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This last week, I and the kids drove around looking for Blue Vine seed pods. Blue vine is a type of milkweed that climbs. I found some growing on a fence on some public property, and was able to clip some half opened pods, that still contained the wispy seeds of an aesculapius.

I didn't know there was such a plant. I thought I knew what all the different milkweeds were, I had no idea, that there were climbing, vining milkweeds. I waited until now to get the pods, because milkweeds like to be cold treated. Often you have to put the seeds in the freezer for a time, to raise germination rates. The Blue vine type milkweed is unusual in this area, because it's pods stay closed longer, while other milkweed pods dry out quicker and crack open, spilling their contents on the wind long before we see significant drops in temperature.

See the following pages: Blue Vine aka Cynanchum laeve aka Sand Vine by Monarch Watch See also Monarch Watch's interactive page of Milkweeds. Note you can order/buy varieties you want from these pages too.
Dave's Garden has a great page on Blue Vine with lots of information.
Missouri Dept of Conservation has a page dedicated to Blue Vine

A page from JSTOR, the Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society comparing Blue Vine with other Milkweeds, as a larval plant for Monarchs. Very interesting. The regular milkweeds have a higher survival rate for butterflies, but the larvae on Blue Vine develop faster, and are larger.

I confess that I love the green milkweed that grows in Oklahoma. It's a creeper, not a vine, and it has these lush, succulent flowers, that are lime green with maroon stripes. They look like some kind of prehistoric plant. I have tried many times to grow this variety of spider milkweed. No such luck. Some day I will be an expert at growing some kind of milkweed, but so far, today is not that day.

The milkweeds I have tried to move, don't transplant well at all. They just die of shock, and the seeds are stubborn too. I got all excited last year when some popped up wild on the far part of our property near some sumac. I haven't even had luck with store bought milkweed seeds. But I will try again this year with Aesculapius incarnata.

Here are instructional pages on growing milkweeds:
How to Grow Milkweed 1
How to Grow Milkweed 2
How to Grow Milkweed Seeds 3 + seed gathering techniques

That's the funny thing about gardening. You have to be willing to fail over and over before you get things right. Sometimes nature mocks you by throwing her bounty randomly all over the yard, or all over your neighbor's yard, while you struggle in vain to domesticate something that is prolific and yet hated in the wild.

When I was a child, milkweed grew everywhere. I can remember being fascinated by the milky sap that would ooze out when I picked the flowers. It was right up there with horned toads, and hog nosed snakes. It was ubiquitous way back when.

Not like now, where if I see a horny toad or a hog nosed snake, I feel as if I have won the lottery. Farmers hate milkweed. A lot of people who like a manicured lawn hate it too. Especially that green spider milkweed. They kill it with round up and other chemicals, because it pops up where it wants to, disinterested in humanity's desire for order in the field or on the lawn. They hate it because the seeds travel on the wind like dandelion seeds, going for miles to settle wherever the ordered mind wishes they wouldn't.

We have killed so much of the milkweed that Monarchs are left with nothing to lay their eggs on. Although I suspect what remains, what survives in some yards and agricultural areas, is likely tainted with neonicotinoids as well, killing the larva from within, with every bite it takes from contaminated plants, or the parent butterflies with every sip of nectar.

See this Position Statement on Neonicotinoids from the Butterfly Conservationists. Remember this nasty stuff is killing our bees as well, and lady bugs, and other beneficial insects AND birds, soil fawna, amphibians, water invertebrates (like dragon fly and damsel fly larvae) and more

America is getting more crowded, not less, and it is up to us to make sure we plant corridors for migratory species, which includes Monarch butterflies and limit the use of pesticides and herbicides, for our own sake as well as that of the wildlife. Way back when it wasn't unusual to see fields of flowers, varieties that bloomed in at least three seasons. Farmers and ranchers had windbreaks that were thick with blooming weeds. And this was long before your local power company started spraying glyphosphate on the right-of-ways, killing everything from the shoulder of the road to several feet back behind the power poles.

There are a multitude of stories that are out, about the decline of the migratory population of Monarch Butterflies. I don't expect much from the industrial agricultural centers of this country. So often we see the decline of iconic species in the world, often in other countries that we never visit, and it seems the only actions we can take feel very passive and the results far away. But this is right here in our collective backyard. This is an endangered species that you can directly, positively impact right here, right now.

