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The monarchs need our help
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 3:20 PM

By Kylee Baumle

I’ve talked about the monarch butterflies a few other times in this column, so regular readers know that I’m one of their biggest fans. It won’t be long before we’ll be seeing them in our gardens again. The hummingbirds have returned from their wintering grounds and the monarchs aren’t far behind, having been sighted as far north as Kentucky.

Our recent cold weather may slow them down a bit, because they can’t fly at temperatures below 50°F, but an even bigger factor is the presence of milkweed. The caterpillars of the monarch butterfly feed exclusively on plants in the Asclepias genus.

The thought of growing milkweed in your gardens might not appeal to you, but the monarchs are in trouble and they depend on milkweed for their survival. Their habitat is dwindling due to spraying and while I understand why farmers don’t want it in their fields, roadside mowing, among other factors, is also contributing to the lack of food sources.