Findings from the Edible Garden Monarch Waystation

By Amy Joseph Landon

Monarch Butterfly

Want to spot a Monarch butterfly at Bernheim? Be sure to stop by the Edible Garden, a popular landing spot for these beautiful insects! They are making quite an appearance just in time for our annual BugFest.

Monarch butterflies are known for their long distance migrations in the spring and fall. Their numbers within Bernheim Forest peak during these migration times.  In recent years, however, there has been a decline in the eastern populations of monarchs due to both a loss of winter habitat in Mexico as well as the loss of summer habitat in the United States.

Because monarchs require milkweed for both adult and larval stages, Bernheim has been planting these and other nectar-producing flowers that the adults feed upon, in order to attract and maintain the population.  The Edible Garden is one area in which this effort is showing signs of success.  Since its creation, more and more monarchs have been seen flying around the garden.

September is a great time to check out the monarchs as well as other insect species in the Edible Garden. Since its opening, over a hundred different insect species have been sighted.  You can see over 40 species of Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) such as the monarch, and can find them in egg, larval (caterpillar), and adult forms.

Don’t just read about it! Come see our monarchs while you can.


– Kelly Vowels, Natural Areas

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