24 September 2013

where have all the monarchs gone?

milkweed plants are pretty prolific here in this neck of the woods. every spring, i leave several plants to grow in the yard and in the garden. around here, milkweed is the food of choice for monarch caterpillars as they grow. they feast on the leaves midsummer and then, when it's time, they go into their chrysalis formation right there on the plant, firmly attached to a stem or a leaf, their casings brilliant green with a glittering band of gold. most years there are many, many monarchs here, in various stages of growth. this year, despite my best investigative efforts, i can find not a one. zero. zip. nada.

abrupt changes like this worry me, especially where nature is concerned. i have not researched this to see if there's a reason, but i hope this is just a local phenomenon and pray that it's simply a one-year anomaly. spring was too cold. it snowed at the end of may. the summer was too wet. something like that.  
on a related note, last year i took a monarch caterpillar and the milkweed plant it lived on to the little girl's school so her class could observe the transformation firsthand. the creature died. i felt badly then. i feel worse now.


Willow said...

I have had the same here , no Monarchs . Truthfully I think I saw one this year. It does worry me as well.

YET said...

Monarchs are suffering a similar plight as Bees and my understanding is that it's a result of M*nsanto chemical weedkillers. I have a stand of Milkweed in my garden in hopes of attracting butterflies and haven't seen a one.

Anonymous said...

They all came to Cape Cod!

Cherie Blessing said...

Our preschool teachers had the same trouble in Vermont. They contacted a local scientist but haven't heard yet why the strange "no monarch" year. Sometimes there are natural cycles, and we're hoping it is that.