Have you seen a Monarch butterfly this year? The only ones I’ve seen are the special effects ones on the sci-fi series “Under the Dome.” I first noticed their decline about 10 years ago at the cottage. A teacher who collected the caterpillars for her kindergarten class in a poor area of Toronto noticed the beauties were starting to vanish.
This year they are gone entirely. There are several reasons for this.
The drought and high temperatures in Texas last year and the cold, wet summer this year have prevented the butterflies from reproducing. Only 60 million butterflies wintered in Mexico this past winter, compared to 350 million in the 1990s.
In the 90s, GMO corn began to appear. It isn’t the herbicide resistant corn itself that destroys the butterflies, but the destruction of the milkweed growing in the fields according to Realclearscience. Milkweed reduces the farmers’ yield and it also is poisonous to cattle.
The Monarch caterpillar eats milkweed exclusively. We can help increase their habitat by planting milkweed in our parks and gardens. But there’s a catch. Milkweed is listed on the noxious weed list for Ontario. Like scotch thistles and hogweed, they must be removed and not grown. The Region of Waterloo weed inspector won’t make people remove milkweed but it is on the list.
I’ve asked several times at Regional Council, for council to send a letter to the Ontario government to remove milkweed from the list but the rural mayors object.
To save the Monarchs, milkweed MUST be removed from the noxious weeds list. Farmers are still going to weed their fields with herbicide but the Monarch is dying out if we don’t do something.
Write to you local Member of Provincial Parliament to have milkweed removed from the noxious weed list. It’s the least we can do to save these beautiful butterflies.