Saturday, October 22, 2016

Silver Lake butterfly fan does her part to save the Monarchs

Monarch Butterfly | Sandy Driscoll

Monarch butterfly | Sandy Driscoll

SILVER LAKE —  Sandy Driscoll  spent the last couple of weeks doing her part to increase the population of  Monarch butterflies, whose numbers have plunged so low that they might be declared an endangered species. She planted a couple of native milkweed plants – essential in creating a butterfly habitat – and then waited.  After seeing two generations of caterpillars, Driscoll’s patience paid off last week.

“I was rewarded this morning by seeing this stunning Monarch alight on the milkweed blossoms,” Driscoll said.

Driscoll says it easy to create a butterfly habitat and then observe the four stages of life: egg, caterpillar, chrysalis and finally butterfly.  Planting Milkweed is key to attracting and raising Monarchs.  “The only plant on which the Monarch lays her eggs and the only thing that the caterpillars eat are milkweed plants, so I bought a couple of them, hoping for the best,” said Driscoll, who purchased her plants at Sunset Nursery.

There are plenty of resources online that show how to raise Monarchs, including a five-part video series.

“I am so thrilled,” Driscoll said. “It’s quite easy and so very rewarding.”

Related Link:

Monarch Butterfly | Sandy Driscoll

Monarch butterfly | Sandy Driscoll

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  1. Are the monarch populations plummeting because the ‘white hipsters’ are moving in !!!!!!

    Sorry… whining about gentrification is an eastsider knee jerk for me !

    This is a great story – this is the iconic species from my childhood that I picture when someone says ‘butterfly’

    Go milkweed – sign me up!

  2. Sandy Driscoll, I think that you are the coolest lady!

    • Thanks, Laura! I’m having great fun doing this, and it all started because I bought a milkweed plant at Sunset Nursery. (They still have a lot in stock, btw) I really expected nothing, and was surprised at the first batch of caterpillars. So surprised, that I simply enjoyed watching them munch away on the milkweed, not realizing that only 3% survive the journey to butterflyland on their own. So we need to help them! Helping is fun and easy. Just watch the videos (link in the article) and go for it.

      Today, I had a brand new butterfly appear on the milkweed. Googling the description, it turns out to be a spectacular black and gold swallowtail with blue markings. I have no idea how he/she found my plant, but nature is amazing!

      • James Patrick Kelly

        We bought several milkweed plants from the Monarch website above.. After they started to get big we began to see a wide variety of insects populate them. Assassin bugs – bright orange and black were all over them, ladybugs (thank goodness!) and aphids. We also have had monarchs visit daily. We’ve seen but few caterpillars, alas, and they eat the plants around the milkweed as well (oh well!) but last night there was a monarch hanging about that may have been a recent hatchling as its flight pattern was not strong when compared to another visitor who flew in a much ore confident manner.

        Swallowtail caterpillars are usually found on the wild fennel that grows all over SoCal. They are also wonderful creatures that change shape and color as they go through their growth stages, from black and white to bright green, but all displaying orange horns when touched, stinky with the smell of the plant they’ve been eating.

        So much fun! We’ve been saving the milkweed seeds to give to friends and to scatter in wild places so they might naturalize.

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