The Monarchs are passing through Kansas. The monarch lives a life of migration and cycles. During spring and summer, they travel to the north, and then with fall, head south to find warmer weather. What many do now know, is the fact that one butterfly does not make this entire journey. Monarchs go through four stages during one life cycle, and through four generations in one year according to monarch-butterfly.com.
The cycles are:
March and April
- Eggs are laid on milkweed plants
- Four days later, baby caterpillars hatch
- They eat for two weeks, and attach to a leaf or stem to begin metamorphosis
- Ten days later a monarch emerges and flies away
- For two to six weeks, the monarch feeds on flowers, and lays eggs for the second generation
May and June
- The second generation is born and repeats the same life cycle as the first generation born in March and April
- It lays eggs for the third generation
July and August
- The third generation is born and repeats the same life cycle as generation one and two.
September and October
- The life cycle is repeated with one exception, it does not die after a few weeks of life, instead this generation migrates to warmer climates in Mexico and California.
- This generation will live in the warmer location for six to eight months until it starts the whole process over again.
This remarkable journey will be celebrated Saturday, September 21 at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. Activities begin at 9 a.m. in the Environmental Education Classroom. The Refuge is in central Kansas, southeast of Great Bend and west of Hutchinson. More information about the event can be found on their website.