Keeping the monarch flying


CENTERVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) –  Many of us try to get rid of insects but there’s one beautiful bug that’s disappearing on its own. The monarch butterfly is dwindling across Ohio because its food source is hard to find.

Naturalist Katy Malcolm from the Centerville Washington Park District shows us around Bill Yeck Park.  The park has a seed nursery. We try looking for one specific insect the monarch butterfly.

We’re looking for one specific species – the monarch butterfly.  After a while in the summer sun we didn’t see any monarchs.  Which is not surprising. The monarch butterfly is fading from our landscape because its food source milkweed is disappearing.

Katy Malcolm says, “Changes in how we do things such as mowing along the roadways different herbicide with farmers have decreased the amount of milkweed.”

The plant’s milky substance is poisonous to humans and other insects but its perfect for the monarch caterpillar.

“The monarch will only lay her eggs on a plant the caterpillars can feed on,” Malcolm says.

Once the milkweed plant matures it has buds with hundreds of seems in them. In an effort to bring back more monarch butterflies here in Ohio many park districts across the state are beginning to plant more milkweed. The seeds are harvested and then planted in late the late fall.

But the effort has to reach far beyond Ohio.

“You have monarchs that will over winter in mexico move into Texas breed there then babies will find milkweed and move farther north. It’s not just up to Ohioans but everyone along that migratory path to plant milkweed,” says Malcolm.

A little plant which could go a long way in helping to bring more colorful butterflies back to Ohio.

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