Monarch butterfly caterpillars are fun to raise until they form chrysalises and ultimately emerge transformed as butterflies. This instructable takes you even further back in the butterfly life cycle and describes how to raise a monarch from a newly-laid egg into a fully grown butterfly.

I have also raised Swallowtail butterflies from eggs found on parsley in a fashion similar to that described here. I would be interested in hearing about the experiences of other readers in locating and identifying the eggs of other types of butterflies.

Step 1: Timeline

Below are the dates on which significant events in the life of these Monarch butterflies occurred. The timing may vary, but it will be helpful to know about how long things take.

June 28 -- Monarch butterfly observed laying eggs on milkweed.
June 30 -- Five eggs brought inside (photos only show four).

July 2 -- Transfer eggs to a fresh leaf in anticipation of the eggs hatching.
July 3 -- Two hatched by early morning and the remaining three by noon.
July 5 -- Colored bands becoming apparent.
July 8 -- Getting bigger.

July 12 -- Lost one caterpillar. Failure to thrive.
July 13 -- Start molting period. Appear uninterested in food.
July 15 -- Finish molting. Voracious and big.
July 17 -- J-hooking.
July 18 -- Four chrysalises. Nothing left but the waiting.
July 28 -- Chrysalises darken in the evening. Wing patterns clearly visible.
July 29 -- Butterflies emerge!
<p>Do NOT handle the caterpillars! If absolutely necessary, wear gloves and KEEP YOUR HANDS AWAY FROM YOUR FACE! They shed microscopic hairs that will irritate the skin - if it gets in your eyes, see you eye doctor ASAP!</p>
<p>I'm just starting my butterfly garden :) ! I have 3 milkweed plants and a few butterfly friendly plants. We witnessed a butterfly laying her eggs about a week ago. I have a few eggs to gather. Questions/Concerns: (1) Black ants have taken over my milkweeds - will they eat the eggs and is there a way I can get rid of them? (2) I'm in Florida, lots of lizards around - will they eat the eggs?</p>
<p>I need your help by <a href="http://www.instructables.com/member/matthewpoage/" rel="nofollow">matthewpoage</a> , I raise them too.</p><p>contact me please,</p><p>dougshreff@aol.com I want info on raising the eggs,</p><p>I currently do 4 dozen caterpillars and 6-8 dozen chrys...</p><p>want to start with eggs.</p><p>viewers, enjoy this link</p><p><a href="http://dougshrefflerthenextpresident.com/monarchs4/index2.html" rel="nofollow">http://dougshrefflerthenextpresident.com/monarchs4...</a></p><p>As a small child in Saint Louis, now im in Ca, my mother </p><p>took me to the large indoor stadium sized butterfly house there.</p><p>Now I raise them.</p>
<p>I should also add, yes I am a candidate,</p><p>but I post here to ask help with the butterflys I love.</p><p>not to spam.</p>
I love them
I have raised monarchs for 12 years, the best way to harvest the eggs is to cut them (and a small section of leaf) out and float it in a shallow dish of water preventing them from drying out. I've attached a photos of this year's harvest so far.
Thank you for this wonderful instructable! Please sign up to report milkweed and Monarch migration here: http://www.learner.org/jnorth/monarch/ <br>Lots of info &amp; interesting things for the kids here as well! Only 5 more weeks until the butterflies start their migration north from their winter home in Mexico. <br>2/12/13
Newly hatched larvae are cannibalistic. They will eat other eggs, so for this reason you must keep each egg in a separate container. If you put all of the eggs on one new leaf (as the image shows), OR if you have a cutting with more than one egg on it (as the above commenter recommends), the larvae that hatch first can and will eat the unhatched eggs. <br><br>See this photo for an example: <br>http://www.butterflyfunfacts.com/images/eggs.monarch.eat.unhatched.6.jpg
The Monarch butterflies go through four stages during one life cycle and through the four generations in one year. It is a little confusing. The four stages of the monarch butterfly life cycle are the egg, the larvae, the pupa, and the adult butterfly. The four generations are actually four different butterflies going through these four stages during the one year until it is time to start over again with stage one and generation one. Female Monarch Butterflies deposit eggs for the next generation during these migrations. Monarch butterflies are the milkweed butterfly in the family Nymphalidae. Really beautiful.<br>http://www.wildlifeworld360.com/majestic-monarch-butterflies.html<br><br>
This is a very inspiring instructable, thanks! Some of our students at school are hatching butterflies at the moment (from chrysalises that a parent bought), but it makes sense to find eggs and start from them. <br><br>I've been trying to get photos of different butterflies for my album, but now I have a new project - looking for eggs (no milkweed here, so it could be a difficult project - I'll have to research our local butterflies).
The caterpillar only eats the milkweed, and will almost always stay on the plant, so putting them in a jar is not strictly necessary.
yes but then they would escape after they finished their milkweed....
They never finish eating until they form a chrysalis
Amazing photos!
They eat their entire caterpillar-hood. They can climb from leaf to leaf and have no desire to &quot;escape&quot; the milkweed, if it is not wilted and lousy. They may leave when they are ready to make the chrysalis, and crawl under whatever they can suspend the chrysalis from.
why can't we touch them their soo cute but if it kills them I'd rather not hehe...
Keep the leaves on a stem, in a vase. That way leaves won't wilt. Caterpillars know how to hang on to the plant, as they do this in nature.
If you take an entire stem and put it in a vase, the caterpillars can move from leaf to leaf on their own. Put some newspaper or a cookie sheet under the stem, in case they fall off, or you don't want the frass (poop) to go everywhere.
Now how are you going to get that rhubarb for the cake?
The cake requires too much rhubarb. Substitute yams.
I love this instructable. I think this will be a fun science project for my daughter. Thanks so much~
Because they're really so incredibly very small. There would be no way to pick them up that wouldn't squash them flat.
Awesome instructable! Last night my wife said "Let's do that!". I haven't done this since I was a kid so I said ok. It just so happens I have a huge milkweed in my backyard. So this morning I went out to it and lo & behold I ended up with 4 eggs, and 7 caterpillars of all different sizes from newly hatched to inch & a half! My wife has never done this so she is in for an amazing surprise! Thank you for bringing out the kid in me again! Now it's time to sit and wait!
can we touch them when they are small?whyy?
where is it that you live?Here in Fla. it seems that those who believe no bug should live have killed off almost everything but the mosquito! Also have you tried any other types?
Very interesting and well done, we have TONS of milkweed around our parts and it could be a very educational and fun project for the kids next summer Thanks!
Thanks so much! I was just looking at some eggs on the milkweed wondering if they were monarch, and if so, what to do - this is a great resource. Excellent job!

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