Collecting monarch data

Instructions for collecting monarch data
  1. Print out monarch survey data sheet or start an online data submission form from your smartphone
  2. Record the address of the I-Pollinate garden and the date
  3. Record the number of milkweed plants that are present and alive.
    • If a plant is standing but has no remaining leaves (because they have been eaten or damaged), you can count it as alive.
    • If the plant has disappeared it may re-sprout later, but do not count it on this date.
  4. Select one of the descriptions of how the height of the surrounding vegetation compares to the milkweeds.
  5. Carefully check each plant for monarch butterfly eggs and larvae.
    • Look on all parts of the plant, including the bottom of the leaves, the top of the leaves, the stem, flowers or flower buds (if present), and new growth at the end of the stems (if present).
    • Handle the plant carefully to avoid disturbing or dislodging monarchs
  6. Record the number of ALL eggs and larvae in each instar stage.
    • Include eggs and larvae that appear damaged or dead.
    • Information for each plant should go into a single row.
    • For information on distinguishing monarch eggs, larvae, and the different instars, check out this appendix from Monarch Joint Venture (
    • If you aren’t sure what instar a larva is in, THAT IS OK. TAKE YOUR BEST GUESS. The best clue is to look at both the front and back tentacles.
  7. Record the number of eggs and larvae that appear to be dead or damaged.
    • Group all larval instars together into one category, “larvae”.
  8. Add any additional notes that you think may be interesting or important.
    • For example, a plant might have a different insect herbivore on it that you might want to mention, like aphids or the milkweed tussock moth caterpillar.
    • For example, rabbits or squirrels may have damaged a plant.

Note: a hand lens or magnifying glass may be helpful for distinguishing different instars, or distinguishing eggs from drops of latex.