Preserving milkweed to help monarch butterflies

Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 7:07 PM CDT
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BELLEVUE, Wis. (WBAY) - The Village of Bellevue taking steps to train its employees to make sure they are able to identify plant species and the importance each one has, after someone not associated with the Village mowed an area near Trails End Apartments on Manderly Way, taking down milkweed in the process.

Without milkweed, monarch butterflies cannot survive. It’s key to their life cycle, especially as their population is in decline. Monarchs lay their eggs on milkweed, and when the larvae hatch the milkweed serves as its only food source.

“It’s good to always educate our staff on the importance of things and be good stewards to the environment as well as our community,” said Andrew Vissers, Community Development Director for the Village of Bellevue.

Larry’s Bellevue Gardens, a garden center in the village, said milkweed has been selling like crazy due to more people interested in helping curb the decline of monarchs. They say they grow their own milkweed plants beginning in March and by May it’s ready to be sold.

“We were probably 98% out of milkweed by the end of the month of May,” said Vicki Rabas, owner of Larry’s Bellevue Gardens.

Now the milkweed selection at Larry’s Bellevue Gardens is completely gone. Rabas says the pandemic has made gardening more popular, but in general people just want to help save the butterflies as they are not as common anymore. A simple way to help is to recognize milkweed and let it thrive.

“Let’s say you see some in a ditch near your house, you know, maybe cut around it, let that grow for a while, let the butterflies do their thing, enjoy it, and then take it down. It’s not an eyesore of a plant, but it’s very beneficial to the monarchs,” Rabas explained.

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