|Photo courtesy of Wikipedia|
|ARRGGHHH! Monarchs won't eat your tomatoes!|
Folks, monarchs do not, and never will, eat tomato plants. They consume milkweed and plants in the milkweed family, like butterfly weed. You need not worry about them ever eating your garden plants or your decorative flowers and shrubs. They are driven to eat milkweed only.
|A teeny, just hatched monarch caterpillar.|
|Butterfly weed, Asclepias tuberosa, a great monarch |
butterfly plant for nectar and raising caterpillars.
This label could make someone think this caterpillar needs to be eradicated. My mother likes nature. She likes birds and butterflies, but blindly followed what others have told her. Snakes were bad. Spiders were bad. When she was still able to work in her garden and if she had seen a bug that could possibly kill her tomatoes, I am sure she would have sprayed it, no questions asked. And many of the general public are that way, too. They might even know about monarch butterflies and be familiar with their beautiful orange wings, but do they know what the caterpillar looks like?
|A monarch caterpillar, almost ready to turn into a chrysalis. My mother |
would surely have squirted this with insecticide during her gardening days!
How does this affect you, the reader? One thing you can do to help the monarch is sign the petition so Ortho and Scott's know there are many, many concerned citizens out there. They promised to change the label, but let's make sure they do! Also, if you see the product on your local store shelves, tell someone at the store about the monarch and how the label is incorrect. Yes, they may just nod their head, but if enough complaints are made they may pull the product with the offending label. The monarchs need all the help they can get.
Another thing you can do is educate yourself and others about the natural world around you. One way to do that is attending informational sessions about nature like at the Midwest Native Plant Conference, July 27th-29th. There are many informative speakers with sessions on conifers, native shrubs, pollinators, butterflies, gardening on a low budget and many more. David Wagner is an entomologist and expert on caterpillars and will be one of our keynote speakers. Fun and informative, so check it out! Only a few spaces left! Hope to see you there!