Iowans Shouldn’t Give Up On Monarch Butterflies Yet
Iowa is a top crop-producing state and in order to maintain that dominance in the industry, we need pollinators. But lately, people have noticed, or haven’t noticed, as many pollinators fluttering around outside.
And this isn’t new.
Jason Johnson with the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service says that many people have been talking with him at the Iowa State Fair about where the butterflies have gone.
We would have people come up and say, ‘hey, we are planting milkweed, or we've planted pollinators, and we've seen a lot of Monarch butterflies. This year, for whatever reason, we don't really know why people are saying they haven't seen monarch butterflies as much this year.
This could have to do with the fact the monarch butterfly was added to the endangered species list back in late July. One of the biggest contributors to the decreasing population was cited as being climate change.
The USDA has been making an effort over the last few years to promote pollinator health. At the Iowa State Fair, they have set up a booth in the Agriculture Building. There, visitors can find giant butterflies hanging from the ceiling, look at live butterflies and even share their own butterfly photos.
Despite Iowans not having much luck promoting monarch populations through milkweed, Johnson says that Iowans should still plant it to help provide pollinators a possible habitat.
Caterpillars lay their eggs on milkweed and that becomes monarch butterflies. So, milkweed is a big one.
Prairie strips and native landscaping are other ways Iowans can promote butterfly and pollinator populations in their lawns.