Butterfly Oasis Habitat Project

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) resting on a butterfly bush on a fall late afternoon in a backyard butterfly garden in Hampton, Virginia.

Decline of the Monarch Butterfly Population

In recent years there has been a very significant decline in the monarch butterfly population. The monarch population in the eastern part of the United States have decline by 90% while the western population of monarch butterflies have declined by 99%.

There are many reasons for this decline in the monarch butterfly population such as habitat loss with less milkweed plants being planted in gardens, along side of roads or in medians. Climate change and the use of pesticides are other factors that have played a role in the decline of the monarch butterfly population.

In the summer of 2021, I created a butterfly garden in my backyard to specifically help with the declining population of monarch butterflies. I wanted to help play a part in helping monarch butterflies as well as all other butterflies survive and increase the butterfly population. Thus, I began my conservation project of Butterfly Habitat Oasis Project. The Butterfly Habitat Oasis Project was created to provide shelter, water, food and space in Lori’s backyard butterfly garden to help furnish a breeding and migration habitat for Monarch butterflies as well other butterflies and pollinators.

I planted a variety of host plants for the Monarchs and for Black Swallowtail butterflies as well as a variety nectar plants. In the very first year of the garden, I had over a dozen Monarch caterpillars and over two dozen Black Swallowtail caterpillars. In addition, I had plenty of fluttering visitors to my backyard butterfly oasis such as the Monarch, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Cabbage White and a large variety of skippers. My backyard butterfly garden is home to bee pollinators as well.

In Spring 2022, I expanded my backyard butterfly garden so that I can add many more milkweed plants as well as other host plants for other butterflies. I created a puddling station, put up a butterfly and bee house, and added more nectar plants to my backyard butterfly garden. In addition, my backyard butterfly garden has been granted a Certified Monarch Garden and a Certified Butterfly Garden by the North American Butterfly Association.

Butterfly Restoration Project by Lori A Cash Conservation Photography
Eastern Tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) feeding on Black Knight butterfly bush in my backyard garden on a summer evening in Hampton, Virginia. This species of butterfly is one of the most common and beautiful butterflies.
Black swallowtail caterpillar (Papilio polyxenes) eating blossoms on fennel plant in backyard butterfly garden in Hampton, Virginia.
Black swallowtail caterpillar (Papilio polyxenes) eating blossoms on fennel plant in backyard butterfly garden in Hampton, Virginia. This Late-instar black swallowtail caterpillar is soon to pupate.
Black Swallowtail Caterpillar Feeding on a fennel plant during the summer in a backyard butterfly garden.
Black Swallowtail Caterpillar Feeding on a fennel plant during the summer in a backyard butterfly garden. Black swallowtails’ host plants are in the include parsley, Queen Anne’s lace, carrots, celery, fennel and dill.
Monarch caterpillar feeding on milkweed on a late summer evening in Hampton, Virginia.
Monarch caterpillar feeding on milkweed on a late summer evening in Hampton, Virginia. The monarch caterpillars sole host plant is the milkweed which include butterfly weed and swamp milkweed.
Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) resting on Honeycomb Butterfly Bush on a autumn late afternoon in a backyard butterfly garden in Hampton, Virginia.
Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) resting on Honeycomb Butterfly Bush on a autumn late afternoon in a my backyard butterfly garden in Hampton, Virginia. The monarch population has been threatened by the use of pesticides, habitat loss and climate change impacts. Thus, monarchs have had a decline in population of upward 90 have suffered a population decline upward of 90% in the last few decades.
Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) feeding on Honeycomb Butterfly Bush on a autumn late afternoon in a backyard butterfly garden in Hampton, Virginia.
Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) feeding on Honeycomb Butterfly Bush on a autumn late afternoon in a backyard butterfly garden in Hampton, Virginia. The monarch butterfly is one of the most recognized and well known species of butterfly in North America. Monarch butterflies each fall have a multi-generational 3,000-mile migration to Mexico.
Monarch caterpillar crawling on milkweed plant leaf on a summer evening in Hampton, Virginia.
Monarch caterpillar crawling on milkweed plant leaf on a summer evening in Hampton, Virginia. Monarch caterpillars live about 10-14 days while growing from eating the leaves of milkweed.

Lori’s Related Blog Posts on Butterflies and Caterpillars:

Backyard Garden Certified as Monarch Waystation (05/18/22)

Planting Milkweed for Earth Day (4/22/22)

Save the Monarchs for Earth Day (04/08/22)

Black Swallowtail Caterpillars in the Fall (10/22/21)

Backyard Butterfly Garden Tips (8/31/21)

Ways to Protect the Monarch Butterfly (7/8/21)

Copyright © 2022 Lori A Cash

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