In a recent post on his What’s Crawling in the Lab blog, CALS/UW-Extension entomologist P.J. Liesch described some of the challenges facing North America’s monarch butterflies, which had historic low overwintering populations during the past two winters.
Although these numbers are worrisome, Liesch notes that there’s hope in the form of a newly-released U.S. Pollinator Task Force plan. The three main goals of the plan are:
- Reduce honey bee losses to sustainable levels
- Preserve the monarch population in the U.S.
- Increase and improve pollinator habitat
While the Pollinator Task Force’s plan will take some time to implement, Liesch points out that there are ways for individuals to immediately provide assistance for monarchs:
- Plant milkweed to create a habitat for monarchs
- Get involved with citizen science projects to help raise awareness about the topic
- Use caution when using pesticides in the landscape to minimize impacts to monarchs, bees and other beneficial species