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Pismo Beach Butterfly Grove sees a significant drop in monarch butterfly population this year

Some docents say the temperatures could be impacting the number of Monarch's this Winter
This Year’s Monarch Butterfly Migration Appears Larger Than Usual
Posted at 8:07 PM, Nov 03, 2019

The Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove is seeing a significant drop in the number of monarch's this winter season.

As of Sunday afternoon, the grove has about 1,000 monarchs. The number of monarch's at the grove at this same time last year was 3,077 according to docents.

According to Heather Biscoe, a docent at the butterfly grove, there are a number of reasons why the numbers are dropping.

Warmer temperatures are causing the monarchs to leave the grove almost a month early which then leads to monarchs leaving before the milkweed is ready.

Experts say leaving before their usual departure time, in February, is especially harmful to the mother monarchs.

"Milkweed is essential to monarch butterflies. No milkweed, no monarchs. That's the end of it," said Biscoe.

Biscoe says herbicides in the groundwater affect local monarchs and could be another potential factor in the decline.

"In the biggest time period ever, in the 80's, there was possibly 5 to 10 million monarchs in California. Last year there was an entire total of 28,000," added Biscoe.

In order to help with the decline of monarch's, Biscoe says you can plan a native milkweed if you live more than five miles from an established grove or ocean. Another option is planting a nectar plant regardless of where you live on the Central Coast.

The monarchs will be counted around the county through Thanksgiving and the first 10 days of December and then recounted in January.

To learn more about how to visit the Pismo Beach Monarch Grove, click here.