When do Monarchs Arrive in Michigan? (and start laying eggs!)

Monarch butterflies are incredibly unique!

when do monarchs arrive in michigan


Instead of overwintering in Michigan like every other insect, Monarchs MIGRATE back to Michigan every summer.


Yes, you read that right. Monarchs act more like birds! Every fall, they migrate south to Mexico, and then each summer, these butterflies come back north to Michigan to reproduce and lay eggs.


So when exactly can you expect Monarchs to arrive in Michigan?


As you can imagine, there is not an exact day that all the Monarchs get together and decide to start migrating back to Michigan. Each year, the actual time changes depending on the temperature and availability of nectar sources. It also matters where you live in Michigan, as the southern areas will see Monarchs slightly before the northern parts.


But with that being said;


Most Monarchs get to Michigan in mid to late June.


And just so you know, the butterflies that first arrive are NOT the same insects that left the previous fall. The first Monarchs you see each summer are the GRANDCHILDREN of the individuals that left last year.


*On a side note, the migration of Monarchs is incredibly fascinating. It takes four generations of butterflies to make the complete annual journey. All the details are outside the scope of this article, but I encourage you to educate yourself because it will blow your mind!


Anyways, once the Monarchs get to Michigan, they immediately start laying eggs to produce the next generations. These individuals will eventually be the butterflies that fly back to Mexico.


Luckily, we can all help Monarchs!


Making sure your yard is FULL of native plants is one of the best things you can do. Try to pick flowers with different bloom times, so you always have fresh blossoms full of nectar from when they first arrive in June to when they leave in the fall.


In addition, try reading this article, which is full of tips that will make your yard more friendly to butterflies, including Monarchs:


When do you usually see the FIRST Monarchs in Michigan?


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  1. I’ve raised and released 30 so far this season. I have 6 in chrysalis and 4 more cats. I’ve planted 2 types of milkweed,Joe pye weed,butterfly bush, asters, coneflower,black eyed Susan, cosmos. And3 white cedar trees for roostjj in big. Brooklyn Michigan

  2. I just planted a cinderella milkweed plant in may…bush is growing and has clusters of flowers..now I noticed a couple leaves with eggs on them and counted 7 monarch butterfly caterpillars..
    I am near Hudsonville, Mi

  3. It’s August first near Ann Arbor Mi, and I JUST found a mama laying eggs @4 days ago and they hatched today! And I went and checked and found a few more eggs that will hatch in a few days.

  4. We just left camp in Oscoda, Michigan. The trails we hike are littered with milkweed and usually the under side of the leaves are covered with munching Monarch caterpillars. However.. This year we saw no sign of them. I wonder if the wild fires in Canada have something to do with it? Maybe we were just either too early or too late to see them this season?