Monarchs sudden death spreads awareness


Rachel Keeney, H/S Editor

     Over the past summer, butterflies have been fluttering all over the place spreading their beautiful colors. However, in Kent Island recently thousands of monarch butterflies have turned up dead and no one knows why. 

Monarch butterfly’s population has slowly been declining over the past years due to environmental factors, but this sudden scattering seems to relate to a new theory: mosquito spraying. The Maryland Department of Agriculture recently spoke up saying the last time they sprayed was September 18(one week prior to the butterfly’s death) and that the spray was in “such a small area”.  They also added that the spray is “not known to affect larger species like monarch butterflies” (WJLA).

However, more research suggests insecticides are a main cause to the butterfly’s death. These significant chemicals get sprayed on plants, contaminating the leaves.

The changes in temperature also affect the butterfly’s migration route. When temperatures increase, it drives the monarchs further North making their migration route longer and harder.

While spraying for mosquitos is important, other alternatives to decrease the mosquito population should be enforced so that other bugs don’t get the after effects of chemicals. 

Luckily, there is still hope to save these monarchs. Eden Mill is known for their appreciation and helpful hands on the environment. One exhibit they have is a butterfly garden where an array of butterflies (including monarchs) can enjoy nectar from a variety of butterfly-friendly plants. 

The plants are grown by the staff workers and given a check on the gardens 3 times a week. The Harford County Master Gardeners also contribute to growing the garden and keeping the butterflies safe, by maintaining the garden, researching the plants, and teaching this knowledge to others.

Ladew Gardens has also just recently opened a new butterfly house, built with greenhouse framing material and covered with a mesh that secures the butterflies while allowing them to live among the elements of nature. Sheryl Pedrick, Ladew’s education director says, “Our goal is to showcase butterflies and caterpillars in stressing the importance of the interrelationship between plants, insects, people, and wildlife” (Matt Button, The Aegis).

Along with Eden Mill, other local places are contributing to helping the butterflies like Red Pump Elementary school. Red Pump has a small butterfly- friendly garden outside of their school where they raise monarchs in a safe environment.

Besides spreading a bright orange color, monarchs have an important impact on our environment like pollinating flowers. More community’s need to come together to help spread awareness of the monarch butterfly before they’re permanently gone.