One Small Step for Monarchs
Hope is in the air since this past Tuesday’s election results from New Jersey, Virginia, Maine, and elsewhere. Not only that, but there is some positive garden-related news as well.
Here in my home state of Illinois, the legislature passed a bill that would prohibit local governments from listing Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) or any other native Asclepias species as a noxious weed. Practically speaking, this means that landowners can plant and grow Milkweeds, and no Village Board or County Commission can tell them otherwise.
Milkweeds, of course, are crucial to the future of Monarch butterflies, since Monarch caterpillars feed only on plants from this genus. Once common in fields and vacant lots, the advent of Roundup-ready corn and soybeans have made Milkweeds rather scarce. And yet, many continue to regard it as a plant that ought to be stamped out.
The legislation was sponsored by State Representative Anna Moeller, who also sponsored a bill designating Milkweeds as the state wildflower. Thankfully, both bills were passed with large, bipartisan majorities.
Further afield, this article in the Guardian tells us that the United Kingdom will support a total ban on neonicotinoid insecticides throughout the European Union. Neonicotinoids are considered to be a significant factor contributing to the decline of bees and other pollinators.
A partial ban by the EU has been in effect since 2013, but a more comprehensive prohibition has been proposed. The UK’s changed in position makes the prohibition, which could be voted on in December, more likely. (Nice that they can apparently do something constructive before Brexit takes affect.)
The state of Maryland and a number of US cities have also banned neonicotinoids.
All is not lost, but that is all for now.
Love hearing this good news.
Man cannot live by horrible news alone.
Hi Jason. That is good news about the UK, but interesting how it is reported in the Guardian article… the EU has NOT spoken out for a ban, but has ‘suggested’ a five year extension of licences. There is, however, no majority for this standpoint from the EU countries. In the last vote on Thursday 9th November Germany (sadly) abstained and only half of the EU countries supported the proposed extension, which means Germany voting against the extension could sway the balance; the next vote is at the end of November. There has to be a decision soon as licences run out mid-December, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that the numerous petitions being signed right now may put pressure on our government!
OK, thanks for the explanation. So have any EU countries banned neonics on their own?
Not as far as I know, as it would put farmers at a major disadavantage on the European market.
Sorry to hear that.
Beautiful pictures, and yay for all the good news this week. As a Mainer, I was particularly pleased by the results of the Medicaid referendum, but I was cheered by results in other parts of the country, too. Maybe monarchs and milkweed should be symbols for progressives.
Now you just need to get rid of that LaPage creep.
All good news, indeed! Fingers crossed for more of the same. Lovely photo–I just saw another monarch on my bike ride, he/she is a little late in the migration–hope it makes it!
You get to keep seeing Monarchs much later there in Texas.
Wonderful news, I’m so glad that something is being done to ensure their survival, they are beautiful.
Applause to your home state of Illinois for their forward thinking. 🙂
Love this! I’m from IL as well–do you happen to know where one can purchase Rose Milkweed seeds? I would love to try them in my perennial beds next spring.
Lots of places you can purchase them online. http://www.prairienursery.com/ https://www.prairiemoon.com/
I’m sure there are many others. Harder to find at a garden center.
Luckily I see many hundreds if not thousands of milkweed plants here, and I saw more monarchs this year than the last 4 years combined. It is nice to have some good news once in a while.
I’ve heard people in a number of locations say they saw lots of Monarchs. For us it was about average. Let’s hope next year is a good year for monarchs everywhere.
Good news on all fronts! I’m wondering how Australia stands on neonicontinoid insecticides, but will try to find out.
Sometimes you have to wonder if the “noxious weed” lawmakers are just looking for something to do. They like other researchers will tell us in a few years that the banned plants are okay to replant. Sheesh! I do love milkweed, although for sometime it was a bit obnoxious in my gardens!
Some species are much easier than others. Butterflyweed and Rose Milkweed do not spread by rhizomes, though they will reseed.
I got it, I got it! =)
I’ve debated planting any milkweed for a few years now because of its invasive tendencies. I have enough problems with wild grass and Joe-Pye. My local community finally did something about purple loosestrife many years ago, Now I wish they would tackle glossy-leaved buckthorn. It is squeezing out all of our native trees on roadsides.
Ugh, Buckthorn is a menace. Try Butterflyweed or Rose Milkweed (also called Swamp Milkweed) – they are not aggressive.
Here there are a lot of Milkweed (Euphorbia polychroma ) growing as perennial in fields and meadows. So I amn’t worrying about butterflies.
Brilliant results, on both fronts.xxx
There is hope–always hope! 🙂
I wasn’t aware the legislature had passed this bill–it’s nice to know they can do something productive for once! I’ve been encouraged by the number of milkweed plants I’ve seen along the roadsides this year, not to mention the number of Monarchs I saw in my own garden.
The number of Monarchs in my garden was not unusual this year but I’ve noticed several other people saying they had lots.
Hello Jason, it’s very slow progress, but progress none-the-less. It does feel like trying to turn an oil tanker around. I think the EU/UK vote is more complex, as Cathy above details, I wouldn’t put money on a ban or other restrictions just yet.
That’s too bad.