Will Her Monarch Caterpillar Descendants Be Visiting Your Milkweed this Year?

Monarch Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania

She’s depositing eggs on this Milkweed leaf. Most of us know that the numbers of Monarch butterflies seen these last years is low, very low. Low enough to deeply concern many of us. Why?

Why have the numbers of Monarch butterflies collapsed? The conifer forests that they visit wintertime, in the mountains of central Mexico, continue to be logged by outlaw lumbermen. This has greatly reduced the wintering habitat for Monarchs. Additional loss of these fir trees will further decimate populations. Here in the U.S.A. loss of habitat has taken its toll, and the use of toxics for agriculture and home gardening/’bugs’ too jeopardizes Monarchs.

What do I think? There should be a national effort to save this American favorite. The U.S. government should do this, for nearly every American child learns of Monarchs in grade school, and most carry that knowledge and the accompanying fondness for Monarchs all the years of their lives.

What can You do to help? Plant Milkweed plants in your garden. Garden small or garden large, plant milkweed where you have sun and moist soil. Plant milkweed in pots where feasible. Your planted and your potted milkweed are hostplants that nourish Monarch caterpillars. Their life cycle, which you and ‘Miss McGillicudy’ probables studied back in Grade 3, is fascinating and calming and reassuring in these unique times.

Suggestion: Don’t purchase your milkweed in Big Box stores. Purchase them more carefully, at local native nurseries (nurseries that stock plants native to your state) or online, from nurseries offering natives. A little more effort . . . But alot more reward.

Me? I see a Monarch, and I’m in love. Honest.

Jeff