Caterpillars at Home in Pittsburgh!

Monarch butterfly caterpillar photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

See this? While watering my front garden in Pittsburgh this afternoon, for the umpteenth time I thought: Why are there no Monarch caterpillars on the gorgeous front patch of Common milkweed? Milkweed with a solid pedigree, purchased from Monarch Watch, no less. Six and seven foot tall plants, looking lush and strong, and watered whenever there is no rain.

Whoa! What is that on that leaf? Battle stations! Quick dash to get closer. Datta! Da! Dah! A monarch caterpillar, under a large leaf, about 4 feet above the ground. What an antidote to what was a day of way too much challenge. Then the search. There. There. On an adjacent milkweed, another caterpillar, again probably 3rd instar.

Just like y’all in Georgia, Michigan, Illinois, New York, Virginia and Massachusetts, Jeffrey now has Monarch “cats” on Jeffrey’s milkweed. I’ve seen only a single Monarch this year in Pittsburgh, and that was a female, flying in the side yard four days ago, late in the afternoon. Others have reported that they have caterpillars on their lots, but have barely seen adults. Explain that would you?

A happy camper, I.

Jeff

NB, Soon will be posting butterflies from Georgia, Israel (including rare Parnassians), northwestern Pennsylvania and western New York.