Monarch Butterflies Visiting Our Eastern Shore Meadows

monarch butterfly on salvia spikes

Not only are monarch butterflies beautiful in their recognizable orange, black and white markings but they are quite remarkable creatures. Here are a few fun facts we, at the Honey House, thought you might enjoy!

Monarch butterflies are the only butterfly to make a two way migration like birds. Monarchs cannot survive the cold winter months in the north. In October they begin to make their way south and can travel up to 3000 miles! Around the middle of March you can see these beautiful insects making their way back north!

The orange color on the wings of monarch butterflies is a source of protection. The orange color is a warning sign to predators that they either taste bad or are toxic to eat. This doesn’t always stop predators, although birds and other felons will be sure to not eat a monarch after they learn how bad they taste.

Looking back on the summer and the ecology of the farm. This monarch butterfly visited yellow cup flowers planted near the back of the farm house.

How to Help the Monarchs

If you have the room in your yard, you can plant a butterfly garden to provide a source of food for monarchs and other pollinators. Grown monarchs take nectar from many plants, like zinnias, coneflowers, cosmos, asters, and bee balm. The caterpillars only feast on milkweeds-these are often found in swamps, meadows, and by country roadsides, but are beautiful in your landscape. Depending on the variety you plant, milkweed can produce mauve, white, orange, red, or yellow blooms that are fragrant and vibrant. Plant a mix of these for a beautiful garden with blossoms that last from spring to frost!

Eastern Shore wildflowers give a source of food to the wildlife on the farm. A huge patch of milkweed on the farm from the summer of 2017.

These butterflies detect, locate and taste their food quite differently than most insects. Monarchs use their eyes to see a flower, they use their antennas to smell the sweetness of the nectar and lastly they use their feet to taste.

Next time you see one of these gorgeous creatures flying around your back yard while you sit out drinking some lemonade this summer, think about all of the places and things that little guy has seen.

About the Author

Kara Brook

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