Monarch outlook looks good this spring

Paul Cherubini monarch at
Wed Mar 19 09:16:49 EST 2003

The following was snipped from a notice Dr. Chip Taylor made 
public today:

3) Status of the Population - by Chip Taylor

For the first time in three years, the overwintering monarch
population has not experienced winter storms that severely reduced
the population. At the end of each of the last two winters, the
population moving north may have been the equivalent of two hectares
of butterflies or less, the lowest spring populations since
measurements of the colonies began in 1993. In each breeding season,
the population has bounced back. This year the number of butterflies
moving north is substantially higher. The overwintering population
measured 8 hectares and, without substantial mortality due to storms,
the population that moves north this spring could be higher than in
any spring since 1999 while ranking below numbers recorded in the
springs of 1996 and 1997. 

Spring Conditions

What floral and milkweed conditions will monarchs encounter as they
move into the United States? Droughts seem to play a large role in
the development of the monarch population in the summer months. A
glance at Drought Monitor
( shows that moisture
levels in Texas, the Gulf States and into the Northeast are normal or
above normal in nearly all areas. In other words, conditions look
favorable for reproduction for the first generation (now to May).


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