Tuesday, August 11, 2020

If You Build It They Will Come...Or Not

After the milkweed took off like...a weed...this spring I had high hopes for a record number of monarch butterflies this summer.  I've only seen four so far and none of them stayed more than a couple minutes and I can't find any evidence of egg laying, much less caterpillars.  

I can only guess that maybe the cold spring caused problems?  Or maybe I should say I hope that is just the problem.  I'd hate to think the loss of habitat and too many pesticides have pushed them to the point where it might be too late to help them.


I have seen a few more swallowtail butterflies than normal this year, but interestingly they have all been in pretty rough shape.  Even this one has a tattered "tail".

Here's a short video tour of the B Garden.  I have thoroughly enjoyed this messy place full of blooming and seeded out buckwheat, sunflowers, milkweed and all sorts of bright colors, shapes and sizes tucked here and there.  So have tons of wild bees, some smaller moths and butterflies, lots of birds and even a couple bunnies :-).


17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have not seen any butterflies this year. Live in the suburbs, piedmont NC and we usually have some. Last year Monarchs and yellow swallow tails were frequent visitors. I don't have milkweed, but I do plant dill for the swallowtails and I do have a number of flowering annuals along 3 aged butterfly bushes. I have been wondering why too. Kinda worried that the mosquito sprayers might have an impact on beneficial insects, but I have no idea .. just me wondering. Hardly see any of the little moths too. Maybe its just an off year?
M in NC

Michelle said...

I have not had many butterflies this year. Sad, but true.

tpals said...

Lots of butterflies here in South Dakota. Even a few sulfurs which used to cover gravel roads like a yellow blanket but have been missing for years.

Linda said...

I'm hoping to have a large portion of my backyard look just like your B Garden!

Sheepmom said...

Your garden is awesome. I'm sure you have visitors you don't even see. I haven't seen many butterflies this year of any kind, also not nearly as many moths and not big ones. I suspect weather as much as anything. Late cold spring, a month of 'normal' then right into very hot and dry. I do have several hummingbirds and they are really using a good bit of syrup every day. You help where you can and your garden helps!

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

A few of my conservation friends and me have also also been wondering where all the butterflies are this year in northern Virginia. I did have 5-6 Swallowtails the other day "puddling" in the mud, so I made sure not to disturb them. Our meadow is really starting to bloom, so I'm hoping that and the Joy-Pye-Weed that they love will lure them in.

sophy0075 said...

Gosh, I haven’t seen many butterflies here in GA either.
Another reason to hate this dratted year!

The Odyssey Farm said...

Very few butterflies here too, and no monarchs yet. Your garden is beautiful though! I've also noticed a drastic reduction in wasp numbers. No idea if those observations are related.

Shelley said...

I let my whole front yard go to milkweed to entice the monarchs but aside from some chewed leaves and some possible eggs, I've seen no caterpillars , no butterflies and the milkweed is going to seed. Wondering if I should leave it just in case or cut it down.

Terry and Linda said...

I haven't seen many butterflies of any type here. Really kinda sad and scary

Cheryl West said...

Other than the bees (of all sizes) on the hydrangeas and poppies there are far fewer insects over all. No wasps nests or yellow jackets like we used to have every summer. Some flies but very scary when you think of how much insect life there used to be.

DianeOart said...

Beautiful flower garden :)
I do have milkweed and I didn't found any eggs either and the leaves are intact, I really don't know what's going on.

thecrazysheeplady said...

I'd leave them up for now. I'm not giving up yet. Besides, if you let it go to seed maybe you'll have some seeds for next year.

egeneh said...

Thank you for that peaceful garden interlude. I've just been absorbing my state primary election results, and I really needed this.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday I went outside to water after leaving the comment and ONE lovely yellow swallowtail was working on the zinnias! :). So my official count is one. dill in the front yard is long finished, but I have a little bit in the side yard , no flowers there. Have not seen any caterpillars.

M in NC

PV Janie said...

We haven't had many butterflies, either. I planted more flowers that were supposed to draw them, but not much luck. On the good side, I do think more people (like me) who weren't aware of the problem, are trying to do something. Butterflies are a delicate, gentle beauty that the world needs.

Far Side of Fifty said...

We had a number of Monarchs in our Milkweed and some larvae...more than some years...I keep hoping to see a chrystalis...but none were seen. Keep on hoping...they will come:)

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