The Eastern Monarch is on the Move!
Spring is here and the Eastern Monarch is on the move and milkweed is starting to sprout. Every year, these unique pollinators travel from the Mountains of Mexico to the Great Lake Region. Twice a year butterflies embark on a 3,000-mile journey. The butterflies have a short lifespan, born in Mexico they have never been to the US or Canada yet take on this journey like their ancestors many generations before them. The Eastern Monarch is encouraged by environmental factors to move north where last year we saw possibly their great great grandparents munch on milk weed, flutter from flower to flower and eventually start the life cycle all over again
Over the past 20 years both Eastern and Western Monarch Populations have plummeted by
80% to 90% sounding the alarm to environmentalists and advocates like Mosser Lee to aid in conservation efforts like habitat restoration projects. Milkweed has decreased by 21 percent in
the U.S. between 1995 and 2013, and nearly 165 million total acres of milkweed have been lost
to pesticide-intensive agriculture and development. Reversing that trend by actively restoring
milkweed and other pollinator habitats is critical to ensure the long-term survival of the
Plant Milk Weed for Pollinators
Mosser Lee offers free Milkweed seeds for anyone who wishes to help with this effort. As Monarch Butterflies will only lay their eggs on the milkweed plant this effort is critical for population growth. Milkweed is important to other pollinators and is an important addition to local eco systems, it also smells wonderful when in bloom. Check our our past Efforts on Monarch Habitat Restoration.
To receive your free Milkweed seeds from Mosser Lee, simply click here and we will mail them to you when the season is right. Milkweed seeds do need a chilling period before germinating so make sure to make your request today.
5 Ways to Help Butterflies and Pollinators this Spring
These efforts are starting to pay off Eastern and Western populations seem to be on the rise but due to several constraints of the past few years data collection in both over wintering locations has been challenging. We still need your help. Here are 5 things you can do to create butterfly friendly environments in your garden.
- Start by planting Milkweed for your pollinator friends. Milkweed seeds are best planted in the fall and winter months because they need a period of cold stratification, however it’s not too late. Once you receive your seeds, simply place them in you refrigerator for 4-6 weeks for cold stratification. This gives you plenty of time for planting.
2. Get kids involved. This is an ongoing problem, and like many environmental issues the education and involvement of kids is our best chance for future conservation. It’s a great time to teach kids about the lifecycle of the monarch. There are wonderful resources available to teach kids what to look for and how to monitor butterflies in their natural environment. We caution you against bringing in wild butterflies to raise indoors as the ultimate goal is for these butterflies to be able to be sustainable without human intervention. Experts in monarch research have raised some valid concerns about commercial raising of Monarch to supply the common butterfly kit focused on a lack of genetic diversity and an increase of parasites.
3. Cut ties with herbicides. Many pesticides contain glyphosate, a herbicide that kills milkweed. Milkweed is the only plant monarch larvae eat, and the only plant the monarch will lay its eggs in. Without milkweed, the monarch butterfly would cease to exist.
4. Start a pollinator garden. A pollinator garden is simply a garden that is focused on attracting pollinators. Just add native plants that produce a significant amount of pollen and nectar. You’ll enjoy how wonderful they smell through the growing season.
5. Spread the word! Social media has its faults but it’s great for spreading the word on environmental causes. Make sure to post pictures of your growing gardens and your butterfly visitors. Let your friends know about the need for more milkweed while at the same time beautifying your feed and don’t forget to tag us, we’d love to share your garden wins!