Not last night, but the night before, when we had that gorgeous full moon, I was pleasantly surprised to find these little moths on my milkweed plant. I know it’s a weed, but it’s an important one, so much so that many gardeners are starting to not only let this weed grow, but encourage it. It’s the food plant of the Monarch butterfly larva, which is near and dear to a lot of people, probably because they are easy to make into summer pets that, with a little care, put on a spectacular transformation that’s easy to anticipate and be right there for.
Their migration from Mexico takes all summer, spanning generations to reach their northernmost reach here where I live. How the final ones know to go back to Mexico to overwinter is amazing. But their numbers are dwindling in part due to the pesticides that have been genetically engineered INTO THE CORN WE EAT. Yep, our corn is genetically engineered to be toxic to insects, and has been for a while. So instead of having to apply poison to the field, the plant produces it itself. Even the pollen is toxic, and when the wind blows, it goes everywhere and has been proven to kill Monarch larva. (The corn has been labeled safe to eat, but I’m left wondering about the long-term effects, especially on the unborn who are still developing their neural systems. Even if the corn is safe, the pollen is still blowing around, right?) http://news.cornell.edu/stories/1999/04/toxic-pollen-bt-corn-can-kill-monarch-butterflies
So I let my milkweed grow. I’m not the only one, and patches of it are popping up in gardens everywhere in my little town where the sun hits hot and strong. This is the first year that my plants have flowered, and though I’ve not seen any Monarchs, I did see these little white moths on a night with a huge, full moon. I’ve not seen a Monarch for a few years now. Maybe someday I’ll have Monarchs again. I’ll be ready.