Thursday, July 12, 2012


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The Monarch population has taken a hit. I’ve noticed this change at Monarch Waystation No. 613 in NW Ohio. This spring was the warmest we’ve had in over a century and the past 12 months have been the warmest ever recorded in the U.S. Plants and insects were seen early, and I’ve recorded my earliest spotted Monarch at Waystation No. 613, on May 14th. This led me to believe that it will be a great breeding season for Monarchs, since the milkweed plants popped up several weeks earlier than usual. Between May 14- May 18, I collected 32 Monarch eggs off the roadside milkweed plants that were soon to be sprayed with insecticides or mowed down. 

Monarchs raised and released at
Waystation No. 613
By May 27th I collected a total of 53 eggs and 29 1st and 2nd instar caterpillars off the milkweed plants lining heavily-mowed and sprayed roadways. But, my hopes were diminished. Several late frosts and cold snaps hit NW Ohio. I didn’t see many adult Monarchs flying either. I collected a record low number of Monarch eggs in June and was able to release only 28 adult Monarch butterflies. The OE virus, I assume, had killed half the chrysalis’ and caterpillars I was raising. I was hoping the 28 adult Monarchs I released in my Waystation No. 613 would “hang around” and lay eggs on the 40+ Common and Swamp Milkweeds in my way station, but I never saw them again after release.
Male released at Waystation No. 613
The climate scientists report that the hotter summers, lengthier droughts will not be good for man or beast…or Monarch butterfly. Not surprisingly, on March 17, 2012, the Monarch butterfly population status report was made public. Because of late freezes, historic droughts, raging wildfires, etc. the Monarch butterfly population is down 28%. This document is issued each spring by the World Wildlife Fund, and assesses the overall health of the migrating Monarch butterfly population by calculating the physical space they occupy in the Oyamel fir forests of Michoacan, Mexico. This year, the millions of butterflies occupied a little more than seven acres. The average is almost 18 acres.

 Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S believes urban sprawl can be offset by creating wildlife-friendly spaces in America's 25,000,000 lawns, one yard at a time! Click HERE to learn why. A portion of Ad revenues (10%) will be donated to Monarch Watch, earmarked for their Monarch Waystation Program. 

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