Monarch Butterflies is a vital part of our ecosystem. They are beautiful and plentiful, with over seven hundred species reported. Yet, they face many threats on a daily basis from diseases, pesticides, and the accidental destruction of their hives by farmers and homeowners. Here, we will explore why you should care about the Monarch Butterfly.
Every year, migratory monarchs make a long journey south for the winter. In the past, they have been wintering along the Mexican-American border. This gives them a good example of how a butterfly can survive even in the coldest months of the year.
A study conducted by scientists in the United States found that the Monarch butterfly does in fact have a “Compass” that they use to navigate. The magnetic compass helps them navigate long distances while avoiding predators. North American monarchs roost at the eastern tip of Mexico’s Pacific Coast. As the warm weather approaches, you can expect the Monarch Butterflies to migrate north to their long-known winter migratory sites.
When Monarch Butterflies begins to migrate, they may first notice a difference in temperature. For many of them, that is due to changes in the season’s temperature. If you find that your temperature consistently fluctuates in the warm months, it may be because you’re experiencing either a lack of cloud cover over your area or that you are experiencing a lack of sunlight. To determine whether there are any local storms brewing where you are located, it is best to monitor the weather online. It is important to note that monarchs may not actually migrate during stormy weather, but it is possible that they may come to the new location just before or after a storm has passed.
When searching for information on migrating Monarch Butterflies, you will likely come across articles and stories describing them as ‘flying squirrels’. These stories are partially true. Although most monarchs may not fly, they do move around a bit. A true flightless insect, the Monarch Butterfly does spend some of its time migrating to and from its overwintering sites. In the process, they may eat mosquitoes and other pests in the area, as well as dust and other environmental debris.
As the monarch gets closer to their final destination, they change color from green to yellow and then red. As they move toward the warmer seasons, they will acquire longer wings and will begin to fly in the late summer through early fall. You may have heard that the Monarch Butterflies primarily feeds on milkweed plants, but the Monarchs do in fact eat a variety of other things on their long journey. Just to give you an idea of what some of the other things they might eat along the way, here’s a list of some of the more interesting foods the western monarchs may eat.
– Red Road Spider. This is a medium sized huntsman spider, which can be found in both urban and rural areas. It is found in the southern mountains of Mexico and Central America. Its bites can cause severe itching and inflammation of the skin. The Red Road Spider is most active during the nights of the cool season, approximately June and July through August. Although it’s a fairly common pest, it is not very active in populated areas; therefore, is rarely seen in the western United States.
– Jaramillo-L Peeze. This is a small brown pheasant-like bug, which will jump on people or pets. They are most active in late summer and early fall. It’s a common pest to see around homes, particularly in the garage and under the deck. The Jaramillo-L has a “sneak attack” technique which involves launching a few inches above the ground and then landing hard so it can sting repeatedly.