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Fight For Zero

Florida Monarch Butterfly Population Decline

The Florida monarch butterfly population in North Central Florida has declined since 2005, according to research by the University of Florida.

Butterflies lay hundreds of eggs on milkweed over their lifespan, but just over 2 percents of eggs survive to become fully grown caterpillars. The decline could be due to shrinking milkweed populations. One issue is spraying milkweed populations with glyphosate, an herbicide often applied to agricultural fields to eliminate weeds. Milkweed is the monarchs' host plant. Less milkweed means less habitat for monarchs.

What's really needed are patches of native vegetation and nectar sources without pesticides. It's not just for monarchs but all pollinators.

Florida is an important stopover for monarchs and they rely on Florida for its abundance of milkweed and warm climate to lay the eggs that will help replenish the eastern population in the U.S.

Florida is home to about 21 native species of milkweed. Pesticide-free native milkweed populations in Florida yards and on roadsides is a step in the right direction to protect monarchs. Some of the recommended milkweed species are either Asclepias incarnata, also called swamp milkweed, or Asclepias tuberosa, commonly known as butterfly weed. Asclepias humistrata, or pinewoods milkweed, is also common throughout northern Florida.

Link: Read the full study 

1.  With gorgeous pink flowers, Swamp Milkweed is Monarch butterflies' favorite host plant.

2. Swamp Milkweed will produce clusters of beautiful pink flowers. The plants themselves grow to a mature height of about 36 to 60 inches tall. 

3. Buttery Milkweed, also knowns as "Butterfly Weed" will produce beautiful clusters of orange flowers.

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