More on Monarchs

Since around 30 percent of the monarch habitat has been destroyed by development, conversion to row crops, and herbicide resistant crop systems, other things that may have been minor threats to the monarchs become more important.

Milkweeds that grow along the rows of corn or soybean crops would seem to be good sources of remaining habitat.  But are they really?   If the systemic insecticides added to seed coatings remain in the soil, do they become a part of the milkweed plant?  Do they discourage female monarchs from laying eggs?  Do the females lay eggs there anyway, but then do the insecticides kill the caterpillars?  I don’t know the answer–maybe someone needs to research the question.

Another possibly minor thing–if you have traveled Iowa lately, you have seen the huge wind farms that have grown up.


So the windmills are known to kill a few birds here and there.  I find it unlikely that they are directly killing monarchs.  But what they have been shown to do is locally modify the air temperatures around them.   Specifically, they even out the air temperature downwind from them.

When butterflies migrate, do they ride on little thermals resulting from uneven air temperatures?  And if so, what happens to those thermals when the air becomes more uniform in temperature?

Just questions…


About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
This entry was posted in butterflies, insects, monarch, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to More on Monarchs

  1. theresagreen says:

    We have an ever-growing array of wind turbines planted in the sea just off our coast here. They cause controversy and everyone seems to have different opinions but I recently learnt that they are providing a good new habitat for Scoter ducks as mussels are attaching to their undersea parts to create new beds. Winners and losers!

    • I don’t know that they do any harm. But they did show up in alarming numbers in a short period of time. It seems we spend a lot of time an money changing the way we generate electricity and very little time and effort trying to use less of it.

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