This means that you--the individual home owner, and the guerrilla gardener have the power to create a patchwork of habitats all throughout the migratory corridors for monarch butterflies. And with that in mind, I intend to share what I know, to help those interested in accomplishing just that.

1. Most Americans know that Monarch Butterflies and Milkweed have a relationship. That Monarchs lay their eggs, exclusively on milkweed, and that their caterpillars eat the poisonous plant, making them taste bad to birds and other predators. This in part why Monarchs are brightly colored. It's to warn predators that these bugs are poison.

2. Most Americans know by now that Monarchs are in trouble. But perhaps they feel powerless to help them, because other than growing milkweed, what does one do? Check out what is happening in San Antonio Texas.

Well there are quite a few actions one can take, whether one has property or not. First lets look at the Monarch Migratory Maps. There are two maps: One that shows the direction of the migration from Mexico, and one that shows the direction of the migration back to Mexico. If you live on this route, or if you regularly see monarchs in your area, then the following instructions are for you.

Monarchs need Milkweed to lay their eggs on in the spring and summer, and they need safe places to roost, and water and other nectar sources to feed on until late fall. Here is a page about the Monarch Life Cycle.

That's the big thing--other nectar sources. Many people I have met, erroneously assume that Monarch butterflies only feed on milkweed, in addition to laying their eggs on it. But that's not true. Monarchs will sip nectar from a variety of sources, Milkweed is important for their egg laying, but it only blooms during a certain part of the season, so that means it is not a constant a source of nectar throughout the spring, summer and fall.

Many people also do not understand that the stands of milkweed available really needs to be left undisturbed all year round, especially if you live in the deep South. Butterflies in Southern Texas hatch throughout the year, in spite of ice storms according to some enthusiasts. That means even when it's not blooming. So that if there are eggs on that milkweed, they have time to hatch, and the resultant caterpillars have time to grow to maturity.

And remember, there was a time when there were hectares of milkweed growing wild all over the place. Why are the monarchs declining in numbers?  Part of that is that one or two or even 10 milkweed plants aren't enough. We need lots of milkweed for egg laying and larval development, and we need lots of other flowers as nectar sources. Last year's arrival of Monarchs in Mexico was very small and very late. We used to blame fluctuations in the population on illegal logging in the Mexican Monarch sanctuaries, but now we know that it may be more about Round-Ready crops here in the states and in Canada. Between manicured lawns, sterile and uninteresting, and the monocrops in big ag, there is no home, and no nursery for these creatures.
To give you an idea, here is a link to a slideshow of monarch butterflies in Mexico at a roosting site in Oyamel forest.

I have seen trees with 50 or 60 monarchs on them and thought it was a big deal. I have counted a couple hundred in a field at one time, and thought wow, this is what heaven looks like. But I still cannot wrap my mind around what it must be like to stand in the midst of millions of butterflies covering huge trees, like a thick orange and black coat.
See the main page here for Amazing Monarchs.

Many Monarch enthusiasts encourage people to use potted milkweed plants. And then bring them into a covered porch, to let the eggs hatch and the caterpillars mature. This keeps the caterpillars from being preyed upon by wasps, spiders, and even some birds. See link for instructions.

Other people cut wild milkweed, and keep them in clean plastic tubs to raise the caterpillars.

I have also seen people place fine mesh netting over wild milkweed or potted milkweed plants outside, to protect the eggs and caterpillars from predation.

Maybe you don't have time to do all of that. Even if you only provide a puddling dish and a patch of flowers, well hell, that is something. Mother Nature will take what she can get.

So in addition to going pesticide free, here are some of the easiest flowers to grow for monarchs, in addition to the aforementioned milkweeds. I am providing links to favorite seed sources, and varieties.

1. Sunflowers

2. Mexican Sunflower: Tithonia; Aztec Sun and The Torch

3. Asters And especially New England Asters.

4. Goldenrod

5. Maximillian Sunflower

6. Zinnias: Flower Gift And kind of zinnia will do.

7. Cosmos (these are super easy to grow!)

8. Joe Pye Weed

See also Botanical Interests

Maybe you don't have property to plant your flowers on. Then consider guerrilla gardening. And that includes the use of seed bombs or seed balls.

The monarchs are in steep decline, our pollinators are all in trouble, and so this requires immediate non-violent action. Plant your seeds kiddies!

