Master Gardeners urge folks to establish butterfly gardens

A cloudless sulphur butterfly

The Northern Neck is usually rich with butterflies. Swallowtails, monarchs, skippers and buckeyes are among the varieties that visit flowering plants. This year, however, they were late arriving and there seem to be fewer than normal.

“Was it the weather? Is this just a cyclical variation? Or are we witnessing a consequence of declining habitat, pesticide use, and an increased dominance of garden plants that fail to sustain  caterpillars or mature butterflies?” questioned Northern Neck Master Gardener and avid butterfly fan Sue Lindsey. “Numerous studies have documented dramatic declines in insect populations worldwide. Only systematic research will give definitive answers.

“Butterflies provide us with…

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