Monarch butterflies are gorgeous pollinators, there are a few ways you can help them out while drawing them to your yard.

Monarch Butterflies Are Endangered

Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash
Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash
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Monarch butterflies are gorgeous orange and black butterflies and are one of the most popular pollinators that folks like to draw to their homes.  However, our butterfly friends are endangered. According to a report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (the IUCN) they have officially placed these brightly colored butterflies on the endangered list saying:

The migratory monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus plexippus), known for its spectacular annual journey of up to 4,000 kilometres across the Americas, has entered the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM as Endangered, threatened by habitat destruction and climate change. All surviving sturgeon species – also migratory, found across the northern hemisphere – are now at risk of extinction due to dams and poaching, pushing the world’s most Critically Endangered group of animals yet closer to the brink.

 

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash
Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash
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How to Help Draw Monarch Butterflies to Your Yard

One way you can help out the monarch butterfly is by planting plants they enjoy.  This will help give them a place to live, lay their eggs, and pollinate.  Indiana DNR recently shared some very helpful information for ways to draw monarch butterflies to your yard, and it's as simple as planting milkweed and other native plants.

Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash
Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash
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The post from Indiana DNR reads:

Probably one of the most iconic pollinators, the Monarch butterfly has a special relationship with its favorite plant: milkweed!

The entire lifecycle of the monarch butterfly is dependent on the milkweed. The monarch will lay its eggs on the underside of milkweed leaves. The plant leaves protect the eggs from the weather until the larvae hatches. The larvae snacks on the poisonous milkweed, ingesting a large amount of the toxic substances found in the plant. Like the old saying “you are what you eat,” monarchs share this defense with the milkweed by storing the poison in their bodies. The bright orange color of the adult monarch’s wings warns other animals that it will not be a very pleasant insect to eat.
As the adult butterfly flies from flower to flower looking for food, it helps to pollinate the milkweed and other native plants. This allows the milkweed to successfully produce seeds that will grow and attract more monarchs in the years to come.
One way you can help monarchs is by planting milkweed along with other diverse native flowers. Providing a diversity of native flowering plants is essential, so there are flowers in bloom throughout the whole season. Check out this handy table with information on desirable Indiana native plant species to consider when establishing pollinator habitat: extension.entm.purdue.edu/publications/POL-6/POL-6.pdf
I'll be planting some milkweed and hope maybe this summer I'll see a monarch butterfly in my garden!

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Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart