The BBEMA Monarch Butterfly house is officially launched and to celebrate BBEMA staff were excited to witness the emerging today of our first adult Monarch from the chrysalis (commonly known as the cocoon – and we have lots more to hatch) – The Monarch House will promise to be a busy place over the coming next two months as we raise our caterpillars into adult Monarch butterflies that will then be tagged and released for tracking of their migration to the wintering grounds in Mexico — interested in learning more about our efforts to conserve these beautiful creatures or see a Monarch tagging demonstration up close please contact us at the BBEMA office 902-886-3211.
The Plight of the Monarch
Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) of North America are renowned for their long-distance seasonal migration and spectacular winter gatherings in Mexico and California. The monarch butterfly population has recently declined to dangerously low levels. In the 1990s, estimates of up to one billion monarchs made the epic flight each fall from the northern plains of the U.S. and Canada to sites in the Oyamel fir forests north of Mexico City, and more than one million monarchs overwintered in forested groves on the California Coast. Now in 2014 researchers and citizen scientists estimate that only about 33 million monarchs remain, representing more than a 90% drop across North America.
Monarch Waystations are places that provide resources necessary for monarchs to produce successive generations and sustain their migration. Without milkweeds throughout their spring and summer breeding areas in North America, monarchs would not be able to produce the successive generations that culminate in the migration each fall. Similarly, without nectar from flowers these fall migratory monarch butterflies would be unable to make their long journey to overwintering grounds in Mexico. The need for host plants for larvae and energy sources for adults applies to all monarch and butterfly populations around the world – next to BBEMA’s Monarch house BBEMA staff have worked hard to plant our own waystation providing quick and ready access too food and nectar sources for our tagged/released butterflies.