I’ll cut right to the chase. What’s wrong is that this monarch butterfly photo was taken last year. Why? Because this year, I have seen just two of them. TWO!
I read a story in our local paper about this lack of monarchs being “normal,” since populations rise and fall. I get that. But in the many decades I have lived on this planet, I don’t ever remember seeing so few.
Something’s up, people. Bees birds and butterflies are declining, all for various specific reasons, most of which can be traced back to toxic chemicals.
So I open my newest “Fine Gardening” magazine and what do I see? An article entitled “Setting the record straight on glyphosate.” The author, Jeff Gillman, writes that this chemical, commonly known as “Roundup” is “really not as harmful as we might think.”
Well, I beg to differ. While glyphosate, if used sparingly by intelligent people who actually read the directions, may not be that bad, the problem is that NO ONE EVER uses it sparingly.
I have seen Department of Transportation crews drenching knotweed with it from a large truck, with the wind blowing the spray in all directions. I have seen my in-laws’ neighbor spray his ENTIRE back yard with it “because there were weeds there.” And who hasn’t seen a homeowner out in shorts and sandals spraying the heck out of the weeds that have the temerity to grow in the cracks in his driveway?
I am not even going to get into the whole Monsanto thing, how the company bullies and sues and muscles its way around the world, engineering plants that are “Roundup ready” so farmers can spray the crap out of a field and the Roundup ready plants will survive. How sick is that?
I also found the editor’s letter in Fine Gardening rather limp. Steve Aitken lists the many things that most of us hate about glyphosate, and then writes that he believes the article to be “even-handed.” I am sure the marketing people at Monsanto thought it was, too.
I am still waiting to see my third monarch butterfly.
I haven’t seen one single monarch this year. NOT ONE! And I spend a lot of time outdoors. I agree that something must be wrong. And no one will ever convince me that spraying chemicals is okay.
I agree that sometimes we have to trust our guts. And mine is telling me something’s up for sure.
I’ve seen a few down my way. My parsley plant was covered with monarch caterpillars, but as far as I could tell only one of them made it to the chrysalis stage. I even put in some extra parsley for them. We’ve seen fewer butterflies this year. Last year there was an enormous population of all kinds.
As for the chemicals? What’s wrong with bending over and plucking up a weed? Mow them before they go to seed. It’s cheaper, better for you, and safer for the environment. Another benefit? Some of those “weeds” turn into fantastic plants. Just this week I discovered that three big “weeds” on my property are actually wild poinsettia, “Fire on the Mountain.”
As for Monsanto? They’re the devil, plain and simple.
Yay CJ! You summed up my sentiments perfectly.
I do hope you wrote to the editor! Round-up should be sold by prescription only.
Perhaps Master Gardeners could be certified to write those ‘prescriptions’!
(Oh, remember to lock up that ‘script pad!)
I hope he’s getting bags full of mail. I think they really did a disservice to the environment with that article.
Hear! Hear! Prescription only and applied by a licensed master gardener.
Those DOT trucks you mention make me have flashbacks to the old days when trucks sprayed DDT, leading to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. What’s next, if there are no flitting butterflies to give movement to the garden? Static Spring?
I was driving to an assignment last evening and thinking about the bats and the monarchs and how they seem to have disappeared,how terribly sad that is for me, and how most people wouldn’t even notice they were gone.
You are absolutely right DN…..I’ve only seen one or two up here in Toronto this year too.
I put in a buttlerfly garden this summer where a large white ash was removed (due to Emerald Ash Borer infestation, which is rampant in this area), and only a few white butterflies came around. Not a single Monarch.
I hope they populate like crazy this winter. It will be interesting to see how the numbers are this fall and winter down south, after migration.
Thank you so much for your blog. I read each and every one with keen interest.
Hi Mike, and thanks for reading my blog! It’s good to know I am not the only person who’s not seeing any monarchs. I often wonder, though, if most people even notice these things. I find it sad.