Wisconsin Public Radio

Monarch Butterfly Population Could Increase

Numbers traveling from Mexico higher this year. Efforts to replenish habitat, reduce pesticide use needed.

By , Wisconsin Public Radio - May 28th, 2019 02:15 pm
Monarch butterfly . Photo courtesy of MMSD.

Monarch butterfly. Photo courtesy of MMSD.

Wisconsin residents could see more monarch butterflies than usual this year.

Barrett Klein, entomologist at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, said the number of monarch butterflies traveling from Mexico this year is unusually high compared to the last decade.

“Unusually high likely due to ecological and environmental conditions really conducive to them having a great time in Mexico. That may be short lived,” Klein said.

He said the monarch butterfly has been greatly effected in recent years by climate change and human impacts like pesticide use and agricultural practices.

“Pollution, habitat destruction, degradation in various ways that can exacerbate global climate change but also just local effects,” Klein said.

But Klein said efforts in Wisconsin and other states to replenish habitat and reduce pesticide use could help sustain a larger population.

He said websites like Journey North that track monarch butterflies migration and other citizen science projects help raise awareness about the danger facing pollinators like butterflies and bees.

“People getting out there photographing, tracking, identifying, tagging monarchs, that allows us to at least begin the process of assessing numbers and changing numbers over time,” Klein said.

Klein said he’s already seen a Monarch butterfly this year and a few other sightings have been reported across the state.

He said the main population should arrive before the end of May.

Listen to the WPR report here.

Wisconsin Expected To Host Increased Number Of Monarch Butterflies was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.

One thought on “Monarch Butterfly Population Could Increase”

  1. Thomas Gaudynski says:

    Saw a Monarch in our yard on Sunday May 26th. Only other butterflies have been Admirals or related Nymphalidae. Not much blooming here, and milkweed hasn’t poked its shoots out of the ground yet.

    I tried to interview the Monarch about it’s trip, but it flew away without comment.

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