Overwintering on my porch

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  • #39424

    JacquieH
    Participant

    I released 6 late monarchs who flew away on a sunny day, then Christchurch got frosts, cold wet rain and the last 3 refused to go anywhere. I placed them on one of my trees and they were still there 2 days later. As they seemed very exposed to freezing rain, I have put them on a milkweed plant on my covered porch, and bought a daisy in a pot to place nearby so they could have some nectar if needed. Is it OK to let them winter over here? They can leave if they want to. Would it be better to bring them inside into the castle if I put them in a room that is usually very cool (no winter sun) The porch is sheltered from wind and rain but night time temperatures can be cold in Christchurch.

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  • #39459

    JacquieH
    Participant

    Christchurch has its first sunny day for ages and the monarchs wintering over on my sheltered porch have taken off – a bit like ungrateful teenagers! I will miss them, but maybe they will return to leave their offspring for me to raise – yep, definitely like some family members LOL

    #39436

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hello Jacquie

    Let them be. They will know what to do… if they can fly out, then they will do so at the appropriate time.

    Remember that Monarch butterflies are basically “wildlife” and have been surviving for many years without human intervention. For all sorts of reasons not every one survives – but as each and every female Monarch can lay something like 700 eggs not every Monarch is meant to survive. Imagine how many Monarch butterflies there would be if we helped every one! Some are destined to be food for other animals, or even detritus to add another element to the soil.

    The other thing to remember is that Monarchs are not built like humans and do not experience the same sensations. Just like other wild animals they adapt to whatever conditions Nature throws at them. They don’t think weather is ‘bad’, ‘stormy’, ‘miserable’ like we do. They can probably sense bad weather coming better than we can. Whereas we shut the windows, turn up the heat or add another layer of clothing wild animals, just as their forebears have done for thousands of years, will more than likely find shelter and wait the weather out.

    Butterflies will hold on to their perch and try not to get too wet. They may even move somewhere offering more shelter. Their wings are naturally shower-proof; the rain runs down and off them like it does off roof tiles. When it’s warm and sunny and the last drops of water have evaporated off their body, a Monarch will fly about, bask in the sun and look for food (nectar). If it’s winter they won’t breed until the spring.

    If you have raised Monarchs indoors and the weather is not favourable to put the butterflies outside we suggest you put them somewhere cool and dark so that they are experiencing similar conditions to outside without the wet and wind. That way they will acclimatise more easily. They will not need to feed until the weather changes.

    Jacqui

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