There are over 700 species of butterflies in North America. So why does it seem we only see a few here and there?
Much of our butterflies’ natural habitat has been steadily diminishing due to residential and commercial development. The plants they‘ve used for food and larvae are no longer readily available. In addition, the use of pesticides and insecticides to control ‘undesirable’ insects has had the same effects on butterflies.
What's more, the survival rate of butterflies in the wild is just 1%!
The good news is butterflies are still out there. They've just moved on to where they can find food and host plants. This is where you can help, by turning your garden into a welcoming butterfly habitat.
A few late season species of butterflies like the Mourning Cloak may hibernate over winter and re-emerge in spring, surviving up to 10 months. Similarly, fall broods of Monarchs may live 8 to 9 months migrating to Mexico and portions of the southern California coast to over-winter.
However, for many butterflies, their lifespan can be as short as 14 days. Fortunately, most species produce several broods over summer so it seems they are always around.