If you love butterflies, and who doesn’t, then click on over to the website for the North American Butterfly Association (NABA). NABA is a non-profit, membership-based organization formed in 1992 to increase the public enjoyment and protection of butterflies. We have all heard about the trouble that Monarch butterflies are in, and we should all be planting milkweed species to help them. But, what about the other 574 or so butterfly species that occur in the United States? NABA will tell you what you need to know to help them, too.
Here are some of the helpful facts that NABA shares on their website:
How many kinds of butterflies are there?
There are approximately 20,000 species of butterflies in the world. About 725 species have occurred in North American north of Mexico, with about 575 of these occurring regularly in the lower 48 states of the United States, and with about 275 species occurring regularly in Canada. Roughly 2000 species are found in Mexico.
How many kinds of butterflies can I find near where I live?
In most parts of the United States, you can find roughly 100 species of butterflies near your home. The number is higher in the Rio Grande Valley and some parts of the West, somewhat less in New England. As one goes northward into Canada the number decreases, while as one goes southward into Mexico the number greatly increases.
How long does a butterfly live?
An adult butterfly probably has an average life-span of approximately one month. In the wild, most butterflies lives are shorter than this because of the dangers provided by predators, disease, and large objects, such as automobiles. The smallest butterflies may live only a week or so, while a few butterflies, such as Monarchs, Mourning Cloaks and tropical heliconians, can live up to nine months.
The NABA website also provides the basics of butterfly gardening, regional butterfly gardening guides, and information on host plants for butterfly caterpillars. A Butterfly Certification Program is available to its members. (Individual membership is $35, individual certification is $35, and an optional sign is $25).
Butterfly gardening is a great way to enjoy your landscape and get the kids off electronics and into the garden. Many plants which attract and support butterflies are great resources for other pollinators and beneficial insects, as well. Check out the NABA website and consider becoming a member.
From Kim Eierman at EcoBeneficial!