Check this page out for instructions on various kinds of seed delivery devices. I am not crazy about the balloon delivery method because it's littering and dangerous for wildlife, but the rest of the ideas are pretty snazzy.

Pick out abandoned lots and fields. The cheapest seeds in the US can be found at places like Dollar Stores, Dollar General, Big Lots etc., Pick varieties listed about and make a mess. Your kids will love it! It's all very subversive and yet harmless. And now is the time to do it. Make your seed balls, and then release them into the feral lands of urban sprawl and road side spots, so that the cold and rain and sun can do their work, helping those seeds germinate without the need for coddling from you or anyone else.

The Center for Food Safety provides an FAQ sheet on helping the Monarchs as well.   You can print this up and share it with friends to help get the ball rolling in the correct direction. And you can print this additional FAQ sheet up, which is a list of all the Neonicotinoid products for sale OTC (over the counter) for US Residents. Avoid these products, and save the Monarchs, the Bees, the Birds, the Earthworms and Humans too.

You can help the Monarch right now. It's cheap and easy and within reach. I have 2 flats of seeds right now, germinating. One of wild, green milkweed seeds, and another of store-bought incarnata seeds. I intend to make another flat with blue vine.

Tue Feb 18, 2014 at  8:07 AM PT: Here is a link to a Kossack who raises Monarchs.

Raising Monarch Butterflies by Dr Ferbie

http://www.dailykos.com/...

Wed Feb 19, 2014 at  5:26 AM PT: Just looking at the map on this fracking piece from Texas and it makes me wonder how the air pollution affects the monarch migration through these areas. Do the monarchs just drop dead or what when they hit these highly polluted areas?

http://stories.weather.com/...


Is this a major chemical hurdle that prevents many migrating butterflies from getting back to Mexico, or perhaps even killing the butterflies before they make it past parts of Texas. Compare the maps in the beginning of this diary--the migratory maps, with the fracking maps at the link provided above. If the air pollution is so thick that it burns the lungs of humans, and kills pets and livestock, what might this magnitude of pollution do to insects? I know that like the honey bee colony collapse disorder, some will say--there are multitude of factors, therefore no one place to lay the blame. But I don't buy that. That just means there are a multiple problems that require solutions or at least mitigating actions to reduce their adverse affects.

You can also listen to this Science Friday piece on the Monarch Migrations and life cycles.

Check this video out: An experienced Monarch Enthusiast shows us how to fix broken butterfly wings.
I never knew such a thing was possible.

Originally posted to GreenMother on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:11 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (38+ / 0-)

    "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

    by GreenMother on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:11:25 AM PST

  •  You have me convinced. I'm a gonna plant me (6+ / 0-)

    some milkweed. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Rivers are horses and kayaks are their saddles

    by River Rover on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 08:13:44 AM PST

  •  Vining milkweeds? Kewl. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreenMother, LIcenter

    I love the smell of milkweed flowers. I was planning on trying to get some growing, but I've abandoned the idea for a variety of reasons, chiefly the fact that milkweed is actually doing very well locally. That, and I'm still in the "fail, fail again" stage.

    I appreciate that list of other plants monarchs use. And geurilla gardening is just my speed.  :)

    One good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain -Bob Marley

    by Darwinian Detritus on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 08:28:49 AM PST

  •  Until recently, I didn't know there were non-vine (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreenMother, YucatanMan, LIcenter

    ones.  I'm forever having to rip up the vines that are growing up through my raspberry patch and tying all of my canes together.

    The ones that grow up along the back fence I'm fine with, but I'd rather not have them among my raspberries.

    •  You can always share your seeds with people (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YucatanMan, ichibon, LIcenter

      who want them. Get rid of what you don't want and share it with people who do.

      I don't want them in my vegetable garden, but I have no problems putting them on my fence line

      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 09:10:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The ones I rip out, I generally do so long before (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GreenMother, LIcenter

        the seed pods form.  I have been looking at some of the non-vine form ones lately in seed catalogues, because they seem more attractive to my eyes.

        •  If they are small, perhaps the vines transplant (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LIcenter

          easier than the spider milkweed. Then you can put them in little pots and give them to butterfly enthusiasts. In fact I bet if you talk to someone at a Butterfly Conservation group in your area, they might come and help you dig these vines.

