Off topic Alert to the Plight of the Monarch Butterfly

docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)July 15, 2013

Because of a combination of bad luck, drought, development of subdivisions, and the near eradication of milkweed plants in the agricultural regions with Round-Up ready crops, the incredible Monarch butterfly has declined dramatically in just the past year. There were about one third the number of butterflies overwintering last season as there had been just one year earlier.
But, we can pull them back from the brink by simply planting milkweed, which the baby caterpillars need to eat, and planting flowers that can provide nectar to support them on their long flight to Mexico in the fall and then back north in the spring.

For more information, visit Monarch Watch to learn more about where you can purchase milkweed plants or seeds, and which are the best nectar plants (including many annuals). Thanks for your attention to this critical issue. Together we can have a huge impact.

Martha

Here is a link that might be useful: Monarch Watch

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agardenstateof_mind

Thank you for sharing. I, too, have been watching the population decline through participation (by monitoring and reporting local conditions) in the Monarch Larvae Monitoring Project out of University of Minnesota. (www.mlmp.org)

Unfortunately, this decline is not confined to monarchs, but is affecting many other pollinators as well: the honeybee (brought to the new world by European settlers) and many species of our native bees, bumblebees having been hit very hard in many regions.

A major portion of our food supply is directly or indirectly dependent upon insect pollinators. As Professor Doug Tallamy says, we need to support the biodiversity that supports us.

Another great resource on pollinator conservation is the Xerces Society (www.xerces.org).

1. For food sources, choose plants to provide as long a season of growth and bloom as possible (native plants are best as they co-evolved with our other native species).

2. Don't forget some water - a saucer filled with pebbles and water will do (and male butterflies need the minerals found in mud puddles in order to reproduce).

3. Reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides.

4. Consider providing the shelter of a small brush pile, nesting bundle or, more elaborate, an "insect hotel" ... I'm going to let you all do your own search on that phrase.

5. Allow some of your herbs and veggies go to flower and set seed - you'll find them less desirable for culinary purposes, but beneficial insects will love the nectar and birds will enjoy the seed. Instead of deadheading all your plants, towards the end of the season allow some seed heads to remain for the birds - goldfinches love seeds of the purple coneflower, others go for rose hips.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 8:17PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

We have a large property in woods and field and I'm happy to say that we have a bunch of milkweed growing. Last year, I took seeds from a couple plants, and threw them all over the property. I'm just now seeing an occasional monarch. I think the whole butterfly population is slow this year. But I think its really starting to pick up.

I let some grow up in the corner of my garden, and some of it is like 8' tall now! haha I didn't know it could grow so tall.
I'm keeping my eye on it and hoping for some eggs soon.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 3:47PM
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