Monarchs Need Weeds

Monarch butterflies, like a quarter of butterfly species in Iowa, are dwindling in numbers. In January, there was talk of placing the monarch on the endangered species list. 

Across the corn belt, Iowa State University Extension Entomologist Donald Lewis says that there have been 125 million acres of milkweed habitat lost in the last few decades. He says individuals planting milkweed won't make up for the lost of all those acres, but it's a start. 

If there were a national initiative to restore milkweeds, it would certainly go a long way in bringing back what the monarchs need. - Donald Lewis

"We may have hit bottom with the monarch butterfly. Replacing the milkweeds that have been lost out of field crops is going to be a big issue," Lewis said. "If there were a national initiative to restore milkweeds, it would certainly go a long way in bringing back what the monarchs need."

During this horticulture day on Talk of Iowa, Lewis talks with host Charity Nebbe.

Iowa State University Extension Horticulture Specialist Richard Jauron and Entomologist Ken Holscher also join the the show to answer listener questions.