          "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

          by GreenMother on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 10:13:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for writing this. The decline of the (10+ / 0-)

    Monarch population may lead to yet another wondrous feature of nature disappearing: the mass migration to Mexico's high forests.

    I wish there was more we could do about the forests in Mexico being cut down, but at least we can plant milkweed at home to help counteract RoundUp monocrop culture and neonicotinoid poisons. If we could get public parks to include varieties of milkweed in their plantings, even better.

    "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

    by YucatanMan on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 09:21:25 AM PST

    •  People in Mexico are fighting this, we also have (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YucatanMan, ichibon, LIcenter, JayDean

      to our part in the U.S. and Canada.

      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 10:12:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Several years ago... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LIcenter, GreenMother

      ...I saw an article in the Washington Post headlined, "Mexico Seeks to Restore Monarchs".  It was about the butterflies, but since I've long had a fascination with royalty my first thought was they wanted to put a descendant of Emperor Maximillian on a new Mexican throne.  Of course, the fact that the article was on the Nature page probably should have been a clue:)  I have to confess I clicked on this diary simply titled "Monarchs" thinking it would be about royalty also - oh well.

    •  The big problem is NOT in Mexico! (8+ / 0-)

      The big problem is in our own Midwest states. I am 65 years old. I live in Maryland now, but I spent the first 21 years of my life in central Illinois, with numerous relatives in Iowa.  Essentially all migratory Monarchs migrate through the Midwest. When I was growing up, the Monarch migration was one of the most impressive annual events, as it was until relatively recent years.

      In the Midwest of my youth, most farmers ran hogs in their corn fields after harvesting the corn, with the hogs gleaning the fairly numerous remains of an imperfect harvesting process. Because hogs were allowed access to the corn fields after harvesting, fences were necessary, and along every fence line, there were milkweed plants growing in abundance.  In that Midwest of my youth, a Monarch butterfly could literally not have flown a mile in most rural areas without being in the immediate vicinity of a milkweed plant.

      In the Midwest of my youth, I worked for my farmer uncle every summer, chopping thistles and corn out of his soybeans. That was necessary because there was no Roundup-Ready ANYTHING. Now, there is seemingly Roundup-Ready EVERYTHING.  And there have been costs -- severe costs. Hogs are now overwhelmingly kept indoors in Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) for their entire lives, so there is no longer a need for many fence lines. Everything is sprayed with Roundup, killing every living plant except Roundup-Ready crops. A Monarch butterfly could now fly for dozens or even hundreds of miles through most of the rural Midwest without ever being near a milkweed plant.

      I saw it coming several decades ago, when I went back to the Midwest during pheasant hunting season, and asked my farmer uncle if it was OK if I did some pheasant hunting.  He replied that he had seen exactly one pheasant in the previous two years -- this on a farm where it was easily possible to get your limit on pheasants before lunchtime when I was growing up.

      I hope we can save the Monarchs, but I very much fear they will be our generation's Passenger Pigeons or Carolina Parakeets -- a once very common species that we have driven into extinction. Monarchs need to find a mate on their migration north, and then the female needs to find a milkweed plant on which to lay her eggs before she dies. As migratory Monarch numbers decline, and as milkweed plants become more isolated, both of these become much less likely. If migratory Monarchs do become extinct, I hope it will prompt us to seriously think about what we are doing to the only Earth that we have.

      Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

      by leevank on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 11:05:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Between roundup killing the milkweed (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        leevank

        in GMO crops of Corn and Soy, and Neonicotinoids on the treated seed, that pretty much covers the killing of everything.

        Neonicotinoids kill the birds too, most of them eat the treated seed. However I am waiting for the head scratchers to figure out that this is also what is behind the decline in humming birds, because they are tiny insectivores that feed on nectar like wasps, and bees.

        Thank you for posting.

        You should write a diary about this, I would not only read it, I would link to it.

        "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

        by GreenMother on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 05:16:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Play List for Subversive Gardeners everywhere (5+ / 0-)

    1. Talking Heads, All Covered With Flowers.

    2. Joni Mitchell: Big Yellow Taxi (Paved Paradise)

    4. Bjork: Solstice

    3.Yes, Heart of the Sunrise

    5. The Who: Love Reign Over Me.

    6.Herbie Hancock Butterfly feat

    7. Imogen Heap: Propeller Seeds

    8. RHCP: Give it Away, the song that to me represents the masculine fertilizing principle. ;)

    Okay so I know some folks out there have some awesome play list picks of their own--Share!

