Nature

Many Monarch Butterflies are Already Showing Up in North Texas This Year

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WFAA reports that normally, Texans around the DFW area spot monarchs in early October, but 2017 has been an odd year. “It has been a little earlier this year. We saw our first Monarch August 25,” natural scientist Gail Manning told the news.

According to Monarch migration specialist Elizabeth Howard, the flight of the monarchs may seem early for Texas, but numbers pertaining to the “main migration” in Iowa say everything is on track. Texans are probably noticing “pre-migration” butterflies who start making their way down to Mexico early for the winter and begin breeding along the way down. The new butterflies join the main migration south. Often, this population isn’t noticed as much, but the hurricane could have also slowed them down a little.

If you hope to entice these beautiful butterflies into landing in your yard, the experts at Gardeners.com say you need one thing – milkweed (asclepias). They explain that while you’ll see monarchs taking sips of nectar from all sorts of flowers, particularly native plants, the only plant the monarch caterpillars will eat is milkweed. Monarchs will usually lay their eggs on the plant so as soon as the babies emerge, they can start chowing down on the leaves. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to watch them eventually form a gorgeous chrysalis.