Milkweed pod collection to help butterfly
VW independent/submitted information
Pollinator species are experiencing population declines across the United States. In particular, the monarch butterfly has drastically declined here in Ohio and in the wintering grounds of Mexico. In response to this decline, the Ohio Division of Wildlife and other partners have created the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative (OPHI) to educate the public and help create beneficial habitat to pollinators such as the monarch butterfly. OPHI formed after the 2014 petition to list the monarch as federally endangered or threatened. The group’s primary focus is to find opportunities and other partners to assist in the efforts to create habitat.
To help foster creation of habitat for the monarch butterfly, OPHI, in cooperation with Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Districts, is organizing a statewide milkweed pod collection this year, starting September 1 and ending October 30. Milkweed is essential to the survival of monarch butterflies in Ohio and Ohio is a priority area for monarchs.
Monarch butterflies that hatch here in the summer migrate to Mexico for the winter and are responsible for starting the life cycle all over again in the spring. During September and October, everyone is encouraged to collect milkweed pods from established plants and drop them off at the nearest pod collection station located at the Van Wert SWCD office, 1185 Professional Drive in Van Wert. Any questions about the collection can directed to the SWCD at 419.238.9591.
To collect the seedpods from a milkweed plant it is best to pick them when the seed inside is brown. Do not collect pods when seeds are white or cream colored. If the center seam of the pods pop with gentle pressure, they can be picked.
It is best to collect pods in paper bags or paper grocery sacks. Avoid using plastic bags because they attract moisture. Store seeds in a cool, dry area until they can be delivered to the closest pod collection area. Harvesting pods from milkweed plants does not have any effect on the population of milkweed in established areas. All milkweed pods collected during this time will be processed by OPHI partners and all of the seed collected will be used to establish new plantings and create additional habitat for the monarch butterfly throughout Ohio.