Kansas April 12, 2019
100 Million Monarch Butterflies Are Headed Straight For Kansas This Spring
If you can remember through the last 20 or so years, monarch butterflies haven’t been doing too well. Since at least the 80s, monarch populations have been in decline, and we’ve been worried about the eventual downfall of our favorite migrating butterflies. This year, however, there are millions of monarch butterflies headed straight for Kansas, more than we’ve seen in a long time. They’re a little early, but we’re trying to spot as many as we can! Even if it’s not exactly 100 million, there are definitely millions spread all over the state.
Have you heard about the stunning monarch butterfly and its journey before? This butterfly isn't only a pretty picture, it's also a long distance traveling species, with a road map installed into its very DNA.
Kansas could get millions coming through, as the 300 million estimated butterfly population in Mexico makes its way north.
Every year, generations of monarch butterflies migrate from Mexico to as far north as Canada, stopping through many of our states on the way, Kansas being one of them.
Their migration path takes them straight through Kansas, with plenty of wildflowers. If you flock to spots with wildflowers between March and May, you should see plenty of these beauties.
Once they land in Kansas, they'll be on the hunt for flowers of all kinds, and their favorite plant, Milkweed. Milkweed is essential to the health of the migration group, and its where they prefer to lay their eggs and feast as caterpillars.
Once they've eaten their fill, they turn into butterflies and start moving north, mating along the way. We feel blessed to be one of their stopping points along the way.
When we see them in the states, many areas have locations where butterflies are delicately plucked off of the trees, tagged in a special spot with a very small sticker that doesn't affect their flight at all. That way when they land, their stickers can be recorded at certain areas to judge the size of the migration and how far single butterflies have flown since they were stickered.
Make sure to take plenty of photos of monarchs you see this year and visit local parks and gardens to see as many of these beauties as possible before they move farther north.
If you'd like to help out monarchs this year or for years to come, plant common or butterfly milkweed plants in your garden each spring and keep from treating them with any insecticides. We want the butterflies to eat the plants, after all!
If you’re interested in learning more about insects like these butterflies, why not visit
this special Insect Zoo right in Kansas?