Have you seen many monarch butterflies this year?

catbird(z7 AL)October 8, 2010

I just received this email from a Master Gardener friend:

"I talked with my uncle from Pinson. He is concerned about monarch butterflies because he has seen very few this year & normally sees many. He is afraid it may be due to the new genetically modified corn which has a pesticide built in against corn earworm. I did not know this, but he said that when the monarchs leave Mexico in spring, their food while migrating is corn tassels. Then low & behold, there is an article in today's paper about that corn -no mention of butterflies. He was hoping I could check with my MG friends as to whether they had seen a decline in monarchs. I, myself, have not seen any monarchs, but I normally see more swallowtails, fritillaries & yellows. Let me know & spread this around if you like."

I hadn't watched particularly for monarchs, but don't remember seeing any this year. What about you? I'll also post this on the butterfly forum, but wondered if things might be different in AL from other parts of the country.

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catbird(z7 AL)

I found a report from the Pew Trust that has some information on this:

Here is a link that might be useful: Update on modified corn and monarchs

    Bookmark   October 8, 2010 at 11:29PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I've been a pretty crummy observer this year. I haven't seen any Monarchs, but sure did have my usual crowd of Monarch caterpillars on my milkweed!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 12:55PM
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I thought there were lots of monarchs in my yard, particularly since I don't have any milkweed (yet). But I am perhaps not the best source, as my former observations were up north - and AL has way more butterflies of all kinds than I ever saw in MA.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 7:44PM
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I live in Pinson and have seen a few monarchs and a ton of others. More than I have ever seen here.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 10:00PM
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jcalhoun(8b Mobile County AL)

I have not seen all that many monarchs but lots of the black and blue butterflies, I believe thry're called spicebush swallowtails (they like my periwinkles).

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 2:00PM
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I can't say many or few but when I have my camera along, I try try to capture............

    Bookmark   October 12, 2010 at 5:47PM
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There have been occasional ones all year, and now that they are migrating, I am seeing more of them. Several of them were "playing tag" in my garden this morning.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 7:24PM
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I've seen more than usual this year if anything. But I've seen a large number of butterflies overall this year as well. My first Monarch sighting was about 3 weeks ago and the most recent was yesterday. Was out of town all last week and I'm gone all day and don't really look hard for them every day, just when I'm browsing around the yard at the end of the day. Loads of Gulf Frits, Spicebush, Black & Eastern Tiger Swallowtails and Cloudless Sulphurs this year.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 10:10PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

When I see pictures like that, terramadre, I really appreciate how crazy gorgeous those insects are. Just spectacular.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2010 at 1:41PM
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I live in a suburban setting of the western Tennessee Valley of Alabama. We never have a lot of Monarchs in this immediate area but I see a few. My concern has been the declining number of Cloudless Sulphurs that we have observed the last few years....My thought was, the increased usage of herbicides in connection with the no till farming techniques are to blame . I know that the Cassia plants and Milk weeds that the Sulphurs and the Monarchs depend on proliferate around agricultural fields.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 8:51PM
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jcalhoun(8b Mobile County AL)

I had two monarchs visit my milkweed last week.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 7:47PM
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I have had enormous numbers of cloudless sulfurs this year. They have been here most of the summer with really large numbers migrating. They particularly like the zinnias and the Navajo and Hotlips salvia. They are very fond of ground that had been wet with sprinklers.


    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 7:43PM
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I've had large numbers of cloudless sulphurs this year and I'm also in the heart of the TN valley. I thought they might have been gone, but today I probably have had half a dozen flitting around me while I was cleaning up the garden. I'm leaving the zinnias until a freeze gets them. There were a few other small butterflies that I haven't ID'd yet, and I saw a GF yesterday at the lake. The Monarchs apparently have migrated on to the south since you're seeing them down Mobile way now, jcalhoun. I haven't seen one for a couple of weeks.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 3:37PM
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swjonthebay(8b Alabama)

There have been quite a few here on the bay during the past couple of weeks. I'm either not a good observer from year to year or 'old-timer's' prevents me from comparing their numbers to last year. ;)

Thanks for the link to the article, catbird, re: GMO corn/monarchs.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 6:48PM
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