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Roadside Habitat for Monarchs: Monarch Butterflies, Weeds, and Herbicides


Author: Xerces Society Date: 2019

Monarch butterflies are in decline in North America, and restoring monarch habitat, including roadsides, is important to the species’ recovery. Monarch caterpillars require milkweed (primarily in the genus Asclepias) to complete their development. A diversity of milkweed species is found on roadsides, and monarchs lay their eggs readily on milkweed plants in roadsides and consume nectar from milkweed flowers.

Roadsides provide more than just milkweed. They can also provide diverse nectar sources to feed adult monarchs and other pollinators—but ensuring that roadsides can continue to provide the best habitat requires some thought and care. This guide highlights best management practices to reduce the impacts of herbicides on monarchs.

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