No butterflies

anitamo(5)June 30, 2005

I haven't seen a single butterfly in my garden. I have a large variety of perennials that butterflies like, even milkweed. I don't use any pesticides so I can't figure out why the butterflies aren't visiting. Anyone else have this problem?

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ericwi

We have many milkweed here, along with other flowers like purple coneflowers, & we are an established monarch butterfly site, participating in the Monarch Larval Monitoring Project, for 5 years now. Monarchs seem to be scarce this year, here in Madison, WI. I saw the first monarch of the season only yesterday, 6-30-05. However, we were visited earlier in June,
& I collected eggs & cats for hand-rearing. We now have 8 monarch chrysalis, nearing completion. Five of these look like they will emerge today, and the remaining three by the 4th of July. I expect our local population of monarch butterflies to rebound a bit over the summer, & there should be a decent fall migration to Mexico, in September. I guess you just have to keep trying, and hope that you see some activity over the summer.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2005 at 8:58AM
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tracey_nj6(6)

I haven't seen ANY yet, other than an increased number cabbage whites :(

    Bookmark   July 1, 2005 at 9:47AM
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reg_pnw7(WA 7, sunset 4)

Do you have the larval food plants as well as the adult nectaring plants? They also like mud puddles and an area sheltered from wind. The ones in my garden love dog poop.

Your populations of butterflies will be very much affected by conditions outside your garden that you have no control over as well - neighbor's pesticide use for one, and weather.

So many people don't realize that when they use Bt for caterpillar control in the garden that they're killing off the butterflies too - they don't associate caterpillars with butterflies for some reason. Your neighbors may be using a lot of caterpillar controls thinking they're just killing the pestiferous caterpillars but there's no way to selectively kill leafrollers and cabbage loopers only and not also monarchs or swallowtails or skippers or ladies ...

    Bookmark   July 1, 2005 at 11:24AM
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tdogmom(9)

On the Butterfly Forum we've been discussing this same issueÂthere seem to be fewer butterflies out and about this year for some reason. The Monarchs are definitely laterÂin California, for example, they 'left' SoCal back in March but haven't really made their way up to the north yet! WeirdÂWe've had some strange weatherÂlots of rainÂwhich caused us to have our decade of Painted Ladies about two months ago where thousands of these little butterflies were swarming up the coast from Mexico, flying north north-west towards Oregon. Just now, we are seeing more butterflies and here it is, the beginning of July! Keep your fingers crossed. Hope that your neighbors aren't using pesticides. Hope the sun keeps shining. :) I haven't given up. I saw the first Giant Swallowtail lay an egg on my Valencia Orange tree just two days ago :) (and this is REALLY lateÂlast year I had loads of little GST caterpillars by now)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2005 at 12:09PM
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anitamo(5)

Okay, I feel a little better knowing that a lot of people are seeing reduced numbers. I will plant more of the food for the caterpillers, too. I have a ton of food for the butterflies. My neighbor across the street uses chemlawn, but I haven't seen anyone else use any pesticides, although, we are on large lots and it's hard to see what the neighbors are doing in their yards. Thanks for all the replies.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2005 at 10:41PM
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Elaine_NJ6

In my area I really start seeing butterflies in July. Until then, just a few swallowtails, mourning cloaks, and of course oodles of small skippers and a few blues in May.

Monarchs have been very scarce the last couple of years. I used to see a lot of them in both July and August (I assume on the northern and southern migrations), but last year none.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2005 at 10:03AM
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wardw(z6 NJ)

I agree with my fellow New Jersey citizen Elaine. We've only just started to get numbers of things like Silver-spotted Skipper and just the odd swallowtail. Here in the east we had a very cool and wet spring and many plants are a week or two behind schedule, and if the plants are behind so are the bugs.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 1:35PM
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bellarosa(z5/IL)

I've seen a few monarchs around our purple coneflowers, but that's it. I don't spray any insecticides, but I have noticed that we have fewer and fewer butterflies.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2005 at 7:19PM
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dirtgirl(So. Illinois)

Not one hackberry butterfly yet! I have seen several fritillaries, a few red admirals and the usual satyrs, but the hackberries are one of our most common butterflies and I don't think I've seen a single one yet.
Oh I have also spotted skippers on the liatris and the zebra swallowtails are out and about.

But I'm realy waiting eagerly for the giant silk moths. I have found some empty cocoons so it's any day now.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2005 at 5:57PM
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dirtgirl(So. Illinois)

Not one hackberry butterfly yet! I have seen several fritillaries,an occasional question mark, a few red admirals and the usual satyrs, but the hackberries are one of our most common butterflies and I don't think I've seen a single one yet.
Oh I have also spotted skippers on the liatris and the zebra swallowtails are out and about, but I generally never see them in the same numbers as I do the hackberries.

But I'm really waiting eagerly for the giant silk moths. I have found some empty cocoons so it's any day now.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2005 at 6:02PM
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