When do Monarchs arrive in New York?

Monarchs butterflies are a unique species that migrate back to New York every summer to reproduce and lay eggs. Unlike other insects, Monarchs do not overwinter in New York but rather travel south to Mexico in the fall. The timing of their arrival in New York varies each year, depending on temperature and nectar availability. However, most Monarchs arrive in mid to late June. It’s important to note that the first Monarchs you see in the summer are actually the grandchildren of the butterflies that left the previous year. Once they arrive, Monarchs immediately start laying eggs to produce the next generation that will eventually make the journey back to Mexico. To support these beautiful creatures, it is suggested to have a yard full of native plants with different bloom times to provide continuous nectar sources. So, when can you expect to see the first Monarchs in New York?

When do Monarchs arrive in New York?


Monarch butterflies are known for their unique annual migration. Unlike other insects, Monarchs migrate back to New York every summer, after spending the winter in Mexico. These beautiful butterflies travel thousands of miles to reproduce and lay eggs in New York. But when exactly can we expect them to arrive?

Migration of Monarchs

The migration of Monarchs is truly fascinating. It takes four generations of butterflies to complete the annual journey. Every fall, the first generation of Monarchs migrates south to Mexico, where they spend the winter. In the spring, the second generation leaves Mexico and heads north, reaching Texas and other southern states. The third generation continues the journey, reaching the northern parts of the United States, including New York. Finally, the fourth generation completes the cycle by flying back to Mexico in the fall.

Factors affecting arrival time

The arrival time of Monarchs in New York can vary depending on several factors. The temperature plays a crucial role, as Monarchs require warm weather to survive. They also depend on the availability of nectar sources along their migration route. If there is a delay in the blooming of flowers or a scarcity of nectar, the Monarchs may arrive later than usual.

Arrival time in different parts of New York

The arrival time of Monarchs can differ in various parts of New York. Generally, the southern areas will see Monarchs slightly earlier than the northern regions. The temperature and the availability of nectar sources may vary across the state, affecting the timing of their arrival. However, most Monarchs usually reach New York in mid to late June.

The first Monarchs of the summer

The butterflies that first arrive in New York are not the same individuals that left the previous fall. They are actually the grandchildren of the Monarchs that migrated south. These butterflies immediately start laying eggs upon their arrival in New York, setting the stage for future generations.

The annual journey of Monarchs

The complete annual journey of Monarchs is truly remarkable. It takes four generations to complete the cycle. The first generation migrates south to Mexico, where they spend the winter. The second and third generations continue the journey north, reaching different parts of the United States. Finally, the fourth generation starts the journey back to Mexico, completing the cycle.

Helping Monarchs in your yard

As Monarchs arrive in New York, we can all play a role in helping them. One of the best things you can do is create a yard filled with native plants. Choose flowers with different bloom times, so that you have a continuous supply of fresh blossoms full of nectar from the time the Monarchs first arrive in June until they leave in the fall. By providing a rich nectar source, you can support the Monarchs’ energy needs during their time in New York.

Tips for attracting butterflies

If you want to attract not only Monarchs but also other butterflies to your yard, there are several tips you can follow. Planting a variety of native flowering plants is essential, as different butterflies have different preferences. Providing a mixture of nectar plants and host plants will attract butterflies at various life stages, from adults seeking nectar to females searching for suitable plants to lay their eggs on.

When to expect Monarch caterpillars

If you have milkweed plants in your yard, you may be wondering when you can expect to see Monarch caterpillars. Monarchs lay their eggs exclusively on milkweed plants, as it is the only host plant for their caterpillars. The timing of when you will see caterpillars depends on the arrival of the Monarchs and the availability of milkweed in your area. Generally, once the Monarchs start laying eggs in mid to late June, you can expect to see caterpillars appearing soon after.


The arrival of Monarchs in New York is a beautiful sight to behold. These incredible butterflies travel thousands of miles to reproduce and lay eggs, starting a new generation that will continue the cycle. By understanding the factors affecting their arrival time and taking steps to create a butterfly-friendly yard, we can all contribute to the conservation efforts of these magnificent insects. So, keep an eye out for the first Monarchs of the summer and enjoy their presence in your own backyard.

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