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Wow, Painted Ladies Migrating North in Southern California.

5 days ago

Have you noticed the rather small butterflies migrating this week from Mexico to the Pacific Northwest? They are Painted Ladies and look like small Monarch Butterflies. They live just a few weeks, lay their eggs, which hatch, and the new generation continues the migration north. Our wet winter has meant a larger than usual population is migrating.

Comments (24)

  • sushipup1

    Good news. The news on our lovely Monarchs is dire indeed. An all-time low count, with danger of extinction.


  • adellabedella_usa

    I had a Monarch fluttering around today. I noticed she laid several eggs on my milkweed. I think I saw painted ladies last month.

  • Bookwoman

    We were in San Diego last week, and driving back to the city from the Safari Park went through clouds of Painted Ladies. It was so lovely.

  • louiseab Ibbotson

    Haha, I thought at first you were talking about ladies of the evening!

  • jemdandy

    I'm glad that you are seeing butterflies again.

  • Chi

    I must have seen thousands today in Orange County. Pretty!

  • gyr_falcon

    They are flying through my part of the OC in a fairly steady stream. I recall previous years that also had large populations. It is nice to see, especially since more than a few other species of butterfly that used to be numerous in my garden have had noticeable, and serious, declines during the past three years.

  • ritamay91710

    Tons flying around my area in So Cal. Love seeing them.

  • socks

    Back in my working days, we got painted lady butterfly larva for the kids to see the metamorphosis in the classroom and release the butterflies when mature. The cats might still be sold online. Back then it was a company called Insect Lore. Nice gift for kids.

    So sad about the monarchs. The last two or three times I have had a monarch caterpillar on the milkweed, I would go out to check on it the next day and it was gone. Maybe something preys on the caterpillars.

  • sushipup1

    "Painted ladies" also refers to the beautifully painted Victorian houses in San Francisco.


  • 1929Spanish-GW

    Gry_falcon - are you in No OC? I’m out of town today, but hope they are in my neighborhood tomorrow!

  • gyr_falcon

    No, I live in south OC.

  • C Marlin

    I've been enjoying them also, I live in South Orange County.

  • 1929Spanish-GW

    Bummer. Hope they come North.

  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio

    I remember one day when they were flying through my apartment complex in a solid stream heading north -- they would go up over the buildings then back down closer to the ground. One of the favorite experiences of my life to stand in the midst of that!

  • phyllis__mn

    Summer of 2017 we were thrilled here in north Central MN to have hundreds of Painted Ladies in our flower beds for a short while. We never had seen more than a couple here and there. A lepidopterist with the University of MN. said there had never been such an influx of them in the thirty years he had been involved with the study of butterflies. Hope they pay us a return visit.

  • gyr_falcon

    I didn't see any today, which is odd. In past years of abundance, they could be seen flying past for about a week, or longer. Maybe just a lull...???

  • sheilajoyce_gw

    Even more of them today in our back yard, streams just keep flying north. We have maybe 40 at a time flying over the yard. If they land, it probably indicates that they have used up their fat stores, and so they will mate and lay eggs. When those butterflies hatch, they will continue the trip north to the Cascades. This is the only butterfly which can tolerate and survive the coldness of early spring because they are the only butterflies that can shiver. I do hope we see lots of other butterflies migrating when it is a little warmer. Monarchs have really decreased in numbers, so the rains and flowers that have resulted should mean more of all kinds of butterflies.

  • Fun2BHere

    The Painted Lady butterflies have been flitting by quickly today. They are so fast and small that I can't get a good picture. They don't seem to swarm like Monarchs, but there's been a steady stream all day.

  • C Marlin

    I'm in South Orange County, I saw more today than yesterday.

  • DawnInCal

    Up until now, I haven't participated in this thread because I didn't have anything to contribute. I'm much further north (near the Oregon border) than most of you and the Painted Ladies were nowhere to be seen. But, just this morning one flew by the kitchen window, so they've made it this far north in their summer migration. Normally, I wouldn't have thought much of it, but the sighting made me recall this thread and I was excited to share with all of you that I'd seen one.

  • Elmer J Fudd

    I'm also farther north of SoCal, but maybe only half as far away as Dawn (I don't recall her mentioning where in the very far north of the state she is). I haven't seen any in the Bay Area, maybe they're around but I haven't noticed any.

  • sjerin

    I'm also in San Jose and believe I saw one fly past the window today.

  • DawnInCal

    I hope we get the same kind of numbers as what is being seen down south.

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