Monarch eggs look like tiny pearls on milkweed leaves. The eggs are usually, but not always, found on the underside of the leaf. Be sure to take your time to find them since they can be easy to miss. Taking them home to hatch will protect the eggs from becoming a snack to a hungry insect. It only takes about 4 days for the eggs to hatch from the time they are deposited by the female monarch. It won't be long before you have little "baby monarchs" crawling around.
Where it all starts
This is a beautiful little monarch egg. When you find an egg on a leaf, you can either take the whole leaf or just cut the part off that has the egg on it. I do the latter as it seems like a waste to take the whole leaf. I have a tupperware container handy with moist paper towels lining the bottom to keep the leaf portion from drying out too much. Place leaf portions with eggs on them in the tupperware container with a lid. I do not put holes in the lid. I open the lid so frequently to check the eggs, I do not feel it is necessary. If you do decide to put small holes in your lid, cover the holes with meshy material such as panty hose. You don't want your little babies to escape on you.
In about 4 days, the monarch egg will turn from an off-white color to a more gray color. The egg will have a blackish dot on top. This indicates the egg will be hatching soon. Make sure to keep a close eye on your eggs every day. When the larvae hatch, they will eat their egg and instinctively crawl to the "side down" part of the leaf. So, if you find an egg missing, turn your leaf portion over and you will probably find a hatched larvae.
Getting ready to hatch
This is a picture of all my little monarch eggs in the tupperware container. I have the moist paper towels underneath to keep the leaves from drying too much. Every one of these eggs turned into a beautiful monarch butterfly.
This is my container of choice to keep my eggs in until they hatch. Once hatched, I move the larvae into another container identical to this and feed them fresh milkweed until they get large enough to transport into the plastic pet carrier. I will give you more information on this in the Caterpillar section.