What To Report: Monitoring Overwintering Monarchs In Southeastern U.S.

If you live in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida as well as Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, Journey North has a special invitation for you. Not all monarchs migrate to Mexico. Some breed throughout the winter in the southern U.S., and scattered reports show that other monarchs might overwinter here in the U.S. in a non-reproductive state. Researchers and others studying monarchs seek your help to understand this phenomenon.

What to Report

There are three types of observations you can submit to Journey North:

1. Report — “Monarch Adult Sighted”

What? Number of adult monarchs observed during one, 15-minute time period.

When? From December 2020 to March 2021.

How often? Once a week from same location if monarchs are present.

Photos? Yes, upload one photograph for each report submitted.  Photos are extremely helpful in verifying your monarch sightings.

Comments? Yes, if possible, provide answers to these questions:

  • Were monarchs flying?
  • Nectaring? From what flowers?
  • Basking/resting in the sun? On what bush or tree?

*NOTE: Please do NOT use the “Monarch Adult (FIRST Sighted)” reporting category. These “first” observations are reserved for the monarch population that overwinters in Mexico. In the spring, first sightings of migrating monarch butterflies usually occur in end-February or early-March.

2. Report — “Monarch Egg”

What? Monarch eggs observed from one location. You do not need to count eggs. Presence of eggs will tell us if breeding is occurring.

When? From December 2020 to March 2021.

How often? Once a week from same location if eggs are present.

Photos? Yes, upload one photograph for each report submitted.

Comments? Yes, what species of milkweed did you observe the monarch egg?

*NOTE: Please do NOT use the “Monarch Egg (FIRST Sighted)” reporting category. These “first” observations are reserved for the monarch population that overwinters in Mexico. In the spring, “first” egg sightings for the migrating monarch population usually occur in end-February or early-March. 

3. Report — “Monarch Larva”

What? Monarch larvae observed from one location. You do not need to count larvae. Presence alone will tell us if breeding is occurring.

When? From December 2020 to March 2021.

How often? Once a week from same location if larvae are present.

Photos? Yes, upload one photograph for each report submitted.

Comments? Yes, what species of milkweed did you observe the monarch larva?

*NOTE: Please do NOT use the “Monarch Larva (FIRST Sighted)” reporting category. These “first” observations are reserved for the monarch population that overwinters in Mexico. In the spring, “first” larva sightings for the migrating monarch population usually occur in end-February or early-March.