Fall: The Magic of Monarch Butterflies

Monarch butterflies are one of the most majestic creatures on Earth. Since monarchs are not able to survive the cold winters of northern climates, they migrate south and west each autumn to escape to a warmer climate. Remarkably, some travel more than 2,500 miles to Mexico or Southern California to hibernate during the winter and return to their orignial habitat in spring. Individual butterflies do not complete the entire round trip. During the northward migration, female monarchs lay eggs for the next generation. There are usually five generations involved in the annual migration. 

In recent years, the number of monarchs migrating south has declined. This is due to a few different factors, including deterioration of the overwintering habitat in Mexico, bouts of severe weather, and elimination of the milkweed plant. When monarchs come back north, they lay their eggs on milkweed, which hatch within four to seven days. As they hatch, the caterpillars eat their shells and the milkweed, their only source of food. The caterpillars are protected from predators because the milkweed is toxic to them. After they form their own chrysalis, they hatch into an adults. Monarchs cannot survive without milkweed. 

Monarch Flyaway works to restore habitats and offers milkweed seeds to individuals and groups for bulk planting. Proactive and passionate people can create healthy monarch habitats anywhere. Milkweed pod collecting is also a great way to get involved with helping the monarchs. You can get involved with your local community and start a wild collection effort. Aside from helping the monarchs, milkweed is also used in bedding and in our anti-inflammatory product, Milkweed Balm.