Start Seeing Monarchs the First Saturday in May

The first Saturday in May is marked National Start Seeing Monarchs Day. What an appropriate national day for this time of the year!  Have you seen any monarch butterflies in your yard this year?  I’ve been seeing them in my garden for a few weeksMonarch butterflies are on a sharp decline nationwide. But there are somethings that you can do to help make sure they don't end up on the endangered list.

This day was chosen to raise people’s awareness of the butterfly so that it does not end up on the endangered species list.

Facts about the Monarch ButterflyThe colors of a monarch butterfly are very striking

  • This beautiful yellow and black butterfly is a milkweed butterfly.
  • The butterflies range somewhere around 3-4 inches in size.
  • Monarch butterflies migrate to warmer climates in the fall and return again in the spring. They can travel up to 250 miles in one day.swarm of monarch butterflies
  • The population of monarch butterflies is on a sharp decline in the last 20 years. Some sites say that it could be as much as 90%!
  • Milkweed is necessary for the survival of the monarch butterfly. Milkweed is a perennial flowering plant that is crucial to the butterflies’ survival.  It provides nectar and is the only plant where a monarch will lay their eggs.Monarch caterpillars need milkweed to live
  • Adult Monarchs like many nectar plants, but their caterpillars will only eat milkweed.
  • Monarch caterpillars have a big appetite. They can consume and entire milkweed leaf in less than five minutes. Monarch caterpillar eating a milkweed leaf
  • Eggs laid by monarchs become baby caterpillars in about four days. They spend the next few weeks eating and growing until they attach to branches and form into a chrysalis.  About 10 days later a butterfly emerges and takes off looking for more milkweed spots to feed.Adult monarchs like all flower nectar

Nectar Plants that are attractive to Adult Monarch Butterflies

While monarch caterpillars need milkweed to survive, adult Monarchs are attracted to several nectar plants: Plant some of these in your yard to attract them.Adult monarch butterflies love all sorts of flowers.

Monarch Butterfly Way StationsA lush garden can hide a fence and attract butterflies at the same time.

Think about planting a way station to attract Monarchs. Ideally a way station should be at least 100 feet, but you can help even if you do it in a smaller way.  If you have a herb or vegetable garden add some of the above plants nearby.  Got an ugly fence line that needs covering?  Plant milkweed seeds right along the line. It will cover the fence and attract butterflies at the same time.  Along the side of a garden shed is also a good place for a way station. 

Water sourceAdd rocks in a bird bath to give monarchs a place to land

In addition to nectar, Monarch butterflies also need other forms of moisture. A large area of water is risky for them, but a birdbath, if it is not too deep is a great place to allow them some extra water.  Adding some rocks in the birdbath will let them land safely.

How to observe National Start Seeing Monarchs Day.

There are lots of things that you can do to observe this day.  Planting a variety of milkweed plants in your yard is one good way, since Monarchs love these plants and seek them out.  Keep pesticides away from these plants so that they will be a safe haven for the butterflies.Monarch butterfly feeding on milkweed

And while you are at it, think about using less pesticides in general. There are loads of alternatives that are more organic and natural to keep pests and weeds out of a garden without resorting to something that damages our environment in such a big way.

Spreading the word to your friends with this tweet is a great way to take part in the day. How to slow down the Monarch Butterfly Decline #startseeingmonarchsday #♥monarchs Click To Tweet

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  2 comments for “Start Seeing Monarchs the First Saturday in May

  1. Kathy J
    01/26/2018 at 4:42 pm

    Thank you for your wonderful article. I have had a soft spot for Monarchs ever since I was around 5 years old in Milwaukee, Wi. That was when I saw a huge ribbon of monarchs fly through our courtyard on their migration. The ribbon was as tall as my dad (6′ 5″) and lasted at least ten minutes. As my sister stood watching, my dad said,”Remember this. You will probably never meet another person that has ever seen this.’ And, I haven’t. People I have met that have seen migrations have not ever seen what we saw. I feel very blessed to have seen it.

    • Carol
      01/26/2018 at 4:59 pm

      Hi Kathy. I am glad you enjoyed my article. Your experience sounds fabulous. I wish I could have been there!

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