Monarch Butterfly on Cone Flower

Monarch butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh, PA

It’s June 15, 2011 in the Outdoor Gardens of Pittsburgh’s grand Phipps Conservatory. Tongues are wagging this year, lamenting the near total  absence of Danaus Plexxipus almost everywhere. Our female Monarch butterfly here reminds us that at any given time Monarchs are not being seen in large numbers. This situation further assures that these butterflies are in fact worthy of their given name, Monarchs. Phipps’ perennials beds offered up cone flowers, butterfly bushes, zinnias, day lilies, Asclepias, and much more. Even so there are usually 2 or 3 or 4 monarchs working  those extensive beds.

The reality remains, there are fewer of them this year. If the reports are accurate, even fewer were counted in their winter roosts in Mexico. Is it a cyclical population swing? Hmmm. Discussion of the use of genetically adjusted corn and other crops causing collateral damage to common milkweed may matter in the midwest, but how can that tilt the Monarch numbers in the northeastern United States?

So with fewer Monarchs flying where you live, invite your friends to visit and enjoy the Monarchs. Our address?  No need to knock,  just come right in.