Raising Monarch Butterflies

Photo by ANV volunteer Terry Belt

Photo by ANV volunteer Terry Belt

After our regular Tuesday tai chi session, friend of Arlington Neighborhood Villages, Teresa Lim,  talked with us about monarch butterflies.  Teresa became interested in raising monarch butterflies about a year ago. She is into her second and third group of monarchs from eggs to emerged butterflies. Her last group had two white monarchs – very rare in the U.S.!

Teresa explained that monarchs are now endangered due to herbicides used by farmers and homeowners on milkweed, the monarchs’ primary food source.  In addition to herbicides and insecticides, weather and general loss of habitat are also reasons for the decline. She showed us samples of monarchs in different stages of their lifecycle–from egg to instar (caterpillar) to chrysalis to metamorphosis into a butterfly.  Her talk was fascinating.

Photo by ANV volunteer Terry Belt

Photo by ANV volunteer Terry Belt

She has been showing these interesting and beautiful pollinators to groups from preschool to seniors.   We are grateful that she shared her knowledge with us.  Now we need to do our bit by planting milkweed to increase the monarch population!