have them indoors the monarchs will sense that it’s warm and bright, i.e. summer. They need to sense that it’s midwinter so they can adjust.

    Hope that makes sense.



    Hi, it sounds normal, its important when they emerge that they are able to hang up safely, and that if they miss their footing and fall they are able to immediately climb up to hang again otherwise their wings dont straighten, so as long as the chrysalids are in a good spot with a mesh or grass or twiglet ramp to climb to safety if they fall they should be ok. They go really dark for a couple of days before they emerge, if they stay really dark for more than 4 days they may have perished but if they are green and not indoors where they will sense it is warmer than it actually is and muck up their warning systems you should be right.bron 0212624344

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