If there's one common thread that connects the people who come to this site, it's that we care deeply about nature and our role inside of it. We raise Monarchs as a way to buoy their numbers while we anxiously try to preserve their environment, all while knowing the forces against us.
My own butterfly nurturing journey took a steep spike towards success when I stopped looking for caterpillars and started getting very serious about finding eggs. I have almost a 99% disease-free rate with eggs and most of those eggs would have been spider or wasp food in my yard, so it's especially gratifying.
This year the numbers have been down, but my determination is up. I'm a strong believer that the caterpillars do best when raised outside in the elements, but I always start the eggs indoors to keep a close eye on them. They aren't in for long. Within 3-4 days they get perched on their feeders, safely inside my Monarch cage. The two below went out after this shot. They literally doubled overnight! There are about 5 eggs in the leaves as well.
No one system is the only right answer, but I sure do appreciate the convenience of the one I'm using now. What you see in the image are tubes and they have two different hole sizes. The very small hole tops (yellow) work for the tiny leaves that the newly hatched cats use and the larger holes (clear) become indispensable later on when you need to get as many leaves in as possible to keep up. I got the entire system, including the netted cages from Monarch Butterfly Lifecycle.
Over the years I've heard amazing stories from butterfly growers all around North America. Some people manage to release 100s of healthy Monarchs every season. It's amazing! Now that my website has more capabilities, I'd love to start sharing some of those stories here. If you have been having great success with your Monarchs or if you'd like to show us your set up, please send me your story and maybe some pics to email@example.com. I know the Monarch is in a precarious situation right now. We're all worried for the little guys. Maybe together we can find our way.