While the entire life cycle of the monarch butterfly depends on milkweed, milkweed doesn’t need the monarch at all! In fact, did you know there has always been, and continues to be, an all-out war between milkweeds and monarchs?
With strong winds from the south, Monarch butterflies appeared in the Joplin area in mid-April, with only a few weeks to live, and females desperate to unload their eggs. People with milkweed in their yards were ecstatic and reported multiple eggs on many of their plants, and later, a bunch of small caterpillars as eggs hatched. Small holes appeared on leaves as caterpillars chowed down on the ONLY food they will eat. (And we thought our own kids were picky eaters!)
Migrating to and from Mexico requires a lot of “fuel”/food. That means flowers for the adult butterfly and plenty of milkweed plants for their very picky-eater children, the caterpillars.