Apparently, they aren't the only butterflies suffering (and we must include moths). One guess from the Monarch Watch blog is the incredibly wet and stormy May / June much of the central part of the country experienced. In any case, the blog states that their best guess is that there will be less egg laying and butterflies in late July / early August; this last batch of monarchs is the one that makes it to Mexico and overwinters before heading north again in spring.
Of course, being a conspiracy theorist and fan of any canary in the coal mine hypothesis, I think other issues could be involved. But then again, what the heck do I know--I ain't nobody nohow. I might go check out Robert Michael Pyle's logs on Orion to see if he's noticed anything on the general ebb and flow of North American butterflies. (Pyle is traveling NA for a year in an attempt to i.d. as many butterflies as possible.)
Yeah, we're usually awash with monarchs here because of all the milkweeds I allow to grow and flower in my beds. But this year, I've seen many fewer. Perhaps the population swells and declines naturally to maintain a natural balance. But then again...
Well, this makes me worried, but I also feel a little bit better in one respect. I haven't seen any butterflies hanging out at my house, either on the fennel or on the milkweeds. (I have both a. incarnata and a. ... oh crap, I'm blanking here. The orange one.) I thought it was just me, and maybe they didn't like what I had to offer. But now I'm thinking that might not be true...
So far I've seen less monarchs, but with four new milkweeds, I have at least seven monarch caterpillars I've seen the last few days. But then again, it wasn't maybe until late August last year when things really picked up. I should keep a journal. I won't.
The monarchs have been scarce here in Iowa, but we are awash with all manner of swallowtails and fritillaries.
Don--Awash? Do I detect a pun? Is Iowa dry yet?
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