Although there are still Monarchs flying, they are perhaps not being seen as often as we saw them in mid Summer.
In our garden the aphids have almost disappeared from the swan plants (milkweed), as have their predator ladybirds. Wasp numbers have lessened dramatically and, although one or two Asian Paper Wasps can still be seen flying in the garden, we know they are no longer searching for the protein foods of Monarch eggs and caterpillars, but rather are going for sweet nectar foods instead.
Because the wasp danger has passed, we are now seeing Monarch eggs freely hatching and caterpillars growing on our plants outdoors. The other side of this, however, is that in the cooler temperatures the caterpillars have become slower in their growth rate and chrysalis's are taking up to 15 days before the butterfly emerges (usually it's about 10 days).
This morning we saw off this beautiful male monarch. At this time of year in New Zealand we tag the new monarchs as a way of learning more about their cold weather journeys.