Monarch butterfly, 2016 season, New Zealand Minimize

March 2016.It has been an excellent breeding season in Auckland, New Zealand this year. Monarchs have been abundant throughout the city and the writer has raised nearly 80 caterpillars to adulthood. Ensuring 1st instar caterpillar survival via an intensive wasp control programme with dome traps has been vital to achieving this success. At one stage during January there were so many caterpillars that they had consumed every piece of Swan plant foliage, and many of them were relocated with friends and family to ensure their survival.

Just prior to the autumn growth flush an outbreak of Oleander aphids severely decimated the Swan plants and even though it was tempting to spray them, after a month or so they were controlled by ladybird beetles (3 species). The Swan plants have now rebounded and are supporting a healthy 2nd generation of caterpillars which hopefully will emerge into butterflies before winter (see attached photo).  We now have about 20 chrysalises in various stages of maturation.