Monarch butterflies live and breed throughout North America feeding on milkweed their favorite host plant. Monarch butterflies live primarily in meadows, grasslands and along roadsides, throughout North America.
While most monarchs live only a few weeks, their babies emerge in the late summer and early fall and the new generation starts their migratory journey. Monarchs are born travelers and live up to nine months to ensure they get where they are going. Its believed monarchs use the changing weather and the position of the sun to know when it’s time to start their long journey.
Monarchs experience significant threats to their survival
- Loss of milkweed plants
Although monarchs feed on the nectar of many flowers, they lay their eggs only on certain types of milkweed plants. Unfortunately, milkweed is often eradicated and treated as noxious weeds. Urbanization, industrialized, large-scale farms, and drought conditions have also resulted in significant plant loss.
- Loss of winter habitat
The butterflies’ winter habitat, both in Mexico AND California is rapidly shrinking due to deforestation, harsh weather, development and other disruptions. Because Monarchs gather in only a few locations, the overall population is at risk.
- Climate Change
Especially during the last decade, changes in climate have resulted in more out-of-season storms, severe temperature drops and excessive rain. The combination of both wet and cold is deadly and has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of millions of butterflies.
The number one culprit causing the demise of the Monarch Butterfly is CLIMATE CHANGE brought about by the decimation of habitat.
There has been a 99.4% decline in the Monarch population since the early 80’s.