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Butterflies, bees, flies…pollinators! Without pollinators, we can’t survive. Did you know butterfly populations are on the decline? Butterflies need you. Be a butterfly hero. Even if you’re a beginning gardener.
Did you know the Monarch butterfly population is down by more than 90 percent? Ninety percent folks, this is alarming! Monarchs are one of the most interesting creatures in nature because of their great migration each year. Monarchs are also seen as a barometer to measure our ecological health as well as populations of all types of pollinators.
Click here to see more about Monarch butterflies. Monarchs are amazing. They are unique because of their 3000-mile migration, but not all monarchs make the migration. During the warm season, monarchs complete their lifecycle in their summer habitat, but in the fall, the last group of monarchs who are mature, have a natural instinct to fly south to Mexico for the winter.
When spring comes, they naturally migrate back and start reproducing again. They are the only butterflies that do this. Other species winter over in place.
Butterflies need you! Why are butterflies are on the decline? Agricultural practices such as the use of pesticides are destroying butterfly habitats and food sources. The summer habitat of monarch butterflies is one-third of what it used to be due to growing and logging habits in the United States.
What do butterflies need to survive?
Since most of the milkweed in this country is located near or on agricultural land, the use of herbicides on milkweed is significantly reducing its availability. Deforestation is removing safe places for butterflies and other creatures to hibernate and reproduce.
Logging industries are stripping the land of trees at an alarming rate. Butterflies are incredibly sensitive to pesticides. It doesn’t take a large number of pesticides to kill thousands of pollinators.
Roadside mowing is also contributing to the decline of available food sources for butterflies. If we cut down all the wildflowers, milkweed, and nesting places, nature has no protection and no food. How can creatures thrive without untouched land? Butterflies need you and me!
Click here to read more about what a biologist who has studied monarchs for decades has to say about the decline of the monarchs and see just how severe the problem is becoming. Butterflies need a place to rest, feed, and reproduce.
Monarchs make their homes in the United States as well as Canada and Mexico. The forests they use to overwinter in Mexico are being thinned systematically. It is the only shelter from temperatures and rain the butterflies have. The natural instinct to migrate is an amazing and wonderful journey that is unbelievable to me.
My heart cries out for humans on the earth to protect that journey. What can we do to help? All butterflies need a host plant for their caterpillars to eat as well as flowers with nectar for adults to dine on. Monarch caterpillars eat only milkweed plants. Butterflies need you and me!
Butterflies need you to plant more milkweed and nectar plants and be a butterfly hero if these species have a chance of surviving. They lay their eggs on milkweed because it’s the only food source the caterpillars eat. Click here to see what other butterflies and caterpillars feed on and to learn how to attract butterflies to your garden or yard. We can all plant milkweed in our yards as well as wildflowers.
In addition, we can plead with our local officials to stop cutting down the wildflowers on our highways and byways and instead manage them FOR the wildlife. There is a ton of land available there that can be tended with wildflowers instead of mowed. I have seen evidence of this some places already, but we can encourage more of it. Here is the milkweed we are growing. Butterflies need you too!
This spring, the National Wildlife Foundation put on a campaign to help the monarchs by asking kids and adults alike to be butterfly “heroes” Click here to see the program. Thankfully, due to an overwhelming response to this call to action, the program is fully drained of supplies, but that’s great news for the monarchs. Thousands of families across the nation are growing food for them. What a wonderful thing!
When we received our packet, it contained a nature journal, a packet of milkweed seeds, and information on how to use it.
The packet also included educational information about monarchs and a poster and sticker. Here’s our butterfly hero pose.
You can still help be a butterfly hero by getting milkweed seeds from seed supply companies. Click the picture below to order some and get started on your Monarch habitat.
There are many varieties of milkweed available. You will find the most success if you plant species of milkweed that are native to your area that will thrive in your climate. You can also get a Monarch waystation kit that has everything your butterflies will need to thrive at your rest area along their migration path.
We purchased this kit last year and have been working to get some seeds to germinate in our butterfly sanctuary.
At Little Sprouts, we LOVE being butterfly heroes. I want to teach my kids to take care of the earth in any way I can. We recycle, compost, and try to grow native wildflowers in and around our garden to help provide food sources for many beneficial creatures that are on the decline, including butterflies of all kinds as well as bees that our future depends on.
Butterflies need you and me to do our part if we are going to change the damage we are doing to this earth. You may or may not care about butterflies like we do, but I’m sure you care about your future food sources. No pollinators mean no food production, and we all need to be concerned about food for future generations.
What have you done or are you thinking of doing to provide a helping hand to nature? Let’s get out there and change the future of the world TOGETHER! Be a butterfly hero.