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Effective Ways to Help the Monarch Butterflies from Extinction

Many childhood memories are populated by a species in trouble, and last week, monarch butterflies were added to the red list of threatened species, which is two steps away from being extinct in the wild.


Butterflies are beneficial insects that can help pollinate your garden, reduce the spread of disease-causing organisms, and serve as a food source for other beneficial insects. In addition to the benefits listed above, these insects also have a very important role in the ecosystem.


Effective Ways to Help the Monarch Butterflies from Extinction

According to scientists, habitat loss, climate change, pesticides, and herbicides are responsible for the monarchs' declining numbers. But there are ways we can help. Keep reading for four ways you can help save the Monarch Butterflies!

Plant a Milkweed Plant


Monarch butterflies would be extinct without the help of milkweed. The benefit would be great for the butterflies if we all plant one milkweed plant. Milkweed is the only plant monarch caterpillars eat, and it's where adult monarchs lay their eggs.


According to Dawn Rodney, chief innovation and growth officer at the National Wildlife Federation in Reston, Virginia, not all milkweed is the same. For example, Asclepias curassavica is an invasive plant and is doing more harm than good, and longer-blooming non-native plants are a problem because they prevent butterflies from recognizing when it is time to migrate, thus spreading deadly parasites to the following year's generation of caterpillars.


So, it is very important to choose the right plant. You can use the National Wildlife Federation's Native Plant Finder to select the proper milkweed to plant.


Monarch butterflies require nectar-bearing flowers from native plants and adult monarchs. You can also use the Monarch Nectar Plant List to help you find the right plants for your area.



Avoid Treated Plants


It's important to know where the plants you purchase come from. Rodney said that many growers use chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides to keep plants looking attractive on retail shelves, which are harmful to wildlife. For example, caterpillars that eat leaves from butterflies that lay eggs on treated plants will die.


Particularly detrimental to species, Rodney said neonicotinoid pesticides could kill bees and adult butterflies that consume toxic pollen and nectar from treated plants.


To avoid treated plants, ask garden center staff about their pest-management practices, Rodney says. Other excellent options are buying from only trusted, organic sources or growing your own plants from seed.



Maintain a Pesticide-free Garden


Using pesticides on our plants, we endanger monarchs and beneficial insects, including birds that consume those poisoned insects.


It is best to use soap, horticultural oil, or Neem oil and apply them only after dusk when pollinators are inactive. Because these products lose effectiveness when dry, the butterflies will be safer in the morning.



Setting up a Butterfly Puddling Station


Butterflies will sip water from a mud puddle to replenish their nutrition following a long trip and sun themselves on a flat stone to raise their temperatures. You can set up a puddling station in your yard to help butterflies supplement their nectar diets with the salts, vitamins, and minerals they need.


If monarch butterflies become extinct in the wild, it will be a major loss for the ecosystem and a sign of larger environmental problems. The monarch's decline should serve as a reminder that, even in healthy ecosystems, species can disappear. That's why it is important to take care of the environment and plant native plants.


Effective Ways to Help the Monarch Butterflies from Extinction

 



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