Getting Started

Look for the frass. That’s caterpillar poop.

Lots of people raise monarch butterflies, and there are many different ways to do it. Most of the key details are common. I describe my method in my book, How To Raise Monarch Butterflies A Step-by-Step Guide for Kids, which you might want to purchase. Check the “Book” page on this site. My book includes the whole story of the monarch, from egg to Mexico, in simple language, beautifully illustrated. You can get started right away with the instructions given by Monarch Watch at  While you are there, have a look at all the rest of the information Monarch Watch has to offer.  It is a site you’ll want to visit over and over again.

I’ll start with a warning:  Milkweed sap can sting your eyes, and hurt for two weeks. It can even damage your eyes. I have been raising monarch butterflies for thirty years, and learned of the danger only recently. So there is no need to panic; just don’t touch your eyes after you touch sap, and wash your hands as soon as you can after handling milkweed.

Mitzi Monarch says, “The only place I lay eggs is on milkweed. The caterpillars will stay on the milkweed after they are born, because it is the only thing they will eat.

Koochi Caterpillar says, “Feed me before you go to bed. While you’re sleeping, I’m eating.” Seriously, monarchs are eating machines, especially the bigger ones.

And finally:  The best place to get caterpillars and eggs is from the milkweed you plant.  If you take them from the wild, take just a few.  Leave the rest for others to have the same fabulous experience that you’ll have.  Happy hunting!