All caterpillars come from eggs. To find Monarch eggs, look under the leaves of milkweed plants. The eggs are very small, white ovals (see image).
- Remove the whole leaf with egg attached and place it in a screen-covered aquarium or large plastic container, like an ice cream bucket with screen over the top.
- The egg will hatch in one to a few days. Once there is a caterpillar, provide a fresh milkweed leaf daily. You can store extra milkweed leaves in a plastic bag in the fridge. They don't eat much at first, but watch out as they grow!
- Empty out the caterpillar droppings (frass) every few days, more often as the caterpillar grows.
- Near the end of two weeks, the caterpillar will look for a place to form its chrysalis, usually at or near the top of the container. It will hang upside down in the shape of a “J” before shedding its skin one last time. Make sure there’s enough space in the container for the butterfly to hang freely when it comes out.
- Wait 10-14 days for the miracle. Wait for the butterfly’s wings to harden before letting it take flight.
- For more detailed information, visit http://www.monarchwatch.org/rear/