Monarch butterflies migrate astonishing miles to get out of the cold weather. When we think of migration, we often think a couple hundred miles, especially for insects, but the Monarch flies over 2500 miles in some cases to escape the cold (Monarch Butterfly Website).
Since the rise of agricultural industrialization and the resulting natural habitat loses, the Monarch butterfly migration numbers have been declining (Center for Food Safety). While the number of Monarch butterflies migrating south has been overall declining since 1996-97, the trend since 2008 has been a steady decline and the number of migrating Monarch's as of last year is at an all time low (Center for Food Safety).
The fate of flutter butters is unknown, but we can help bring back places to provide them safe harbor. Don't delay, plant milkweed & add butterfly gardens to your landscape. You will be grateful, especially when you get to witness them in all their splendor during their mating and feeding seasons. Remember you can get free milkweed plants here: Live Monarch & get a list of other places that provide them here: Monarch Watch. And if you want to take part in putting together awesome butterfly gardens, all you have to do is plant, with love. Take matters into your own hands, don't let their numbers continue to dwindle while doing nothing. Just plant a plant, or thirty.
Additional comments & resources welcome.
Alicia Graef. 2013. Monarch Butterflies Are Vanishing: Here’s How You Can Help From Your Own Home. 1 Feb 2014.
Center for Food Safety. 2014. New Report Shows Monsanto A Major Culprit in Record Decline of Monarch Butterflies. 1 Feb 2014. http://ecowatch.com/2014/01/30/monsanto-culprit-record-decline-monarch-butterflies/
Kaye Spector. 2013. How You Can Help Prevent Decline of Monarch Butterflies Due to Roundup-Ready Genetically Engineered Crops. 1 Feb 2014. http://ecowatch.com/2013/10/30/home-gardeners-can-take-simple-steps-protect-monarch-butterflies/
Live Monarch. 2013. 1 Feb 2014. http://www.livemonarch.com/free-milkweed-seeds.htm
Monarch Butterfly Website. n.d.Web. 1 Feb 2014. http://www.monarch-butterfly.com/monarch-butterflies-facts.html
Monarch Watch. n.d. Bring back the Monarchs. 1 Feb 2014. http://monarchwatch.org/bring-back-the-monarchs/resources/plant-seed-suppliers
World Wildlife Fund. 2014. Monarch population hits lowest points in more than 20 years. 1 Feb 2014. http://worldwildlife.org/stories/monarch-population-hits-lowest-point-in-more-than-20-years