Why aren’t any Monarchs coming to my milkweed?


I’ve let milkweed grow in my vegetable garden, which I didn’t take time to plant this year. I pulled out half but left some for monarchs, esp. since our new neighbor keeps the adjacent field mowed, instead of letting all the native plants grow. I thought the monarchs would have arrived by now, but don’t see their white eggs under any leaves. (Maybe this is due to the milkweed plants not having been in the garden consistently previously?) I see other insects on them, and am considering pulling them up, in case those insects are not beneficial for my future vegetables, and since I don’t want to confuse the monarchs if they do arrive then don’t find them next year. Thanks for any comments about whether or not this also is a good idea.

Also, I’m considering planting their seeds in a bare patch in my yard instead, for potential use by monarchs next year. The patch would be between my raspberries and a second vegetable garden. Is this a good idea?


Frank Wertheim, Extension Educator, Agriculture/Horticulture

I have heard other reports of monarchs not being seen yet on Milkweed yet this season. I would leave the milkweeds in the garden as they still may arrive. Their flight patterns and populations have been altered in recent years by multiple factors, so they are a bit harder to predict when to expect. If you are concerned about the other insects on the milkweed being potential pests of your future vegetable garden please send me some photos or drop specimens by your local county office of UMaine Extension. There is a good chance that the other insects attracted to the milkweed are potentially beneficial for our gardens and native flora and fauna. For example, they may be larvae of lady beetles which feed on aphids and would protect your future garden plants.  The larvae look nothing like the adult so you may not recognize them.