The city of Regina is working to grow the amount of milkweed plants, and in turn, the monarch butterfly population.
Crews were out at Prairie Island in A.E Wilson Park planting it Tuesday morning.
The city’s Manager of Forestry, Pest Control and Horticulture Russell Eirich said milkweed is very important to monarchs.
“The caterpillar larvae actually feed on the plant,” he said. “The plant gives the larvae and the butterfly itself a very noxious taste so predator birds and predators will find them very noxious tasting and spit them out.”
Eirich said the decline of monarch is in part due to the decline of milkweed, which has been affected by commercial farming practices.
“If they’re (monarch butterflies) are losing their food source that gives them an advantage to surviving natural predators, that’s a huge risk as well.”
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Eirich also addressed the latest mosquito numbers. He said their latest counts for the last week show about 42 per trap, slightly below the average of 44.
“We’ve had a lot of drying wind conditions this past week, so I’m hopeful that we’re going to continue to keep it below average,” he said. Eirich also noted the week we’re currently in has traditionally been the highest week of the year for the city, where people will normally see the most mosquitoes of the summer.
Eirich notes of those 42 mosquitoes per trap, seven of those of are of the Culex Tarsalis species, which are known to be carriers of the West Nile virus.