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Helping Monarch Butterflies
The monarch butterfly population has sadly been ever decreasing over the last 20 years or so. In 2018 alone their population decreased by almost 15%, as stated by the National Wildlife Federation. In the last 20 years, it has gone down almost 90%. If the monarch butterfly population doesn’t start to turn around, we could see them going extinct in the next 10 to 20 years, possibly even sooner.
The decrease in their population has been largely due to the depletion of their most important food source: milkweed. The milkweed plant family (which includes many different types of milkweed plants) has gone through a major decline due to harmful chemicals and pesticides used by humans for farming crops. Though crops are just as important, the use of these harmful chemicals has some extremely negative side effects on other plants and animals around them.
While monarch butterflies do not eat milkweed, it is the ONLY food source monarch caterpillars eat, which is the stage before they form their chrysalis and go through metamorphosis to become the monarch butterfly.
The easiest way for you to help the monarch butterfly population grow is by simply growing your own milkweed plants. This gives the monarch butterflies a place to lay their eggs and to continue populating their species.
In addition to planting and growing your own milkweed plants, you can also create your own butterfly gardens or kits, which help foster and grow more butterflies. Not to mention that they can help with other wild life as well!