|Spicebush Swallowtail. Photo credit Carolyn Cavender Alexander|
Mrs ERJ and I were on a walk the other day when a tornado of Monarchs swept past us. It was a goodly number, swirling as they swept in front of us.
We are also seeing large numbers of many species of Swallowtails.
We had a very wet spring. Farmers were not able to get their fields planted until late this year. Then, about June 20, the rains slowed down to a quarter-inch per week.
One hypothesis is that the excessive rains leached the Neonicotinoids seed treatment out of the soil zone where wild flowers could access them.
Another hypothesis is that there were enough stands of milkweed and other prime larval foods left unmolested by agriculture to support robust broods of butterfly larvae. And then later, there were enough stands of wildflowers to feed the adults.
We will probably never know the reason, but those butterflies sure are pretty.