Photos of urban monarch overwintering sites in California

Paul Cherubini cherubini at
Wed Jan 10 02:24:44 EST 2001

> Are these golf courses sprayed with insecticides at various times
> during the year?
Yes, but I have never seen any evidence of butterfly kills.
In the fall of 1997 Bobby Gendron tagged over 1000 monarchs
at the San Leandro Marina Golf Course overwintering site just
south of Oakland, Calif. Two of these tagged monarchs (females) were
seen alive the following spring; one observed laying eggs in
the Sierra Nevada foothills in late April and one caught in
Sebastopol, Calif in mid-May. These are among the longest lived
tagged monarchs ever recorded. A third monarch (a male) also
tagged at this golf course in the fall of '97 was recaptured freshly
killed by a cat in Cloverdale, Calif. during the first week of June,
1998. The is the longest lived tagged monarch ever recorded in 47
years of tagging well over one million monarchs around the USA
and Canada.
Thus we have direct evidence that monarchs overwintering
on golf courses in the San Francisco Bay Area live a normal lifespan.
With regard to pesticide use on Golf courses I searched a bit on
the Web and found out that at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course
on Cornell University they apply the following annual
pesticide treatments:
"The two most disrupting insects on a golf course are cut
worms in the greens and Japanes beetle grubs in the fairways.
We spray 1-2 times/year to help control these insect populations."
"Our greens are applied a fungicide about 4-7 times/year. The
tees are applied 2-4 times/year."
"Broadleaf weeds like clover and dandelions are sprayed in late fall.
 Until now, other weeds like crabgrass were never a threat. With the
 new irrigation system in place we may have to spray our fairways
for crabgrass in the spring."
Plant Growth Regulators:
"We have recently adopted a schedule of applying growth regulators
 to the fairways once aweek. These help reduce the amount of growth
allowing us to mow less frequently."
"We fertilize the entire golf course approximately once a week
with a Scott's water-soluble powder."
Radical environmentalists, of course, like to describe the pesticide
use on golf courses in horrifying Paul Ehrlich style terms. Example:
"If you scraped a golf green and tested it, you¹d have to cart it
 away to a hazardous-waste facility," says biologist Joseph
Okoniewski at
And Wildlife Magazines like Audubon (Sept./Oct. '93)
rattle off statistics that may mislead the public such as:
"A 1990 survey of Long Island golf courses by the Environmental
Protection Bureau of the New York Attorney General¹s Office
found that they applied some 21 different herbicides, 20 fungicides,
and 8 insecticides annually--a total of 50,000 pounds of active
ingredients--to maintain the high playing standards that today¹s
golfers have come to expect."
What I think Audubon should say is that "popular insecticides like
Dursban, Sevin and Diazinon are applied a couple times a
year at the rate of 1- 4 pounds of active ingredient diluted in
50 gallons or more of water and applied to each acre of turf. At
these extremely diluted application rates and bi-annual frequency
of application there is minimal impact on non-target insects and
other wildlife"
Paul Cherubini, Placerville, Calif.
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