Partnering to conserve the monarch butterfly migration

Question and Answer

Is foraging habitat for the adults more important than milkweed during the fall migration?

Milkweed is important throughout the growing season, since monarch larvae continue to develop on the host plants as the migration begins. However, nectar sources, or foraging habitat for adults during the fall (southbound) migration are extremely important. Adult monarchs that eclose starting around mid-August are in a state of delayed maturation called reproductive diapause. They focus on nectaring to fuel their migration rather than breeding and laying eggs on milkweed. For this reason, nectar sources are more important for adult monarchs during the fall migration. All monarch habitats should include a mix of local, native milkweed and nectar plants appropriate to your region. A variety of nectar plants should be planted so that your garden is blooming all season long. For information on creating habitat for monarchs visit www.plantmilkweed.org.

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