Expanding North and East

May 17, 2018 by Elizabeth Howard

Monarchs have now expanded across 1 billion acres of breeding habitat from the 6 acres of winter habitat they occupied in Mexico.

“Very worn and faded - and very busy nectaring from flower to flower.” Barbara Manning, Windsor Heights, Iowa, May 10, 2018

Two New States

The migration entered Massachusetts and Minnesota this week - and our northernmost monarch has reached latitude 45°N.

“Some milkweed plants are just starting to come up in the area. Most native plants are a bit behind schedule, due to our late snowfall, but things are growing quickly,” wrote Courtney Celley from Bloomington, Minnesota on May 10.

Sightings Climb

More 1st spring generation monarch are now on the wing but watch for a dramatic upsurge next.  This sightings chart shows the typical surge that occurs during the 2nd half of May.

A Promising Prediction for the East

Monarchs are moving up the Atlantic Coast states quickly and in large numbers this spring.  Earlier-than-normal arrivals in the east mean an early beginning of the breeding season there, and a promise of higher-than-normal numbers this summer. This happened last spring too and monarchs were unusually bountiful in summer 2017. Eggs have already been reported in Massachusetts so the breeding season is off to a good start.

Looking Ahead

Milkweed has now emerged across most of the breeding range. When will the migration reach the end of the milkweed trail? Keep an eye on the wind and temperature map and let’s see what happens in the week ahead.

The Larva Stage of the Life Cycle