Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Monarch butterfly progress north to breeding sites

Monarch butterfly progress
The dots reflect sightings!
Monarch butterfly watchers have been upset. We lost something like 80% of the butterflies in the drought of 2012. At least, they didn't turn up at the fabulous overwintering sites discovered in Mexico.

I haven't seen any yet this year, but the milkweed are ready. They smell amazing. All of the bugs adore the milkweed, I adore the smell. Many critters feed from them, and they provide food for all.

A few plants have aphids, which delights the ants! Then there is the milkweed tussock moth. There are some who suggest we plant milkweed, but there is a ton of milkweed about. The milkweed is where the Monarch lays its eggs, and the caterpillar larvae feeds. Eventually, the butterflies feed on many different flowers in preparation for their migration south, but first they need the milkweed.

Normally, there are 350 million and they found a mere 60 million monarchs in 2013.
Some are blaming pesticides and logging in Mexico, and the lack of milkweed in breeding territory, but it is much more complex than that. Habitat loss, pesticides, the 2012 drought all contributed. 
It is my belief that the Monarchs will rebound. I will post archival photos of them, in anticipation!

 In 2000, the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve was created. The reserve is comprised of 56,000 hectares with complete or partial legal protection from logging, which includes cluster sites of monarch colonies. It is about 100 km north west of Mexico City. 
We need Smellovision!

MMMMmmmmm, yummy aphids!

"That you Mummy?"

Ants on aphids
I let them grow in my gardens, too!
Milkweed tussock moth
Monarch caterpillar larvae

10 comments:

Christine said...

hope they arrive soon! then there are the bees!

lindaakacraftygardener said...

We have milkweed growing in the garden but it isn't ready to bloom yet. Hoping to see some Monarchs this year.

Karen said...

I have LOTS of milkweed growing back of my fence. The scent is just beautiful. My friend was sure he saw a monarch the other day (southwest of Pembroke toward Round Lake). I sure hope we see some signs soon.

Olga Hebert said...

I would love to see monarchs return to the field behind my house.

William Kendall said...

I hope the rebound comes soon. Note to self: plant milkweed when I get a place of my own in the country.

Red said...

I hope you're right about monarchs coming back.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I hope you get some monarchs again soon.

Debbie said...

I love monarchs, I love all butterflies really!! They are such special creatures!!

Ni de Aqui, Ni de Alla said...

It will be so sad if this beautiful butterflies go extinct!

Crafty Green Poet said...

I hope the Monarchs bounce back, it would be such a tragedy to lose that amazing migration.