Day of Insects

A coma butterfly rests on milkweed in the Ringgold Wildlife Area in southern Iowa. (Photo by Clint Farlinger)

A coma butterfly rests on milkweed at the Ringgold Wildlife Area in southern Iowa. (Photo by Clint Farlinger)

How much do you love insects? Probably just as much as Iowa State University’s Reiman Gardens, the host of the 7th Annual Day of Insects on Saturday, March 28, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Whether you’re a proud insect enthusiast or you’ve never even heard of DOI, you’re welcomed with open wings arms. Fifteen presentations from professionals, academics, advocates and enthusiasts alike will span a range of insect-related topics. Check out “Bioluminescence in Arthropods: Not Just Fireflies” or “Glimpses into the Amazing Lives of Insects and Spiders” or even “Are Bites and Stings Just B.S.?” We know you’re curious.

On Friday, March 27, a casual opening reception will connect insect enthusiasts from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The reception is available to anyone signed up to attend DOI. The deadline to register for Day of Insects is Monday, March 23. A full list of presentations can found here.

This year, DOI follows the announcement of the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium, a collective established at ISU to enhance monarch butterfly reproduction and to assist community-led implementation efforts.

As a partner, INHF will provide funding and support for the Consortium. INHF president Joe McGovern voiced his excitement for the project to Iowa State:

“The consortium will build on Iowa’s experience in related conservation efforts and can make great strides in benefiting monarchs. We look forward to getting the word out to all Iowans about how they can help increase monarch habitat.”

Taylor_Author_Banner_New

Monarch butterflies migrate through Iowa

*Video by Courtney Turnis, 2007 INHF Land Stewardship Intern.

This September, watch for Monarch butterflies as they migrate through Iowa. They can be spotted by their bright orange wings with black lines and spots. The month of September sees the heaviest migration period for Monarchs, migrating down to the Sierra Madre in central Mexico. Continue reading

Create a Monarch Waystation at home

Butter Fly Milkweed

In recent years, Monarch populations throughout North America have dwindled. Scientists believe that a major cause of this decline is the loss of native habitat. During their migration, Monarchs feed and lay eggs on different varieties of milkweed, a plant native to Iowa. Without the plant, the Monarch population may be devastated.

How can you help? Monarchwatch.org has started a program to create certified Monarch “Waystations,” personal areas of native milkweed to help re-establish Monarch populations locally. The website offers guides, seeds and instructions for individuals hoping to help the effort. Find more information about the program. Continue reading

Monarch migration comeback

6073541405_edbe2b24e5_zphoto by Ken Slade, courtesy of use through Creative Commons

Last week, the New York Times published a piece about the great monarch migration—and the effect the loss of milkweed plants has had on the monarch population. For the study, the NYT made Iowa their home base, studying milkweed and monarchs at the Tallgrass Prairie Center in Cedar Falls. Continue reading