13 Apr 2009

Monarch butterfly numbers dwindling

4:34 pm on 13 April 2009

Monarch butterfly numbers are dwindling because of bad weather and wasps.

Jacqui Knight, who heads the Monarch Butterfly Trust, says the monarchs are heading into winter in reduced numbers.

She says bad weather last winter wiped out much of the milkweed or swan plants the butterflies lay their eggs on, and the summer has seen high numbers of wasps, which eat the caterpillars.

Monarchs fly north to warmer areas in winter and Ms Knight says people can help them by growing high-nectar plants they feed on, like hebes, bottlebrush and marigolds.