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

Monarch butterflies are incredibly unique!

when do monarchs arrive in wisconsin


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


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


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


But with that being said;


Most Monarchs get to Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin, 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 Wisconsin?


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  1. Today is June 13th 2023, and I know where there is a group of caterpillars, some of them quite large and ready to pupate. I believe I started seeing caterpillars somewhere between the 20th and 25th of May, and I live in northern wisconsin, up near Spooner.

    1. That being said, how can caterpillars emerging in June stick around all summer and then make the migration back to Mexico? This is really stumping me. I have over a dozen chrysalises in a butterfly habitat right now which should all emerge in a couple of weeks. I wish somebody could explain to me how they can stay here the whole rest of the summer and then make the migration back to Mexico. It wouldn’t seem like they would live that long, even the super generation.

  2. Is it unusual to see Monarch caterpillars in June? I saw one yesterday; surprised me, as I’m used to seeing them in Autumn. Thank you!

  3. Saw first monarch butterfly yesterday(May 30) in Dundee, wi at southeast corner of Fondulac county. Today I’ll look for eggs and raise at least 50 butterflies. I’m also planting milkweed,
    Sharon Zalewski