Just A Little Rant About Monarchs

I’m a little peeved. I was driving down my street a couple of weeks ago and noticed all the beautiful wildflowers and grass was cut all along the sides of the street. This may be insignificant to most people, but to me, it’s a really big deal because of all the milkweed and flowers growing there. It’s extremely important to have milkweed around because Monarch butterflies use them to lay eggs and it’s the only food source for the caterpillars after they hatch. Monarchs are not only pollinators, they are also an indicator species, which help gauge the health of the environment around them and us.

There are a number of reasons why towns and cities cut down roadside weeds, however, I think it’s extremely unnecessary in some cases, especially on a quite street like mine. Weeds are cut down to improve visibility, drainage, or to get rid of invasive weeds. There is a whole list of reasons. The problem is cutting down beneficial weeds, like milkweed, which is extremely important to the environment. Milkweed grows on a lot of roadsides in my area. In my opinion, the weeds on my street weren’t  extremely overgrown and could have been cut a month from now, when it gets cooler and there aren’t as many bugs around. My town hasn’t touched them since mid Spring, if I recall correctly.

Right now, it’s especially important to conserve areas with milkweed and wildflowers because late summer and early fall is migration time for Monarchs and a time when other beneficial insects start preparing for winter. So far, I’ve only seen one Monarch this summer and that’s really sad. They’ve been declining and it’s so important to keep them around.

I follow the NRDC (National Resource Defense Council) on Facebook. They have some really important info on environmental issues, endangered species, and a whole list of other important causes.My info and updates about Monarchs comes mostly from them.   Below is a couple of helpful links and info on Monarchs:

https://www.nrdc.org/experts/sylvia-fallon/keep-calm-and-plant-milkweed

https://www.nrdc.org/experts/peter-lehner/fight-save-butterflies

http://www.nwf.org/Wildlife/Wildlife-Library/Invertebrates/Monarch-Butterfly.aspx

http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/60392.html

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