Migrating Monarch Butterflies—A True Sign of Spring in Texas
Soaring through the air on a 3,000 mile journey from Mexico to Canada seems like a daunting task. But, for millions of North American Monarch butterflies it’s an annual spring rite of passage. A time of year when the hope of rebirth and the cycle of life come full circle. The majestic-like migration of monarchs typically begin in March from California and a 15,000 acre-site approximately 100 miles from Mexico City in Michoacan. This home-away-from-home winter respite is 9,000 feet above sea level. And, where millions of them wait huddled together in trees in the country’s Oyamel Fir Forest until they get their directional cue from Mother Nature and the sun. Then, one-by-one they spread their delicate wings, take flight, and fly through the air until they reach their northern destination. Traveling nearly 100 miles a day, the 12-state journey can take up to two months. Then, in the fall they do it all over again.
Texas’ Role in the Migration Process
Known for their beautiful striking colors of black, bright orange and white, these insects are both beautiful and useful. Texas honored the monarch butterfly with regal status in 1995 when it was named as the state’s official insect. Primarily because of its importance as a pollinator. Today, Texas plays a crucial role in the migration process because it is ideally located between the primary breeding grounds to the north and the overwintering areas to the south. During both the spring and falls seasons, monarchs can be seen in abundance soaring through the Lone Star state. In fall, they use two primary paths to pass through. Starting in late September through mid-October monarchs pass through the first path, a 300-mile stretch from Wichita Falls to Eagle Pass. From mid-October to mid-November they use the path along the Texas coast.
Monarch Butterfly Facts to Know
- Adult female monarchs lay tiny eggs covered with a sticky substance on the underside of toxic milkweed leaves. Several days later the caterpillar emerges from its egg and feeds on the milkweed leaves as its primary source of survival. Though they are beautiful, the monarch’s bright colors warn predators of its poisonous state.
- In the spring and summer, monarchs live in open fields and meadows with milkweed.
- This year, Texas residents reported monarch sightings as early as February.
- The migrating monarch butterfly population for 2019 is up 144% from 2018—the highest in 12 years. Experts in the field attribute this year’s population boom to an increase in pollinating initiatives, favorable conditions in Texas, and excellent climate conditions throughout the breeding zone.
Renewal, Transformation, and a Fresh Start
The migrating monarchs are an awe-inspiring sight. And, the ultimate symbol of hope, endurance, renewal, and transformation. This spring start anew and transform your home with seasonal blooming florals and greenery; butterfly inspired aprons, flour sack dish towels and onesies; dinnerware in pretty pastels, and vases, table linens, and candlesticks in coordinating colors.
Spring décor inspiration awaits at all four Austin area Breed & Company locations. Visit a store close to you and shop our Spring and Easter Collections now.