The monarch butterfly is undoubtedly the most famous of its species in the US. This iconic pollinator can be found in any given state through the spring and summer. Or at least, it could.
Over the past 25 years, the population of the monarch butterfly has decreased by 80%. At this rate, the species could be extinct two decades from now. Though it might not seem like that big of a deal, the monarch butterfly is a very active pollinator, covering much larger territories than honeybees or bumbles.
Without it, we would not only lose a beautiful part of nature, but pollination could suffer as a whole. The question is….
Why is the Monarch Butterfly Dying?
Every fall, monarch butterflies from across the United States migrate to California and Mexico for the winter. There are places where millions of monarchs can be seen during the winter months. These areas are generally forests and fields. With mass deforestation occurring, however, monarchs are struggling to find proper habitat once they migrate.
That is, if they make it in the first place.
With overly warm fall weather, many monarch butterflies are migrating too late. When a sudden winter storm hits, large amounts of monarchs are wiped out by the freezing weather.
Meanwhile, there aren’t enough new monarch butterflies being born to replace these losses. Why? Because of a lack of milkweed.
Why Milkweed Matters for Monarchs
Milkweed is essential for monarch butterflies. Without it, they can’t reproduce. Monarch butterflies lay their eggs exclusively on this perennial plant. The larvae use it as a food source, consuming the toxic milky substance within. This serves as a defense mechanism for the duration of its life.
Unfortunately, milkweed has been labeled as a noxious weed in many states, making it a target for pesticides and general weed control.
Saving the Monarch Butterfly and Promoting Pollinator Diversity
With the declining populations of honeybees, bumblebees, monarch butterflies, and other important pollinators, the need for pollinator diversity is greater than ever.
While the exact causes of situations such as colony collapse disorder among honeybees are vague and therefore difficult to address, the causes for the monarch’s decline are fairly clear. By establishing milkweed, this pollinator could be saved.
Through the Conservation Reserve Program, farmers and landowners can receive rental payments from the government in exchange for establishing native vegetation such as pollinator habitat. By establishing pollinator habitat with milkweed, CRP contract holders can help the monarch butterfly thrive while enjoying the benefits of pollinator presence.
Having active pollinators within your farmland has shown to increase crop yields and improve the overall health of your area.
If you’re looking to buy CRP pollinator seed, All Native Seed has you covered. Whether you choose our proprietary CRP seed mixes, or you have us quote out an NRCS mix, you can trust that you’ll be supplied with the highest quality seed available.
And if you prefer to have someone purchase and plant your CRP seed for you, our parent company FDCE can handle the entire establishment process. They even take care of the reporting and paperwork submission for cost-share reimbursement.
If you have any questions or need any assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us here. The monarch butterfly is a species well-worth saving. With CRP, there’s no reason not to.