Where were the monarch butterflies this year?

Asked November 11, 2013, 9:43 AM EST

I did not see them here in Okemos, Michigan and my daughter in St. Ignace, Michigan did not have any either even though she planted milkweed to attract them.

Ingham County Michigan

1 Response

It's normal for the monarch population to vary from year to year, but this year's steep decline is being blamed on last year's weather. The monarch doesn't fare well in extreme weather and last summer's drought was the worst in 25 years. A cold spring this year also meant that monarchs have been slower to reproduce and migrate. Researchers noticed last December that the monarch population wintering in Mexico covered less than 3 acres — the smallest area ever recorded. In 1996, the number of butterflies in the area was 18 times greater. Another factor in the decline is the use of pesticides to treat weeds in the Midwest. Chip Taylor, an insect ecologist at the University of Kansas and the founder of Monarch Watch, said that the American Midwest is a key habitat for monarchs because of milkweed, which thrives along the borders of its cornfields. When farms began to use the pesticide Roundup on corn and soy in the early 2000s, milkweed disappeared, and with it, the monarchs that use it to feed and reproduce, Taylor told Yale 360. Data is being collected by monitoring groups around the state, but anecdotally it’s not looking great.

I have added a site you might find interesting: http://www.monarch-butterfly.com/

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