    "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

    by GreenMother on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 10:09:15 AM PST

  •  Deprived of milkweed, the sad chrysalides sing, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreenMother, high uintas, LIcenter

    "And we'll never be MOOOOOOOON-AAAARCHS!"

  •  We can all do our part. (4+ / 0-)

    I used to see monarchs laying eggs by the end of June up here in Northern Michigan.  The past couple of years have seen fewer and fewer.  Adult Monarchs in the summer are pretty territorial and on a some occasions have seen one chase away competitors.  So, the extent as well as species of plantings makes a difference to the population.

    Monarchs like the swamp milkweed which I have been getting established down by a pond on our property besides the common milkweed we have in the fields.  I have a nice patch of that now and also enjoy seeing lots of swamp milkweed along river bottoms here.

    Part of the problem has been Spotted Knapweed which has taken over fields and crowds out grasses and plants like milkweed.  I just take along a spray bottle of herbicide to blast those buggers when I hike the property.  I know, it will take a while, but every bit of land I can reclaim for native species helps.

    February is a great time to broadcast native seed, especially on snow.  On a sunny day the seed will warm enough to get below the surface and escape birds but be well above the mice.  And the freeze/thaw in spring will stratify the seed.

    •  Consider getting a weed popper (3+ / 0-)

      The Herbicide kills the milkweed too. It seems to be particularly sensitive to it.  Or another too, a flame weeder.

      For those who don't know what Spotted Knapweed is, Here is a link to a page:
      http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/...

      Spotted Knapweed is phytotoxic to other plants, that's how it reduces competition. http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/...

      The page above also lists certain biological controls for this plant as well.

      Also Vinegar can be used as a selective herbicide as well.

      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 11:29:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oops--the Weed Popper (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      high uintas, LIcenter

      http://www.gardenweasel.com/...

      I use these to pull up goat head stickers or what some folks call Sand Burs.

      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 11:30:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Scope and Action (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GreenMother, high uintas, LIcenter, KenBee

        Doing a weed popper on 40 acres is pretty much a no-go.  I can do more spot applications per hour.  There is a big difference between a backyard and dealing with a larger area of mixed woods and fields.

        I have tried similar gadgets and they do not get all of the Spotted Knapweed roots which are fragile.  And, Spotted Knapweed exudes an allelopathic toxin into the soil that kills or stunts the growth of plants around it.  So, there usually are no plants nearby that will be damaged by spot application.

        The other way to apply herbicide to Spotted Knapweed while hiking is to wait until they start a flower spike.  Wear rubber gloves and a pair of cotton gloves over them.  Then with a pail of diluted herbicide in a sponge, one can get the cotton gloves wet and give a deathly caress to each one of those nasty plants.

        Restoration is a bitch and I will not see the results.

        •  Well do your best. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          high uintas, LIcenter, KenBee

          The poison sounds a lot like what is exuded by Rue, Wormwood, Pecans and Walnut trees.

          Honestly I think you could do a whole diary about this if you wanted to, and I would read it.

          I haven't dealt with Knap Weed. We get to contend with sand burs, fire ants, daturas and spurge.

          Do goats eat Knap Weed?

          "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

          by GreenMother on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 01:29:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I have raised Monarch for over ten years now (6+ / 0-)

    and I never get tired of it.  Last year was awful though. Not only was the population way down, but my common milkweed, swamp milkweed and very small plot of whorled milkweed were all attacked by what I finally identified as milkweed weavils.  After contacting many sources, it looks as though they will be hard to control. At the end of the season, I planted more milkweed in new soil areas and have my fingers crossed for this year.  In my investigations, I read that the weevils don't bother with the vining milkweed, so I have been trying to find sources of seeds.

    So THANK you for this article!

    Lovers of Monarchs are going to have to be very very active if we are going to counter the population destruction that is occuring in this country.

    •  2 reccomendations (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      high uintas, LIcenter, KenBee

      1. Find out if there is a trap crop you can plant other than milkweed.

      2. Do like squash bugs and try and control them physically. With vacuum cleaners (shop vacs), buckets of soapy water, and picking/sucking them off manually.

      Also do chickens eat those weevils? If so, you may be able to pick them off and feed them to birds.

      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 01:27:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They crawl up from the soil overnight (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GreenMother, high uintas, LIcenter, KenBee

        chew a ring of holes around the main stem and then fall back down and hide before sunup.

