We Need the Butterflies
We need monarchs. Period. Drop the mic.
Ok, I guess it’s not that simple to explain. Everyone loves monarchs, I honestly don’t know anyone out there who doesn’t like watching them fly around your garden.
However, Monarchs aren’t just a pretty face. They are vital insects to our ecosystem.
I’m here to tell you why.
Just the other day I was talking to a prairie conservationist in Illinois who had recently gone to the butterfly conference in Springfield. What’s shocking, is that Monarch’s will be put on the endangered species list in the next 6 months if we don’t start preserving their habitat.
Our Love for Monarchs = planting a small garden or few plants + nothing else.
It’s the nothing else we need to start planting for.
Why we need them (they’re more than cute) –
Monarchs are great pollinators and (I hate to say it) a vital food source for other animals. They act as an important connector in our ecosystem web.
They also, provide assistance for genetic variation for different plant species. Since they travel such long distances, Monarchs are able to spread the pollen over a variety of areas.
For us, Monarch butterflies on the decline indicates that there is something wrong in our shared environment and a warning that we could be affected as well.
Ways to help –
Never capture a butterfly. Especially Monarch’s because they are already a dwindling species.
Eat more organic food, this lowers the use of pesticides which kills butterflies. Make sure you don’t use any pesticide in your own home garden as well.
Start cultivating milkweed, give some to your neighbors, to your schools, anyone who will take it.
Save the Monarch’s eggs and let the caterpillars free when they are big enough to be safe from preying birds.
- The caterpillars should be put back on an existing milkweed right before the pupa stage (chrysalis). The caterpillar should be about 12-14 days old.
Create monarch waystations. This means planting flowers that are great sources of nectar for them in the Fall. After all, they have quite a long journey back to Mexico.
Coneflowers, impatiens, marigolds, phlox, sunflowers, and verbena.
Asters, bee balm, butterfly weed, chrysanthemums, daisies, purple coneflower, sedum and yarrow.
New England aster, bergamots or horsemints, black-eyed Susan, blazing stars, boneset, butterfly flower, coreopsis, ox-eye daisy and purple ageratum
Adult monarch butterflies also like to feed on banana, oranges, and watermelon.
Sign petitions/pledges, even donate. Get the word out and help create communities that preserve the Monarch.
So look at them, notice their beauty. But remember, there’s more to them than just their looks, they are a key species for our ecosystem. Help save them!
For More Information Visit:
One Green Planet
Register your garden for the More Garden Pollinator Challenge
The Monarch Joint Venture