Nearly a billion monarch butterflies have vanished in the past 25 years
In our lifetime, the population of Monarch Butterflies has fallen by 90%. These butterflies only lay their eggs on milkweed plants, as they are the principal food source for the caterpillars. Changing land use patterns and intensive logging in Mexico have mostly eliminated native milkweed habitats for the monarch, and widespread herbicide use in the United States has cleared milkweed from agricultural land.
Monarchs make an annual winter migration to the forests of Central Mexico, where they used to occupy hundreds of acres, but a recent census found only three acres of remaining butterflies. The migration takes 7-8 months, while the average adult butterfly only lives for 1 month, which is why it’s crucial for monarchs to find milkweed along the migration route to lay their eggs.
Solution: Plant milkweed in your garden or yard
A partnership between federal and state agencies in the United States is working to rebuild Monarch Butterfly habitats by planting milkweed on the main migration route between Mexico and Minnesota. You can help bring back the monarch by planting milkweed or Butterfly Weed in your yard. Even a few plants will attract passing monarchs, who will lay their eggs for a future generation. You could share this with your friends and bring the Monarch Butterfly back to your neighborhood. You could even talk to your local nursery and ask them to spread the cultivation of Butterfly Weed with a sales promotion.
- Treehugger.com | You can help stop the Monarch Butterfly Massacre by … gardening (plant milkweed!)
- Monarch Joint Venture | Guide to bringing back the Monarch Butterfly