It's official, the migration has begun. The other day was awfully windy here and Barry was out harvesting with our hired hand Chris for our Minot orders. He called me from the field on the cell phone and told me to bring the camera. This is what I saw:
Monarch Butterflies travel between 1200 and 2800 miles between their starting and ending points, flying around 50 miles each day. They stop along the way to feed on bright colored flowers and nectar from other goodies. They like gardendwellers FARM because who could resist the rows and rows of Zinnia's? It gives them a good meal to continue their journey. It will take them two months to reach their destination in Central Mexico. They use the sun's orbit as a guide and even without a compass or on cloudy days these amazing insects can find their way to a place they have never even been before. Although each year the migration pattern varies slightly - most years we're lucky enough to have these beautiful creatures stop on their way to say hello. Those of you in the area should be on the lookout for them and if you do not have a food source, bright colored flowers, there is an easy way to create one below:
Place a small kitchen sponge in a sugar dish in a shallow bowl. Use a brightly colored and shallow bowl or a bright sponge to attract them. For nectar, mix 4 parts water with 1 part granulated sugar. Boil this mix for five minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Let it cool and then place it on the sponge. Extra nectar can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week but most likely within a week all the Monarchs will be past our area and further south.
Be sure to have your camera handy during this exciting time and hopefully you can catch some great photos of the Monarchs as they pass through!
Now, back to work!