[CWF PHOTO CONTEST PICTURES SUBMITTED BY – LEFT: BILL MCMULLEN, MIDDLE: DEBBIE OPPERMANN, RIGHT: MARY HINDLE]
In an article I read this morning, monarch numbers in last winter’s annual survey are the lowest they’ve been in 20 years. This low number is being contributed to poor weather conditions and loss of habitat. In fact, this summer not many monarchs made it to Canada with one citizen scientist north of Toronto noted as saying she has only seen one monarch this year.
While monarch numbers are predicted to stay low, there is hope. Because monarchs have a healthy reproductive capacity and given the right conditions they can make a come back. And you can help! Although monarchs are now migrating to central Mexico, here are some tips for when they make their journey back north:
- Grow lots of flowering plants throughout the warm months for adults looking for nectar
- Grow milkweed for monarchs to lay their eggs on. Try common milkweed, swamp milkweed or butterfly weed
- Remember that monarchs use trees as roosting sites
- Pesticides are a butterfly’s worst enemy – avoid or reduce your use of pesticides
- Create basking spots for butterflies by placing a few flat stones in sunny, sheltered locations
- Help satisfy the thirst of butterflies on hot summer days by supplying water in a shallow dish or a bird bath with half submerged stones as perches
Have you seen many monarchs this summer?