How to help monarch butterflies in your area

McClatchy Foreign StaffMarch 31, 2014 


Two Monarch butterflies feed on a Blazing Star plant at the USDA Forest Service's Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie on the site of the former Joliet Arsenal in Wilmington, Illinois, Friday, September 1, 2006.


One of the primary reasons for the recent decline of monarch butterflies, scientists think, is the eradication of milkweed plants _ which the monarchs lay eggs on and their larvae eat _ along U.S. highways and near farmland due to the use of herbicides. Here are suggestions how individuals can help:

_ Plant native milkweed in your yard and encourage local government to plant it in parks. There are several sources for free milkweed seeds. Consult for sources of seeds. provides a list of providers of milkweed plants and seeds. Be sure to determine which variety is appropriate to the area where you live.

_ Join programs to monitor monarch butterfly movements and presence in your area. A national count conducted by the North American Butterfly Association is July 1 in Canada and July 4 in the United States.

_ Write local and state legislators to encourage them to include milkweed among the plants that are seeded along highway roadsides, especially those that follow monarch migratory routes. Get involved in pushing legislators to set aside larger tracts for milkweed.

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