How and Why Monarchs Spend the Winter in Mexico

Monarchs are the only butterflies that spend the winter in Mexico. Monarchs need to be in Mexico because it’s too cold in their native land, Canada and the United States, for them to survive the winter months.

Monarchs travel to Mexico in September and October, but not all of them stay there over the winter; some of them leave again once the weather gets warm enough.

An Ode to Monarch Butterflies

(Odes can be very short) The Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is perhaps one of North America’s most distinctive species. With their stunning orange, black, and white wings, they are an inspiration to us all. Today we celebrate National Butterfly Day.

When Did Monarch Butterflies Start Making Their Journey?

All monarchs that reach adulthood will eventually make their way to a small strip of forest in central Mexico.

This yearly migration cycle has been going on for at least 10,000 years. In fact, if you’re a long-time resident of northern California or parts of Texas, there’s a good chance your ancestors met up with migrating monarchs during one of their trips through! Keep reading to learn more about when monarch butterflies started migrating south each year.

Where Do Monarch Butterflies Go During the Winter?

Monarch butterflies spend their winters in a very specific region of Mexico that lies at a high altitude, making it ideal for them to migrate safely from North America to Central America. In fact, as recently as 2014, biologists have yet to discover why Monarch butterflies travel so far south. It has been assumed that they simply fly down from Canada or freeze during their migration because of climate change.

However, there is much more going on with monarchs than anyone could have anticipated.

What Are the Monarchs’ Migration Patterns?

While it might be hard to tell with all of that pollen floating around, spring is just around the corner.

And with warm weather on its way, it’s important to take time to talk about one of nature’s biggest pests: migrating monarch butterflies. Specifically, they are pollinating caterpillars that are being sighted more frequently than usual throughout parts of Canada and North America.

Why Are There So Many Pollen-Eating Caterpillars this Year?

If you notice your allergies have been particularly bad over the past few weeks, you’re not alone.

The population of monarch butterflies, which spend most of their lives east of California, is on a drastic decline. In fact, according to National Geographic there were so few sightings in 2017 that scientists declared it the year of almost no monarchs…

That being said, you might be surprised to learn that there are still pollen-eating caterpillars! Some people believe they have fewer natural predators living further south due to weather conditions, but there are other factors at play too.

To help combat their plight, here are four tips for lessening your environmental impact

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