Sthefany Nóbriga| May 8, 2019
Researchers from Iowa State University predict that this spring Iowans will see the largest population of monarch butterflies in over a decade.
The monarch butterflies migrate every winter to Canopy Forest in central Mexico. During the winter of 2013 to 2014, the monarch population plummeted, covering less than 2.5 acres of the forest, the lowest point of the population in the past two decades. This is partly because of the loss of summer breeding habitat and pesticide use.
However, this past winter scientist noted Mexico’s most significant overwintering monarch population since 2007. Almost 200 million adult monarch butterflies were recorded, and now they are migrating up north.
According to the researchers from Iowa State University, the reason for the increase in the monarch population is due to mild winters in Mexico, and southern parts of the United States in comparison to other years.
Scientists are hopeful and want to maintain the monarch population and preserve their numbers. But it is reported that there is a shortage of potential breeding habitats in Iowa to maintain a steady population.
In order to maintain this population, there must be approximately 480,000 to 830,000 acres of habitat over the next 10 to 20 years according to Iowa Public Radio.
If the weather stays favorable, Iowans will be seeing a large monarch population starting at the end of May or even early June.