Where have the butterflies gone?

Swallowtail butterfly caterpillar in parsley. Photo by Jody Green

Swallowtail butterfly caterpillar in parsley. Photo by Jody Green, Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County.

As I drove home yesterday, a monarch butterfly flew very near my truck! I was relieved to have missed it (or it missed me!) Unlike other years, I just haven’t encountered a lot of butterflies in my pollinator garden at home or on the road.

Are you seeing butterflies and moths? Are you also wondering where the butterflies have gone? I’ve gotten several calls from people who grow host plants in their landscapes specifically for butterflies. Some call me every year to report what they are seeing. But, like my own garden, people are reporting very few butterflies or caterpillars.

An article was just posted in University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s UNL Today – Researcher sees end to ‘summer of no butterflies’. Here’s an excerpt from the article featuring Steve Spomer, a research technologist in the Department of Entomology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln:

“I’m calling this the summer of no butterflies,” said Spomer, a research technologist in the Department of Entomology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “It started out really strong in the spring, then the butterflies disappeared. It is easily one of the worst seasons I’ve ever experienced in terms of finding butterflies.

But there is hope ….

The impact of those factors will most likely be short lived as butterflies produce multiple broods from spring to late summer. And, from recent forays into the field, Spomer is seeing signs that the population will most likely rebound in the coming weeks.

Be sure to read the entire article, Researcher sees end to ‘summer of no butterflies’. In it, Steve Spomer explains what may have happened to our earlier hatches of caterpillars and any chrysalises.

I’ve started seeing people posting photos of butterfly caterpillars they are finding around their homes. That’s good news! I’m still waiting for any signs in my garden. I’ve got plenty of dill and milkweed for the butterfly larvae and nectar plants for the adults! Keeping my fingers crossed!

Here’s to Sharing the Buzz!

Soni

Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere – http://lancaster.unl.edu

Advertisements

About Soni Cochran

Mother, Wife, Grandma! I am an extension associate with the Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County. I work with urban pests and wildlife, youth programs and manage the office web site at http://lancaster.unl.edu. My degree is in education and I taught in rural public schools in Nebraska before coming to Nebraska Extension - UNL. I am Deputy Commander of the 155th Composite Squadron Civil Air Patrol in Lincoln - my focus is on public affairs, disaster relief and emergency services. Great organization of adults/teens serving this nation. Love my family, jobs, and sharing my love of nature and the outdoors with anyone who will listen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s