Monarchs on the move

Monarch butterfly sitting on a flower.

Photo by Justin DoCanto on Unsplash

UWL entomologist shares how to support butterflies as the largest migration in more than a decade moves north

Monarch butterflies are making a comeback. Iowa Public Radio reported that the largest migration of Monarchs in over a decade could descend on Iowa later this spring.

Wisconsin, another state along the Monarch’s migration route from Mexico, could also see more Monarchs.

While the news is promising, Barrett Klein, UWL entomologist, cautions it does not necessarily or likely represent a sustainable return of Monarchs.  

“This uptick could largely be due to an exceptional year, ecologically, for the monarchs,” he says. “We should remain vigilant in our conservation efforts and activism.”

Along those lines, Klein shared what Wisconsinites can do to support and conserve butterflies and butterfly migrations.

  1. Plant native, flowering plants. Monarchs depend on milkweed for larval development and a range of flowers as adults. Planting on medians, in yards, in empty lots, can go a long way. 
  2. Avoid pesticides – neonicotinoids and others. There is ample evidence showing the deleterious effects of pesticides on pollinators.
  3. Move away from monocultures and diversify crops.

See Monarch tracking on their route north.