        Very hard to catch, although I was able to get 3 or 4 of them for ID purposes.

        They apparently are like cotton boll weevils and there is some pheromone traps used for them, but you can't get them for milkweed weevils.  I think their appearance here has something to do with global warming.  The only thing ag people from the universities could suggest had to do with soil treatments that could harm the milkweed too.

        I put one plant in a big pot last year and that on escaped the weevils, so I'm going to have to get creative.

    •  I found this--you might already know, but (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      high uintas, LIcenter, KenBee

      just in case:
      https://www.ars.usda.gov/...
      There are lures that can be used to trap these weevils!
      See link above. Note contact information at the bottom.

      For those who don't know what  a Milkweed Weevil looks like:
      http://bugguide.net/...

      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 01:46:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I contacted two of the scientists (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GreenMother

        in this group and they didn't respond. Apparently these traps are not marketed to the public.  One scientist at a local university said that they also might have the effect of luring more weevils into my yard.

        •  Hmm, well I understand that. Some wasp traps (0+ / 0-)

          are like that.  Well it sounds like they are trying to come up with something, may that time be soon!

          Good luck.

          "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

          by GreenMother on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 06:36:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  hotlisted so I can find it (6+ / 0-)

    to try some of these ideas. I miss these beautiful creatures ... this is the only one I remember seeing last year

    "If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused." Walter Mondale

    by klompendanser on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 06:33:06 PM PST

  •  I found an article on Huff Post that (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreenMother, Carole Jordan, LIcenter

    notes the following:

    On February 19, Mexican President Enrique Pena-Nieto, US President Barack Obama and Canadian Premier Stephen Harper are meeting in Toluca, Mexico to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The following is an appeal from 150 prominent scientists and intellectuals to the three leaders asking them to take urgent measures to stem the collapsing population of Monarch butterflies that migrate annually across North America.
    Link:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

    Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring and integrity, they think of you. H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

    by Ellen Columbo on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:58:10 PM PST

    •  Thanks Ellen, I cannot imagine if Monarchs were (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ellen Columbo, LIcenter, riverlover

      only on cards or stamps or computer animation.

      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 08:08:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I just wish I lived in their flight pattern. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LIcenter, GreenMother

        Unfortunately, I live in Oregon so am unable to help in trying to save their habitat. I so admire your devotion to their plight and wish you great success.

        Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring and integrity, they think of you. H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

        by Ellen Columbo on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 08:34:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You can help. (0+ / 0-)

          Don't buy ethonal gasoline, and if you buy corn or soy products, buy non-gmos, buy organic.

          That would help tremendously.

          "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

          by GreenMother on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 05:17:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  GreenMother, you repesent the best in us. (3+ / 0-)

    In a couple hours, I will be standing in the rain and wind holding up a sign as BAYER rolls into town with their "Bayer Bee Care Tour".

    They represent the worst in us.

    We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

    by occupystephanie on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 06:45:30 AM PST

    •  You know that is a big compliment (2+ / 0-)

      I will endeavor to live up to it. I am only putting a diary up, you are out there in the world challenging the people directly.

      Pat yourself on the back, I am sure I am not the only one who wishes they could pat you on the back themselves!

      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 08:05:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for the Gardening Tips. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreenMother

    In November I posted a diary on Raising Monarch Butterflies but I basically skipped over milkweed and nectar plant gardening.  Well done and thanks again!

    Member of The Lost Tribe, Democrats in Utah

    by DrFerbie on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:24:10 AM PST

    •  I am going to put that link in the update (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DrFerbie

      That way people can find it easier.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Any ideas on the weevil situation? Part of the thread there is a person that has troubles with an invasive species of weevil that is killing the wild milkweed in his area.

      Maybe as a long time monarch person, you know something, we should :)

      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 08:06:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fortunately... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GreenMother

        Our "wild type" milkweed has not been infested so I know nothing of this.  My wife is the master gardener and was thrilled to get the info on the blue vine and immediately ordered a plant yesterday.

        Member of The Lost Tribe, Democrats in Utah

        by DrFerbie on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 08:22:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It can be invasive, so when it makes pods, control (0+ / 0-)

          it by removing the pods, and drying them out. Then you can share the seeds you don't use with other enthusiasts.

          "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

          by GreenMother on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 08:31:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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