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Monarch Butterfly Crisis

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The monarch butterfly is a species in crisis! Its key threats are the loss of milkweed in the USA, use of pesticides, adverse weather conditions, and deforestation in Mexico where they overwinter before returning to North America for breeding.

2017-2018 migration update: There has been a 14.77% decline in the monarch butterfly population from the previous migration and an 86.36% drop from the 1996-1997 migration. The monarchs covered 2.48 hectares (6.12 acres) in Mexico this past winter. Although many factors are involved, there were 2 tropical storms and 3 hurricanes in September, 2017. Thus, fall migration to Mexico had been disturbed. This had a major impact in the number of monarchs over wintering in Mexico. That, coupled with late migration due to unusually warm weather this past fall, resulted in low occupancy in Mexico. Learn about the monarchs and their migration.

How to help. There are many factors out of our control, however, we can help the monarch butterfly by planting native milkweed like butterflyweed (Asclepius tuberosa). Milkweed is the only host plant that monarchs will lay eggs on and the only plant that the caterpillars can eat. We can also help by planting native nectar plants for their adult food source and also avoiding the use of pesticides in our gardens. Bring back the monarchs, they are beautiful in appearance, useful as pollinators, and their innate ability to navigate long distances across the continent is a natural wonder.

Click images to enlarge.


All types of native bees are also in decline. Many of the plants that grow in our environment depend on bees for pollination. They pollinate flowers, fruits, and vegetables and their services provide food for the butterflies. Help preserve our environment . . . learn how to add plants to your garden to attract butterflies and help pollinators. Click here for your
Butterfly/Bee Guide to plant preferences.
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