Monday, April 1, 2013

Monarch Butterfly Numbers Continue to Decline

This spring, you may not see too many of the beautiful, orange and black winged Monarch butterflies flying across Texas. Texas A&M butterfly expert and enthusiast, Craig Wilson, says the harsh drought, historic wildfires and increased use of pesticides over the past few years are the main causes of the decline in Monarch numbers. Because of the severe drought, the necessary nutrient food needed for their survival—the milkweed plant—is not in ample supply. This plant is the only type of food the Monarch is able to digest when making its trip north from its breeding grounds in Mexico.
What can we do to help? Wilson says simply buying and planting some milkweed plants at the local farmer’s market will help aid the colorful butterflies in their migration north.
If you would like to learn more about how to attract butterflies to your garden or are a butterfly enthusiast, check out TAMU Press author Geyata Ajilvsgi’s new book, Butterfly Gardening for Texas (TAMU Press, 2013). Considered among the state’s top plant and butterfly experts, Ajilvsgi shares a wealth of practical information about all kinds of butterflies and the many flowers and plants utilized in their life cycle.
To read more about the book, which is available in May, click here. To read more about the declining numbers of the Monarchs, click here for access to the TAMU Times article.

--Madeline Loving

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