There has been a definite decline in the monarch butterfly population up here this summer. I have plenty of milkweed plants along garden edges and in some old fields. The milkweeds have been in full bloom for about three weeks and their sweet fragrant nectar is attracting all kinds of bees, wasps, moths, and butterflies. Except for the monarch butterfly, which uses this plant as its only food source during the insect’s larval stage. In all, I have seen five monarch butterflies since late June and three of their caterpillars. Normally there are dozens of monarch butterflies and their caterpillars on any given day from late June to August.
Yesterday, I went looking for monarch butterflies and their larva again. I didn’t find any but did see many of these small brown skippers (possibly dashes or duns) nectaring on some milkweed blossoms.