Gardening for Butterflies, Birds and Bees forum: A Different kind of danger...sad news for Monarchs

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Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
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LindaTX8
Mar 23, 2010 11:36 AM CST
Just FYI for those who care about the Monarchs
http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Storms%20threaten%20butte...
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
Name: Sheila F
Fort Worth TX (Zone 8a)
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Sheila_FW
Mar 27, 2010 6:28 AM CST
Thanks Linda, it is a very sad article indeed. But we have to remember who is in control and that the Monarchs are a very strong butterfly. We can all do our part by planting milkweed and overwintering milkweed to be ready in the fall and again in the spring. The quicker they begin laying eggs the larger the numbers will be.

Thumb of 2010-03-27/Sheila_FW/8b227e
Name: Stormy
Valley Forge Pa
I Love MAM ~ So Happy Together
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stormyla
Sep 21, 2010 6:11 PM CST
Linda & Sheila, For some reason, Monarchs are one butterfly that doesn't visit my garden. I do have several clumps of Milkweed and have lots of other types of butterflies. Can you think of anything I should be doing differently to attract them? Thanks

You have a lovely cubit here.
Name: Sheila F
Fort Worth TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Texas Butterflies Garden Art
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Sheila_FW
Oct 14, 2010 7:19 AM CST
Don't know exactly what to tell you. We don't have Monarchs here year round; only in spring and fall as they are migrating. I know when they are here they love zinnias, frostweed, and especiall the bluemist flower (both east and west variety). You might check with your local garden clubs for others. Good luck.
Name: Stormy
Valley Forge Pa
I Love MAM ~ So Happy Together
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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stormyla
Oct 14, 2010 7:25 AM CST
Thanks, Sheila, My fellow cubit members who live within 20 miles of me get plenty of them. I seem to be the only one not getting them. I mentioned it to a neighbor this weekend and they said that Monarchs have been scarce right around here in the past 10 years. It is very strange. Confused
Name: Sheila F
Fort Worth TX (Zone 8a)
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Sheila_FW
Nov 11, 2010 7:35 AM CST
Did your Monarchs show up this fall? You might try getting a few caterpillars from the friends in the spring and releasing on your mw plants.
Name: Sheila F
Fort Worth TX (Zone 8a)
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Sheila_FW
Nov 29, 2010 8:31 AM CST
Well we can definately add the weather too. I had Monarchs laying eggs on MW one day and we had freezing temps and high winds for the next three. I doubt they will hatch and if they did another freeze will get them. It is too late to bring them inside, my plants are on the decline too. Just nature.
Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Salvias Herbs Bluebonnets Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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LindaTX8
Nov 29, 2010 10:48 AM CST
I've got the same problem...with the American Lady cats. I'd brought in all the AL catsI could find on the Sweet Everlasting here before the hard freeze (25.4°, too early for that!). There were probably more 1st instar AL cats, but they burrow into the thicker basal leaves and can't be spotted. Nothing I could do about them. Then after the freeze, I remembered there were also some plants I'd seen once in an area back of the community mailboxes near the neighborhood entrance. There were some late instars there, still alive! Amazing! I can probably find enough foliage to feed the AL cats I have. Only the plants that bloomed are pretty much gone foliage-wise. Most of the plants didn't bloom and except for what's been eaten by cats, the foliage will probably last a while. I believe they behave like biennials here, staying low the first year, blooming the second. I covered up the stinging nettle before the freeze, but still found a couple of small RA cats that were dead later.
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
Name: Sheila F
Fort Worth TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Texas Butterflies Garden Art
Ponds Dog Lover Hummingbirder Birds The WITWIT Badge Region: United States of America
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Sheila_FW
Dec 21, 2010 3:20 PM CST
Sad that the RA cats didn't make it. Hope your AL will survive. I have some Queens, and occassional Monarch, Question Mark and Sulphur still moving around in the warmth of the day.
A Gulf Frit was on the sole surviving bloom of a Texas Betony when I left to walk the dogs earlier today. So they are able to find the needle in the haystack so to speak.
Name: John Mehner
Central Florida zone 9 (Zone 9b)
Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Florida
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ApopkaJohn
Dec 23, 2010 4:04 AM CST
Is it true that Monarchs have a homing device?
The descendants come back to the same milk weed home-plant every year?
Like salmon returning to the same stream to spawn.
Name: John Mehner
Central Florida zone 9 (Zone 9b)
Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Florida
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ApopkaJohn
Dec 23, 2010 4:25 AM CST
Bt-corn is killing Monarchs too.

http://www.ca.uky.edu/entomology/entfacts/ef130.asp

Bt-corn is a type of genetically modified organism, termed GMO. A GMO is a plant or animal that has been genetically modified through the addition of a small amount of genetic material from other organisms through molecular techniques.

A donor organism may be a bacterium, fungus or even another plant. In the case of Bt corn, the donor organism is a naturally occurring soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis, and the gene of interest produces a protein that kills Lepidoptera larvae, in particular, European corn borer. This protein is called the Bt delta endotoxin. Growers use Bt corn as an alternative to spraying insecticides for control of European and southwestern corn borer.

The protein is very selective, generally not harming insects in other orders (such as beetles, flies, bees and wasps). To kill a susceptible insect, a part of the plant that contains the Bt protein (not all parts of the plant necessarily contain the protein in equal concentrations) must be ingested. Within minutes, the protein binds to the gut wall and the insect stops feeding. Within hours, the gut wall breaks down and normal gut bacteria invade the body cavity. The insect dies of septicaemia as bacteria multiply in the blood. Even among Lepidoptera larvae, species differ in sensitivity to the Bt protein.

my comments:
Growing up in Iowa, we often saw big patches of milk weed growing in the ditches next to the gravel roads, which by the way, border-on the corn fields. Butterflies were common and driving down the hiway in the country at 75MPH you would collect specimens plastered on the front of your car radiator, and usually get home with a monarch or two. Why have they dissappeared? Farmers have new chemicals effective on killing "weeds" so there is a lot less milkweed.
BT Corn makes pollen in July that scatters in the wind, and especially thick pollen collects in those ditches where the milk weed grow best. What do you think happens when the pollen from the corn tassels sticks to the fuzzy leaves of the milk weed? NO MORE WORMS on the milk weed.

pic shows typical Iowa landscape with corn tassel in bloom next the the road ditch.

Thumb of 2010-12-23/ApopkaJohn/a738ca
Surprisingly GREEN Pittsburgh (Zone 6a)
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crittergarden
Feb 24, 2014 4:52 PM CST
I got this tweet today: @NRDC ask #EPA to re-examine Roundup weedkiller use because of Monarch butterfly declines http://bit.ly/1bGvKmK
SHOW ME YOUR CRITTERS! I have a critter page over at Cubits. http://cubits.org/crittergarden/thread/view/73275/

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