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More Monarchs | Los Angeles Times

January 19, 2022

[Posted by Chuck Almdale]

Monarch butterfly (Roxie Seider 10-29-16)

The L.A. Times seems to publish something on Monarch Butterflies every 3-4 months in their Saturday Section, and they’re always worthwhile reading. This one is largely about the annual census as seen from the eyes of one counter, with some additional comments from scientists.

To Glimpse a Butterfly or here
A day in the life of an L.A. Monarch counter, as he looks for the elusive endangered insects.
Los Angeles Times | Jeanette Marantos | 15 Jan 2022 | 8 minute read

It also has useful advice for you, the home butterfly & bird aficionado:

  • Plant Native Milkweed: Tropical milkweed supports parasites that affect the butterflies; native milkweed doesn’t.
  • Use Milkweed Plants Without Pesticides: I hope you aren’t shocked, shocked! to learn that pesticides on the plant surface or in the plant tissue have adverse effects on caterpillar and butterfly, such as: a) killing them, b) dead.
  • Browse Native Plant Nurseries: Where better to buy native plants?
  • Plant Nectar Producing Flowers: Only the caterpillars eat milkweed; adult butterflies (the ones with wings, fluttering around) feed on many other flowers, but not on milkweed.
  • Do Not Raise Monarchs: For some reason, they’re often diseased and will spread their disease to wild monarchs.

Link to Western Monarch Count website – They don’t have the Nov-Dec 2021 data posted yet (coming soon), but you might want to sign up for the 2022 counts, or just learn more.

Early results from Nov-Dec 2021 seem to indicate that the population rebounded from the horribly awful 2020 census counts. According to

“We’re well over 100,000 butterflies at this point,” said Emma Pelton, the Xerces Society’s senior endangered species conservation biologist and western monarch lead.

Data from over 200 monitoring sites show significantly greater numbers than last year. For example, more than 10,000 monarchs were counted at overwintering sites in Pacific Grove, Pismo Beach, and Big Sur. Last year, those three sites had less than 300 butterflies total. Similar trends are being reported from sites in Santa Cruz, Ventura, and Los Angeles. “We definitely haven’t seen an increase of this magnitude before,” Pelton said. The final numbers from the count overall are expected to be reported sometime in January.

Though this rebound gives cause for hope for the struggling monarch population, it does beg the question: How did it happen?

“That’s the question of the day,” Pelton said. “I would love to know.”

Monarch Butterfly (L. Plauzoles 10/28/12)
Painted Lady for comparison (Roxie Seider 10-29-16)
  1. Chris Tosdevin permalink
    January 19, 2022 4:21 pm

    Hi chuck FYI 1st photo on blog is of a painted lady butterfly.. not a monarch as labeled

    Best regards
    Chris Tosdevin Principal Hon AIA/LA
    bulthaup santa monica
    619 arizona avenue santa monica ca 90401

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Conley Day permalink
    January 19, 2022 2:45 pm

    Clarification— butterfly in first photo is not a monarch. The one on the second photo is in fact a monarch.

    Sorry, Connie

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

    • Chukar permalink*
      January 19, 2022 4:45 pm

      Fixed & relocated.
      Mislabeled since 2016.
      I should post more errors. Corrections poured in on that one.

      Liked by 1 person

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