9/21/2017

Butterfly Migration

If you love butterflies, this week has been an absolute delight along the Front Range as the painted lady butterflies migrate south.  Conditions this year have caused an explosion of the numbers of painted ladies, which is why we are seeing so many more than usual.  The orange butterflies, which are commonly mistaken for monarchs, are headed to Arizona, New Mexico, and northern Mexico for the winter, according to an article in the Denver Post.  They enjoy a variety of flowers, especially asters, which are in bloom right now.  Last weekend was the peak for the migration through the Denver area, although many can still be seen.  The butterflies will also pass through on their way back north in April and May.

Colorado has many other butterfly species, as well.  Those who enjoy butterflies should see the CSU Extension's publication Attracting Butterflies to the Garden, which offers tips on creating a butterfly habitat along with lists of the best types of flowers to plant for attracting butterflies.

Painted lady (Vanessa cardui) butterflies enjoying the asters at my home in Park Hill, September 16, 2017.


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