FALLBROOK – Wings of Change, a nonprofit committed to creating ecological landscapes to support butterflies, reminds residents that another wave of monarch butterflies is mating right now here in San Diego County, so it's a good idea to keep their gardens full of milkweed which is vital in the next 60 days.
Monarchs can be expected in parts of the country with more sun starting in November or later. Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on milkweeds. If they can't find any, they will lay the eggs on whatever tidbits they can find. This includes stems of chopped-down plants. That larva won't survive. Planting more milkweed is the solution to ensuring there is enough for butterflies.
Cutting back milkweed does not prevent diseases that butterflies may carry on their bodies. Removing host plants only eliminates a natural survival rate in the late season and does not effectively prevent diseases. Therefore, it is not advised to cut down milkweed unless it is no longer alive. The solution is to have enough milkweed, and plant more.
Monarch butterflies can spread OE spores through ingestion as caterpillars or during copulation as adults. They also spread the spores when they lay eggs, which can either concentrate or spread them out even further.
Egg bombing, which occurs when monarchs lay a large number of eggs in one area, can lead to lower disease rates and fewer deformed adults if there is plenty of milkweed available. Removing plants as a method of curing the disease is not effective since the parasite's origin is outside of this area in tropical regions like Florida and Mexico.
Submitted by Wings of Change.