Where are the butterflies this year??

jayanemJune 29, 2014

Am on Long Island, NY Two years ago - LOTS of visitors to our backyard flowers; Painted Ladies, Fritillaries, Red Admirals, Sulphurs, Buckeyes .. You name it! So far, this year .. LOADS of Cabbage Whites. THAT's IT!!
Any Lep enthusiasts down here know what's going on???

Curious in NY

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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Pollinators in general, and really all insects, are being negatively effected by habitat loss and chemical use. However, some folk seem to be having a good butterfly experience this year. So, it may be a regional issue. I know I've seen nothing this year, but my sister and brother, both also in Michigan, have seen far more than I have.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 7:39AM
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sandpapertongue(7a VA)

I've seen nothing either. Last year I had a bunch of BSTs, and this year I haven't seen a single one. I prepared the garden with parsley, dill, carrots, and rue. Plus, I have milkweed (incarnata), coneflower, butterfly bush and joe pye. I don't use any pesticides or herbicides, and based on all the weedy lawns around me, I don't think my neighbors do either. I am so disappointed! Here's hoping for a better July and August.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 5:32PM
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sandpapertongue(7a VA)

I wanted to add, I do see a ton of bumblebees and other small garden bees buzzing around the milkweed and other flowers. They really love the milkweed blooms. So at least something is enjoying them!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 5:39PM
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Come to think of it, we've also had SCADS of various SKIPPERS in past years. This year, so far, only one lone Silver-spotted! Could this past snowy Winter have had anything to do with it?? Very curious. The bug equivalent of "Silent Spring"???

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 10:46PM
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Haven't seen any butterflies here in western NC. Last year lots of black swallowtails all over my butterfly bushes, this year nothing yet. Frustrating, hope they arrive.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 5:24PM
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alex928 Z8/LA

I haven't posted here in ages, but anyway, I saw quite a few of them in the spring, mostly swallowtails, but in the last month or so have hardly seen any. Apparently they are still around though, since the other day I discovered about 7 BST caterpillars on the parsley (which is unfortunately near the end of its life, so hopefully I can get some more).

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 1:09AM
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I've raised a total of 10 BST cats this year, from two broods. I've seen the occasional Monarch and Tiger Swallowtail. What I see most of are American Ladies and Red Admirals, followed by Cabbage Whites, Spring Azures and Commas. One RSP to date, and one Fiery Skipper.
I also have a Hummer that comes by every day for my Monarda and Salvia greggii.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 2:39AM
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It has been slim pickings around here, in Monmouth County New Jersey. A few cabbage white and silver spotted Skipper's, and the occasional flyby of the tiger swallowtail. Not one black swallowtail, although I had eggs this time last year. Much earlier in the spring I had a mourning cloak fly by my house, but it has been pretty quiet overall. That said, my butterfly garden is in its infancy so I don't have a lot of flowers yet. Next year better, as I like to say.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 10:45AM
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Mostly cabbage whites here too. Saw one giant swallowtail and thought I saw a monarch or viceroy, but I couldn't find it when I ran out to look closer.

I'm hoping it's just early. When I look at the pictures I took of butterflies last year, they were dated near the end of July.

Fingers crossed.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 10:30PM
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rickinla(8B SW AL)

It's finally picking up in lower Alabama, I'm seeing Palamedes SWTs every day and noticed a Pipevine SWT today. I haven't seen any Gulf Fritillaries yet; I think they have to migrate up from South Florida and haven't reached us yet. No Tigers or Giants but I feel confident they'll show up eventually.

This post was edited by rickinla on Wed, Jul 9, 14 at 9:53

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 5:38PM
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Absolutely NOTHING here in South Carolina!!!!! Very sad considering we usually have a great number of butterflies!!!!
Sure hope that it will pick up very soon!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 12:02PM
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I really hope things pick up for you, Alch21. I had a bad year last year as well. That drought set us back a bit, but things are picking up.
Moderate up here in Wisconsin this year, dual Monarch ELFs all week and 7 hatched eggs, with a lot more to come :-)>
Quick glimpse of a BST, but no eggs yet.
A few American Ladies and Red Admirals from my respective cat runs (over 100 AL cats!), as well as Clouded Sulfur ELFs and Cabbage Whites. Lots of Banded Hairstreaks, a couple of Silver Spotted Skippers and a Question Mark.
Occasional Tiger Swallowtail sightings, but seldom do they stop :(
A Blue ELF has been visiting my Milkvetch, but I couldn't tell you which one.
I've seen one Red Spotted Purple and two Great Spangled Frittilaries.
Several Mourning Cloaks sighted.
And to top it all off, a very large unidentified caterpillar under my neighbor's eve, probably a moth. Looks like a Nymphalid Butterfly cat on steroids (over 3" long) but doesn't match any butterfly cat up here. It's black and grey, with spines that do not sting. It acts like a moth cat, as it hasn't J'd yet and is on the side of the building rather than on the eve.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 4:14PM
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Michaela .:. thegarden@902 .:. (Zone 5b - Iowa)

I've seen a few butterflies but not many. My garden has mostly been full of bees this summer, which makes me happy too. Last year we had a lot more in the fall so I'm hoping to see more later this year!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 4:36PM
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I have had great luck with BSTs and good luck with monarchs this year.

But I have hardly seen any bees. I buy begonias just for them. They are so fun to watch, always so hard at work collecting the pollen on their little legs. I'm hoping it's just too early. (It's the furry type bee, we always called bumble bee. I think they nest in the ground. Hope they didn't all drown after the 6' snow melt and 8" of rain in June.)

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 7:04PM
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msmorningsong(SW FL 10A)

I've had tons of Gulf frits and Zebra Longwings this year, probably due to an abundance of passiflora caerulea and p. incarnata I had available this year.
Usually a handful of Queens and Monarchs. So far, 1 Monarch and no Queens.
But I (normally) also have tons of swallowtails, Giant, Tiger, and Black. I have all their host plants available, but it wasn't until this morning that I finally saw my 2nd Black Swallow female going crazy on the fennel. I actually had to uncover it, as I had the cats from previous female visitation protected under screening. I thought she was going to lay eggs on the screen she was in such a frenzy.
But no Giant ST cats on the sapote or other citrus.
So the usual variety I get has either still not come through, or like original poster said, there's a lack of (some species) this year.

This post was edited by MsMorningSong on Thu, Jul 17, 14 at 15:46

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 3:43PM
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