In October, millions of monarch butterflies will make a long migration from Canada to Mexico, many stopping in Santa Cruz, Pacific Grove, and Big Sur along the way.
Depleted monarch butterflies and honeybees could get a boost from Iowa farmers over the next few years, thanks in part to lower commodity prices that have prompted landowners to shift more than 100,000 acres of row crops into habitat for creatures vital to pollination.
Over the past four years, Iowa farmers have enrolled 127,005 acres in a federal conservation reserve program designed to sustain butterflies, bees, wasps, birds and bats — with all but 15,000 acres being added in the past year, according to the Iowa Farm Service Agency.
Once the passenger pigeon was the most abundant bird in North America, numbering in the hundreds of millions, if not billions. It would take several hours for flocks to pass a single spot, their wing beats so loud it was hard to carry on a conversation.
But by the late 1890s, they were gone from the wild and less than 20 years later, totally extinct. Could monarch butterflies see the same fate?
The migratory monarch butterfly population has been decimated in recent years, with a total population decline of 90 percent over the past two decades.
But the dying butterflies are a bellweather for even bigger environmental damage.
One of my most vivid childhood memories from Iowa’s corn country is watching clouds of monarch butterflies dance around the milkweed patch by our back steps and finding caterpillars on the leaves.
My brother and I raised them, as many kids do.
This week marks the beginning of our second annual “Pollinator Giving Tree” community project. The dates are flexible but can be mid-October to late winter.
The theme for this year’s trees is sunflowers! While there were thousands of people who added nectar flowers and milkweeds to their yards in 2015, we (and the pollinators that depend on them) actually need many millions of gardens planted.
The branches sagged from the weight of butterflies. Thousands upon thousands of them — orange, black, and white — carpeted the trees around us, and the sound of their fluttering wings echoed through the still forest.
My three kids were mesmerized. Over Christmas holidays, in early January, we hiked the mountains of central Mexico with Omar Vidal, CEO of the World Wildlife Fund in Mexico, to see the famous monarch butterflies.
Habitat loss on breeding grounds in the United States — not on wintering grounds in Mexico — is the main cause of recent and projected population declines of migratory monarch butterflies in eastern North America, according to new research.
Milkweed is the only group of plants that monarch caterpillars feed upon before they develop into butterflies. Industrial farming contributed to a 21-per-cent decline in milkweed plants between 1995 and 2013, and much of this loss occurred in the central breeding region.
Monarch butterflies have arrived in Mexico, and conservationists are applauding the country’s crack down on illegal loggers who contributed to habitat loss and decline of the species.
Now they are turning their attention to the U.S. to help save the migratory insect.
As organic fruit farmers, John and I are very appreciative of our farming partners, the native pollinators and honey bees that do extensive work on our farm. We have tried to develop the farm as a holistic ecosystem and take seriously the charge of being stewards of the land during our tenure here.
About seven years ago, we noticed a decline in bumble bee and other native bee populations.
A survey of monarch butterflies overwintering in California shows that the population has not rebounded. Although the total number of monarchs counted this year was greater than last, the difference is due to a large increase in volunteer effort. Counts at major sites were down when compared to recent years.
Volunteers with the Xerces Society’s Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count visited 253 sites and tallied a total of 298,464 monarchs—a fraction of the 1.2 million monarchs recorded in the late 1990s.
Since the onset of spring, one kind of game-changing news after another has reached Iowa farmers. These announcements will affect the third of the state’s farmers who are struggling to control superweeds by using glyphosates and other herbicides.
New research revelations, government policy changes and farmers’ own dissatisfactions could radically alter both weed and pollinator management in the Midwest.
This is a wonderful 14 minute video with Chip Taylor, Carol Davit and others on monarchs’ future. We recommend this Newsy Documentary.
Kansas University’s Monarch Watch effort is getting more than half a million dollars to enable a butterfly version of the old “teach a man to fish” proverb.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced Monday that Monarch Watch would receive $527,154 for its “Building Tribal Capacity for Monarch Habitat Restoration” project. Roughly half the money is coming from the Wildlife Foundation and half from matching funds, including donations from Monsanto.
Most of us are familiar with that icon of the insect world, the black and orange Monarch butterfly. What you might not know is that Monarch numbers are dwindling at an alarming rate.
80 percent of the population gone in the past 15 years. During the same time frame a 60 percent decline in the amount of milkweed growing out there on the great plains and in the Midwest.
It’s a welcome summer sight: butterflies fluttering from flower to flower. But we could be seeing less of them. A study released today points a finger at road salt.
According to the study, researchers from University of Minnesota found butterflies that were fed a high-sodium diet only had a 10 percent survival rate, compared to a 40 percent to 50 percent survival rate for butterflies that were fed low-to-medium sodium diets.