Welcome to a SPIN free zone
The Live Monarch staff and our friends will attempt to clarify the commonly used techniques and misinformation about Milkweed and the problems facing the Monarchs and their migration.
Common myths and false statements about Milkweed and Monarchs:
Anything can be stated as true for a particular set of circumstances but when stated as a truth for all cases this is propaganda = A LIE. Our culture is full of "SPIN" and deception and it is up to you to learn the truth about what people tell you and why. This is work and it takes dedication to understand the methods used to fool you into believing things that sound good are really very bad and sometimes very dangerous. Some examples of corporations that sold their product no mater what: Cigarettes - Just what the doctor ordered 75% of Doctors Prefer Camels. 7-Up is for Babies. Sugar might be the willpower you need to curb your appetite. DDT is good for you and me. Glyphosate is good for the soil, water and air. Maybe you know a bit about the harmful effects of these products on the actual users, if you do not this is the work I mentioned earlier. This internet is a worldwide library of information and opinions find something other than a sales pitch to fall for. This is a page in progress and will be added to as necessary and of value to our readers.
1. Milkweed kills Monarchs - Is this really true? NO, but in the case of limited milkweed leaves and older plants that have excess toxins that the caterpillars can not digest some larvae may perish. The Milkweed has no Malice and does not seek out victims like the intent of a pesticide. It has been proven to aid the Monarch in many ways and they have a symbiotic relationship that has formed over millennia. Did you know that Asclepias Curassavica has been scientifically shown to be the choice of Monarchs to cure their offspring from paracites. The female Monarch actually searches for this medicinal plant for her young. This variety of milkweed is by far the favorite of Monarchs and they will choose it over all others.
2. Non Native Milkweed can hurt the migration - In fabricated scenarios of desperate female Monarchs carrying eggs and being stopped from their migration route by the siren's call of this milkweed and then the trapping of these larvae on the plants only to die as the cold closes in. Well this Natural pattern of late egg laying and death by weather has happened for millennia and could happen with any milkweed variety depending on location and time of year. Monarchs will not lay as many eggs on less preferred varieties if Asclepias Curassavica is available. Monarchs know what is best for their young, they taste the leaves before laying and do prefer this variety for a reason.
Soultion - Cut all milkweed back when temps get too cold to support caterpillars and there is no fear of "trapping a Monarch" on any milkweed. The survival skills of the hundreds of millions of Monarchs are not fully explained and there are more strategies employed every year so they can survive in case of a regional problem like the freeze of 1992 where we lost 80% over a 3 day period in Mexico. Mother Nature is smarter than we are !
3. Tropical Milkweed is a host for OE - No plant is a "Host" for this paracite, it lives inside the gut of the Monarch caterpillar and creates egg cysts while inside the Monarch's skin as a pupae. During this time it can cover the newly forming abdomen of the adult Monarch with many thousands of its eggs which will be carried by the Monarch and deposited with each egg the female sticks to the milkweed leaves or in rare cases transferred from adult to adult when mating. Milkweed is Not a host and any milkweed could have these egg cysts attached to the deposited egg or dropped by passing Monarchs. Unless confined breeding is underway the eating of cysts dropped by passing Monarchs would be very rare in a natural environment with milkweed growing outside in the wind or rain. Will more milkweed rid us of natural paracites like OE ... NO they are a part of the natural order.
4.Asclepias Curassavica is Not Native - this classic bit of disinformation is true of any milkweed variety depending on where you are. Monarchs look for the best Milkweed they can find. This "Native" Asclepias Curassavica has been in North America over 200 years according to cited records. This is a non issue to the Monarchs and the dangers stated by these articles need to be reviewed and made open for evaluation before warning the public that their actions are problematic. This milkweed is commonly called Mexican Blood flower and is found throughout Texas, Florida, California, Louisiana and Tennessee according to the USDA maps. AND all over Mexico the overwintering home of the majority of all North American Monarchs. Do not pin the decline of the Monarchs on well intentioned people planting certain milkweeds. This is also the best type of milkweed bar none for collecting eggs.
The way around concern for growing this type in any location is as a just in case food source if and when native varieties run out to save larvae from starvation. It should like all other milkweed be cut back or brought inside if it would pose a danger for any late season egg laying where knowledge of a severe cold front would kill it and unfortunate monarchs in any stage of their lifecycle.
5. Asclepias Curassavica "does not die back in the winter like native milkweed does" - This is false and it is NATIVE in several southern states. This milkweed dies back with the first frost in most areas, even South Florida. Die back = losing leaves. If you mean dies completely... Curassavica must be replanted each year in areas of hard frost as this plant does not survive a hard winter unprotected. Again it is a great choice if you might run out of other varieties for any reason and want your Caterpillars to survive and fly away as healthy Monarchs to join the Migration. After growing tens of thousands of these plants their average life in most areas is less than 1.5 years and leaves constantly fall off as new growth happens.
6. Monarchs are not migrating when certain types of Milkweed are grown - This is wrong on many levels and used to prop up many bad arguments like - "But if the monarchs are not migrating, and the tropical milkweed is not dying off, OE never goes away." Lets use an example of this type of false argument:
If the Homeless are coming to shelters and we are not closing them, poverty will never go away. Rings true if you have no understanding of the real problem. Should we shutter all the hospitals? - they are just collectors of the sick. This is bad logic. IF THERE IS A PROBLEM, HIDING THE PROBLEM IS NOT THE SOLUTION. Invest in something that is not a subsidy which can be withdrawn, Milkweed is a growth strategy. One seed produces food for several monarchs and seeds for the future. There is a geometric progression of benefit for a small investment of effort. This is what Nature shows us. Look for the Natural Example.
THE REAL PROBLEM - for the Monarchs
SAFE PESTICIDE FREE Milkweed is in short supply for the Monarch Migration.
People are turning millions of acres into killing fields through which the Monarchs must pass every year.
Global change = a situation hastened by the actions of MAN affects every living thing on OUR planet.
WHO TO BLAME?
We are all in part responsible for supporting practices that kill our environment in the name of profit. This is a worldwide very difficult problem, there is a Natural balance that we have definitely tipped and we must accept responsibility and give value to all that we have taken for granted and become a caretaker for our planet before we like the Monarch are severly threatened too.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Lets stop the UNNATURAL threats to our environment.
Focus on the problem not a symptom!
Please use our contact page below to notify us of objectionable articles you may see online so we can investigate. We are open to new ideas and will modify our materials and focus if warranted. Thank you for your assistance to help the Monarch, restore its Migratory route and protect our Environment. LMF Staff