One of nature’s most curious phenomena is the Monarch butterfly migration. Each fall, a very special group of Monarchs is born. They have the ability and purpose to live for up to six months to complete the migration south. See the Monarch migration dates below.
Why is that so special? The adult Monarch butterfly’s life span is typically only two to six weeks so it takes three to four successive generations to complete the migration back up north.
Date Ranges When the Monarch Migrates
The Monarch’s time of migration each year depends on the temperature outside and the length of the days, but it goes roughly like this:
- August 18-30: The peak Monarch sightings at the 49th parallel coincide with the start of their journey south.
- November 10-22: Most Monarch population is seen in overwintering locations.
- March: The first generation to migrate north begins, but they won’t arrive at their most northern destination until the fourth generation in late July or early August.
Read more: Butterfly Migration and Location
How to Support the Migration Journey
Since their migration takes multiple generations, it is crucial that Monarch butterflies be able to complete their life cycle multiple times all over the United States. By using our tips for creating a butterfly garden, you will help ensure abundant access to milkweed, their host plant, and nectar. Your butterfly garden will support these amazing little migrators — no matter where you live!
The Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper Organization and Journey North actively maps specific Monarch migration information and tracking. You can help their cause by reporting sightings.