Last year we were hunting all summer for butterfly eggs. We searched a lot of the forest preserves, open fields, and our backyard but none was in sight. Maybe global warming had something to do with not finding any or because we went looking in July / August. Who knows but, whatever the reason 2016 did not favor us for caterpillars or butterflies. So, this year we decided to jump on the hunt early, it’s mid-June and we head out to find some eggs.Monarch butterflies usually migrate to Mexico / California region in the Fall and back North / East in the Spring. The butterflies get out of hibernation, mate and then travel to lay their eggs on milkweeds. For this reason, we went looking to find eggs in June. There are many other kinds of butterflies that land of different kind of plants, but we specifically wanted monarchs and they eat from milkweeds. We have been wanting monarch for some time now.
So my kids and I decided to try the same forest preserve that last year had us finding things that did not look like caterpillars. See my post on that adventure. Earlier the day we washed out the worm kit that once housed juicy earthworms after which we boarded the minivan. These kids were so glad to search crevices and underleaf the milkweeds hoping to find eggs.You can imagine their surprise when we spotted the first caterpillar. We went searching for eggs but mother nature gave us caterpillars – making up for last years disappointment.The first day out hunting for eggs had us going home with (11) caterpillars to begin a summer science project.The Monday when the daycare kids came in, they were very excited to see so many caterpillars. Within two days chrysalises were forming one by one. See my post on that science adventure. Very soon the daycare children wanted to hunt for caterpillars like my children did, so we made a field trip of it and went hunting.They excitedly started searching the milkweeds hoping to find one, two, three or four.I jokingly told them they had to search all over the trees because the caterpillars wouldn’t be sitting asking, ” choose me.” After which, to my surprise around the bend, I spotted a caterpillar in plain sight nibbling. I quickly beckoned to the kids pointing to the caterpillar, they were shocked to see the big fat hungry caterpillar.With glee two children attempted to take the caterpillar off the leaf when the youngest decided it was not his thing. So the older child completed the task putting it in our makeshift box until we got home.This is what the milkweed plant looks like. These were flowering within the one week my children got their eleven caterpillars.Milkweeds are also home to other insects. This looked like a giant ladybug…not sure this name.Honestly, I think I was more excited about hunting and finding the caterpillars than all the children. I did not do this project as a child, therefore, I am now living my childhood dreams in this discovery. We have all these caterpillars that are going to metamorphize soon – that’s a cool science project that all the children even the babies will enjoy. See the science unfold here