The Monarch Butterfly is an iconic pollinator species throughout the nation due to their beauty and incredible annual migration pattern. Each year in the Spring, the Monarch makes a journey from Mexico all the way to the upper Midwest to breed. They complete this 3,000-mile trek in multiple generations.
Throughout this journey and once in the Midwest, the Monarch must find milkweed to lay its eggs on. This is crucial to the species survival because the hatched larvae must feed on milkweed to survive. The Monarch will complete several life cycles throughout the summer months before a super generation hatches in late summer/early Fall. This generation will make the complete trip all the way back to Mexico and part of the return trip in the Spring
Unfortunately, the population of the Monarch Butterfly has seen an 80% decline over the past 20 years. This drastic decrease in numbers is mainly due to loss of milkweed habitat throughout the breeding areas in United States as well as loss of overwintering habitat in Mexico.
Luckily, there are things we can do to help increase the population and save the Monarch Butterfly! One easy thing you can do is establish monarch habitat wherever you live! It doesn’t matter if you have a small residential lot, an apartment patio, or a large acreage outside of town; any little bit counts! Planting milkweed as well as other nectar producing flowers can provide vital food sources for the larvae as well as the hatched adults. Visit the link below to get started creating your monarch habitat today!
*Banner image from National Geographic