Now a Monarch butterfly is coming every day but, mind you, there's only one butterfly when in previous years we've had several. But then it only takes one and this girl is certainly doing her job well. She first laid eggs on January 10th and so I placed 4 eggs under cover, to protect them while we were going to be away for a week. When we came back there were two fat caterpillars on the covered plants, but sadly not four (possibly two were infertile, or the ants got them - other predators couldn't get into the enclosure).
Yesterday the two fat caterpillars formed chrysalis's, so I've removed them from the plant and brought them indoors where it's cooler. Unfortunately our temperatures are very high at the moment - 32C (90F) and we have had no rain since well before Christmas.
Since being back I have collected more Monarch eggs and brought them indoors. I've done this so that I can keep them cooler, because it's so dry and hot outside.
I'm also spraying them with a fine mist of water, a couple of times a day, otherwise their skins may become dry and they might not easily emerge from their respective skins (egg, caterpillar or chrysalis). I have seen butterflies unable to break open their very dry chrysalis skin and have died not able to get themselves out.
Click on each picture, to see a larger view.............