Des Moines, Iowa – RadioIowa – The population of monarch butterflies that overwintered in Mexico is said to be more than three times larger than what was seen last year. It’s exceptional news for conservationists in Iowa and elsewhere who are trying to restore the monarch population which has dropped 80-percent in the past 20 years.
Sue Blodgett, who chairs the Department of Entomology at Iowa State University, gives some of the credit to Iowans who are planting milkweeds by the thousands.
The orange-and-black insects are a key factor in providing pollination services to agriculture that are estimated to be worth three-billion dollars a year. Blodgett says they’re an important insect.
The World Wildlife Fund reports that this winter’s survey found adult butterflies covered about ten acres of forest in Mexico. During the last three winters, overwintering butterflies occupied three or fewer acres. Blodgett says the goal is to see a sustained monarch population of about 15 acres, or 225-million butterflies through domestic and international efforts.
One way Iowans can help in their back yards or on larger pieces of property is by planting milkweed, which monarch caterpillars love.
The Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium was established last year to enhance monarch reproduction and survival in Iowa through collaborative and coordinated efforts of farmers, private citizens and their organizations.
Learn more at: http://monarch.ent.iastate.edu