Mid-November days spent in your garden are becoming fewer and farther in between, but you might still spot the flutter of the unmistakable black and orange monarch butterflies making way in the crisp air.
This is exactly what happened to Tamsin from Burlington, NC when she wrote us to ask, “Do monarch butterflies overwinter in North Carolina?”
Entomologist Elsa Youngsteadt answered the call:
“It seems like you must have a straggler,” says Youngsteadt. “Peak migration through our area is usually in October. Monarchs cannot withstand a hard frost, so an overwintering population in NC is still unrealistic. If your butterfly gets a serious move on, it might be able to stay ahead of the frost and make it to Florida, where some populations do overwinter. I wish it the best!”
If you have a question for an ecologist, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.