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

Monarch butterflies are incredibly unique!

when do monarchs arrive in ohio

 

Instead of overwintering in Ohio like every other insect, Monarchs MIGRATE back to Ohio 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 Ohio to reproduce and lay eggs.

 

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

 

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

 

But with that being said;

 

Most Monarchs get to Ohio 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 Ohio, 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 Ohio?

 

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18 Comments

  1. I found a caterpillar on a milkweed plant next to my house , it looks pretty big hopefully about to pupate , is there anything I can do to keep it safe ? I have cats which help with keeping birds somewhat at bay .

    1. I usually have quite a few monarchs in by garden. This is mid August and I have seen thr monarchs but look everyday on my milkweed patch for any sign of the little caterpillars and haven’t seen any. My milkweed is getting brownish and beginning to think I might not have any caterpillars this year to raise. Last year I raised 25 and tagged them and set them free. Any words of encouragement?

  2. I am in SW Ohio, just east of Cincinnati near the Ohio River. I have only seen two monarchs all summer, both within the last 10 days.

  3. Ok, everybody who posted their concerns on this site… did the monarchs finally make it to your yards? As I said in an earlier post, in the Toledo, Ohio area it took until the second and third week of August for things to really heat up and for the monarchs to arrive. Yes, I did collect 25 eggs today, but there were actually about 10 more that I left on the leaves because I ran out of Tupperware! I also just ordered four more butterfly cages to accommodate my collection. I wish I could post some pictures so you could see what my back porch looks like stuffed with butterfly cages of different sizes, numerous potted up milkweed plants, and 10 Tupperware containers filled with eggs!

  4. Collect them! Also, there is some new research out there that is showing that raising the last generation of caterpillars outside is better for the monarchs, there’s a better chance of them actually migrating to Mexico.

  5. I saw my first Monarch today (8/17/2022) in my milkweed patch hopefully laying eggs – I live in central Ohio. This is the latest date for a first spotting I have ever experienced. Does it help if I harvest the caterpillars and keep them in a safe box until they emerge and then release? Or just let nature take its course?

  6. I live south of Dayton. Three years ago I raised almost 150 monarchs. The number dropped to 50 and last year just 29. The monarchs seem to be late this year. The first week of August I finally found 4 newly hatched cats and put them in a cage. The following week I found zero! I was giving up hope. Then today I collected 15 eggs from 4 milkweed plants. I also saw 2 monarchs that seemed to be together. I’m hoping its a male and female and that Ill be seeing a lot more eggs.

    I just read that a female monarch can lay 700 eggs. So maybe you don’t need a lot of monarchs, just a very fertile pair.

  7. I live in Maumee too, and I’m new to milkweed and had aphids, and all are on the mend. I thought it was just my milkweed problem I have not seen any.

  8. We live in Findlay and we have only seen 1 monarch all year. We have a lot of planting for butterflies including several milkweed and we just are not seeing them.

  9. Sorry to report as of July 30, 2022 I have not seen a monarch butterfly in Maumee, Ohio a suburb of Toledo. Plenty of milkweed and flowers with nectar. I had two or more monarchs almost every time I looked at my garden last year and I looked at it several times a day. My sister said that she hasn’t seen any in Grove city Ohio near Columbus and a friend of hers in Pennsylvania has not seen any either.

    1. Hello there, Maumee! I live in Toledo across the street from St. Pat’s. No worries, there are monarchs in our area. Up until August 1 I had only seen 10 monarchs. I was worried. However, starting the second week of August up until today, I have seen approximately 35 more! It was a slow start collecting eggs. I released my first butterfly last week, and another one should be ready to go when I wake up tomorrow 🙂 I currently have 21 chrysalises, 15 J’ing (or in final instar), about 30 others in various stages, and more than 50 eggs! I collected 25 eggs today! Oh yeah, I’m also raising all the monarchs outside on my back porch as a result of the latest research. My best year was five years ago when I released 124. Last year I only released one. I was very sad. I grow 4 different milkweed varieties, and I have lots of zinnias, stone crop, goldenrod, phlox, and many other flat top flower favorites. Last week there were two mating pairs in my yard on the same day at the same time!

  10. It is 7/29/22 and I have not seen any yet near New Richmond, OH. I left a section of pasture unmowed & kept the horses out of it after finding several small groups of the orange flowering milkweed plants. There are about 15 varieties of wildflowers blooming in that area right now, but I have not seen any Monarchs and no sign of eggs on the plants. There are also fewer kept honeybees showing up, but I did see a wild honeybee for the first time in years this spring.

    1. The orange milkweed is called butterfly weed. I think it’s one of the prettiest milkweeds out there. However, it seems that the monarchs prefer the common milkweed above all others. The common milkweed can be very invasive if you grow it in a home garden. You must be vigilant. I would suggest that you plant some of that common milkweed and you’ll get more monarchs. I grow the orange as well and have only found one caterpillar on it this year. It’s really hard to locate eggs on their leaves.

  11. This is my first year, I’m in NE Ohio and so far I’ve found 4 eggs and one caterpillar who I think is about to go into his chrysalis. Two eggs I’m still hoping hatch, but they’re taking a while.. day 6 and no hatch yet. I’m hoping nothing got to them before I did. I have an ok patch of ~15 native plants that I check, and 2 tropical milkweed plants in pots. No eggs found on the tropical yet
    Haven’t found anything since those eggs 6 days ago. I was afraid I had missed Ohio’s season, but it seems it hasn’t hit yet? Hoping this isn’t a bad sign for them this year.

  12. I have been raising monarchs for many years in Kent Ohio. The latest they have ever been is July 10. My yard is full of nectar and Common milkweed and I have not seen one yet it’s 16 July! I check the milk weed twice a day. I have many different areas where it’s grown and it’s all healthy and nothing has been sprayed.
    Beginning to wonder where they are.