Wisconsin Fall Monarch Migration

The Monarch Butterfly Leaves Wisconsin Soon

The days are getting shorter and the early signs of fall are setting in. Soon, the Wisconsin fall monarch migration will begin. Monarchs will make their journey to their winter homes over 6,000 miles away in South America and Mexico. Where they will sleep the winter away in comfort.

Wisconsin Fall Monarch Migration

Sometime between the first week of September and the first week of October monarchs leave Wisconsin and start their two-month journey to their winter homes.  

The time varies each year.  Scientists are not exactly sure what tells the monarchs to start their migration trip. Some state it is the Earth’s magnetic field that gives them the hint it is time to leave and the position of the sun, in relationship to the sky

Either way, it happens and it is a magnificent marvel to nature that it does.

The Last Generation is the Only Monarch to Make the Flight

Adult Monarch butterfly on swamp milkweed.

Most monarch butterflies only live a few weeks. But the last generation of monarchs, born in mid-August, is the migratory generation.

The shorter days and cooler temperatures of autumn prevent the butterflies from maturing enough to reproduce.

This allows them to live for about eight to nine months – long enough to fly south for the winter and back to Wisconsin to reproduce the following summer.

Healthy Population Of Aphids

Was hoping to see plenty of monarchs this year but I was a little scared because, in this area, the monarch caterpillars had plenty of aphids to compete with for their food source, milkweed.  Everywhere I visited during late spring and summer the monarch caterpillars were battling aphids.

The video above is a monarch caterpillar picking off aphids so that it can eat the milkweed plant. Despite all the aphids in this area, I did find plenty of monarch butterflies this fall.

Fluttering From Flower to Flower

Wisconsin Fall Monarch Migration

I did find monarchs fluttering from flower to flower, stocking up on nectar to make their flight South.  

August and September are my favorite months to go out and watch the Monarchs.  They generally sit on the flowers a little longer allowing one a have a good view.  

When Will The Monarchs Return?

You can expect to see the Wisconsin Fall Monarch Migration of butterflies returning to Wisconsin in May, next spring.  

They will lay their eggs and start the life cycle all over again. Nature is awesome!

On Vacation

Until then, they will be partying in some tree, soaking up the sun in Mexico, California, or Florida.


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