VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The monarch butterfly population has dropped by nearly 90 percent in the last 20 years.
Not only are we seeing less of the beautiful insects, but butterflies -- like bees -- are pollinators, so they do a lot of good for all of us.
But the population is getting a little boost from Thoroughgood Drive in Virginia Beach. That’s where neighbors Beth Robinson and Nicole Goossens are harvesting hundreds of the species.
“A year ago my husband gave me a present of two caterpillars and a milkweed bush,” said Robinson.
“I have more monarch butterflies than any other butterfly in my yard,” said Goossens. “So that’s a statement of success.”
The monarch butterfly is close to being placed on the endangered species list. It’s mainly because of pesticides used to kill milkweed, the caterpillars’ favorite food.
A lot of people treat the plants like everyday weeds and spray them to get rid of them.
If you want to harvest butterflies at home, Goossens and Robinson recommend doing your research first at MonarchWatch.org.
You don’t need a lot of equipment either. The two recommend London Bridge Greenhouses & Nursery in Virginia Beach, but you can go to any nursery in your area. Just make sure you know what you’re getting; that means no pesticides!