Monarch butterflies used to dwell in about 45 acres of forest in central Mexico. About 25 million butterflies lived on each acre. Today, Monarchs inhabit about 1 1/2 acres and have lost about 80 percent of their population in California according to an article by Dr. Mercola. Could pesticides be the culprit? Since making our backyard a pesticide free zone, there has been a burst of life from the soil up to the sky. Recently, we planted 4 milkweed plants. We planted two different varieties. Since planting them a few months ago, there have been non stop monarch butterfly visits to our garden. Sometimes we have seen as many as four fluttering about near the milkweed. The brightly colored females leave a tiny white egg on the leaves or stems. Within a day or two, a tiny yellow and black caterpillar emerges. After a few more days, the caterpillar becomes very large. They like to find a quiet place like a wood pile to attach their chrysalis. In two weeks or more (depending on the temperature) the butterfly comes out of its capsule and flutters away. The whole process is amazing and will entertain both adults and children. This summer, if you live along the monarch butterfly migration route, consider planting a few milkweed plants in your garden to help the butterflies.
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