Have you noticed how few Monarch butterflies there are this summer? It’s because the population is dwindling. According to the Xerces Society, the Monarch population has dropped by ninety percent. You read that right—ninety percent!
That makes me sad. How about you? In years past, I used to see dozens of Monarchs flitting about my flower gardens and across my back yard. This summer, I’ve seen less than a handful, even though I have planted many flowers that attract them.
The main reason for the Monarch’s decline is loss of habitat. Drought throughout the Monarch’s central pathway to their seasonal destinations and the wide-spread use of the herbicide Roundup has decreased the Monarch’s principal source of sustainment—the milkweed—the main plant that caterpillars need for food.
|Standing in one of my flower gardens|
Even though the Monarch’s future looks bleak, there are some simple, positive steps you and I can take to help this fragile creature survive. First of all, plant flowers that attract butterflies (such as butterfly weed and zinnias). You can purchase them at your local nursery, but make sure pesticides have not been sprayed on the plants. Second, plant a stand-alone milkweed garden (just a small plot) with at least six plants so the caterpillars have enough food to survive. We can't restore their old habitat, but we can replace it, one yard at a time.
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Denise has had a passion for books since the second grade when she discovered Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She wrote her first book, a mystery, at age thirteen and has been writing ever since. She lives on six wooded acres in East Bethel, Minnesota with her husband, Steve and her three problem (feline) children, Mocha, Lambchop and Tigger. You can visit her at her website, blog or Facebook.