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Possible cause identified for monarch butterfly population depletion

Discussion in 'Insects, Other Invertebrates & Arthropods' started by Turtle, Sep 9, 2019.

  1. Turtle

    Turtle Arachnosquire Active Member

    The past few weeks I have been researching landscape designs to build a native plant butterfly garden. In my process of educating myself I found, to my surprise, that the monarch butterfly populations are crashing. There's been much speculation and debate by many as to why this is happening, be it GMO crops, pesticides and even milkweed being 'not as common' as it used to be etc.

    I just read this article and it seems like a valid hypothesis. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/tech...te-road-salt-as-culprit-—-and-cure/ar-AAGKrx2. What are ya'lls thoughts on this topic?
  2. Entomologist210

    Entomologist210 Arachnopeon

    It's a great big combination of different factors. Everything from overuse of systemic pesticides, climate change, and habitat destruction. While soil toxicity probably plays some role, I think that host plant availability and proximity to pesticide prevalent areas plays a larger one. https://entomologytoday.org/2019/05...uences-monarch-butterfly-egg-laying-survival/
    On a side note, we've been asking folks to *not* use tropical milkweed over native varieties that die off in the winter. The reason for this is the Danaus plexippus that migrate (not all do) may stay next to the evergreen tropical plants instead of moving further southward.
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  3. Turtle

    Turtle Arachnosquire Active Member

    Thank you very much for that article, very interesting read. I wish I could convince everyone that they should burn their lawns and plant useful native species lol

    I have seed for Asclepias syriaca that will be going in a 30ft x 3ft raised bed this spring.
  4. Galapoheros

    Galapoheros ArachnoGod Old Timer

    Using my own eyeballs while driving around Texas roads, I see millions of native milkweed plants along the side of the road. A problem I see is the mowing down of all the native range plants on the side of the roads at not such a good time. imo they need to time it better. Some county and state roadside management programs claim to mow after plants have seeded, in general, but to me it looks like they don't care and just do it, ...whenever.
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  5. Been blessed, the annual flowers I planted have been visited by more types (colours?) of butterflies in various sizes (incl Monarchs), lots of bees and even a hummingbird. I dead-headed my planted flowers all summer, and watered frequently -- so I had (still have) hundreds of flowers for them. This has been a banner year for me with bees & butterflies -- and the hummingbird was a first in many years!

    I do think pesticides and mowing down (or simply destroying) natural sources of flowering plants plays a large role in diminishing populations. It's sad man tries to over-tame nature.

    I understand laws and know my front lawn must be kept neatly mowed in my town; but in the back-yard, I leave several good sized areas un-mowed -- leaving all types of natural wildflowers to flourish (my bees esp adore the natural clover) -- seems a nice compromise for them all. I don't use any pesticides or herbicides -- all organic.