It’s April 21st and in St. Louis we have just been visited by our first Monarch butterfly. This was a female looking for milkweed to lay eggs on.
What is interesting to note is that just six days ago, we had frost yet the cooler temperatures have not hurt the monarchs or the milkweed.
Unless you have started milkweed from seed, most people won’t have any milkweed to provide the visiting monarchs.
Swamp Milkweed is one of my favorites in spring as it has a lovely form and beautiful flowers.
The problem we have is that it only lasts three or so years before it dies off. The problem is probably the hot dry summers we have, which is not conducive to any plant with swamp in it’s name.
To avoid having to buy new plants every year, make sure you collect the seeds when they ripen on the stem, put them in a paper bag and then plant them in late fall where you want them to grow. Next year you will be rewarded with lots of new plants free of any cost. You can also buy seeds online and plant them outside in the fall.
Another trick I have learned is that your can dig up plants early in the spring and divide them. This way you may end up with six plants instead of one.
Description: Have you heard about the steep decline in the Western monarch population? Are you wondering how you can help? This webinar will explore the citizen science effort that tracks the California overwintering monarch population and will discuss the results from this year’s Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count, a record low and a 99.4% decline.
· Katie Hietala-Henschell, Endangered Species Conservation Biologist, the Xerces Society
· Nick Stong, Programs Manager, Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History
· Emma Pelton, Western Monarch Lead, Endangered Species Conservation Biologist, the Xerces Society
The webinar will be offered through WebEx. The link and participation details will be provided the day prior to the webinar.
Please feel free to share this announcement and registration information!We look forward to your participation! MJV/NCTC Webinar Team
I have received a couple of emails recently wondering why their caterpillars were not doing well or dying.
One of the experts,Dr. Karen Oberhauser, in a recent Monarch program says that only 2% of Monarchs make it from the egg to butterfly stage. She mainly talks about insects and parasitoids, but there are also diseases and even the milkweed liquid can kill the small caterpillars.
If you do want to increase the odds of the Monarchs, you can raise them yourself. It’s a fun process and fairly easy to do.