Monarch butterflies are returning to Western North Carolina

Monarchs will begin laying their eggs around Asheville — here’s how to help the species thrive.

A close-up of a monarch butterfly egg on a leaf.

Don’t let this picture fool you — this egg is about the size of a pin head.

Photos by Lorie Shaull via Flickr and Ali McGhee

Western North Carolina has a special returning guest.

According to Asheville GreenWorks, monarch butterflies have started returning from their southern migration. The endangered species of butterfly typically travels ~2,500 miles to spend the winter in a warm climate like Mexico and California — now, it’s time for them to make that same journey home.

A sure sign of the monarchs’ return? Monarch eggs. They might be hard to spot because of their small size — they’re only about the size of a pencil tip. The eggs are usually laid on the underside of a milkweed leaf, with only one egg laid per plant.

Want to help our winged friends thrive? Planting milkweed is a good place to start. Not only does it function as monarchs’ egg site, it’s the only plant the larvae eats.

To expand your pollinator-friendly garden even more, follow Asheville GreenWorks’ comprehensive guide.

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