Like all butterflies, monarchs lay their eggs on select plants, called “host plants.” These are the only plants their caterpillars can eat, and for monarchs, milkweed is their only host plant.
Unfortunately, milkweed is becoming harder for monarchs to find. Despite being ecologically important and an often ornamental wildflower, many consider milkweed a weed to be eradicated, both in agricultural lands as well as in the urban and suburban landscape. As we’ve gotten better at wiping out milkweed, monarchs have suffered. Even when milkweed isn’t being targeted directly, monarch habitat in the United States is being gobbled up by development. Monarchs are also being directly killed by pesticides, both as caterpillars and as adult butterflies in farmlands and backyards.
This, coupled with threats to the monarchs’ overwintering grounds in Mexico and California, has resulted in the precipitous decline of the insect’s population in North America.
Six Ways to Save Monarchs with NWF
There is hope for the monarch, if we act now. NWF and our partners are taking on the challenge, and we need your help. Here are six ways that you can join the effort to make a difference for monarchs.
National Wildlife Federation: Attracting Birds, Butterflies & other Backyard Wildlife
Book (Creative Homeowner)
National Wildlife Federation's World of Birds: A Beginner's Guide
Book (Black Dog & Leventhal)