A welcoming place for butterflies

Larry Limpf

If the monarch butterfly is considered the king of butterflies, then a lush yard on Fremont Street in Elmore, brimming with plants and flowers, is a palace.
For the past seven years or so the yard of Michael and Victoria Lincicome has been a welcoming habitat for monarchs and other wildlife.
“I think it’s just a general love of nature that got us started,” Michael said.
The yard is certified with Monarch Watch as a waystation for the monarch, which migrates each fall by the millions from the U.S. and Canada to central Mexico where they wait out the winter.
Monarch waystations provide resources necessary for the butterflies to produce successive generations and sustain their migration.
Milkweeds and nectar plants in the monarchs’ spring and summer breeding areas are vital for producing successive generations that culminate in the migration each fall.
“We’ve seen a big difference in their numbers here over the years,” Michael said. “When we first started this we had a lot, but the continuing loss of habitat in the country isn’t helping things.”
Before becoming a waystation, Victoria had planted a flower garden to welcome wildlife and noticed a monarch caterpillar.
“I thought, oh my God, this is the coolest thing ever,” she said. “I put it in a bucket and let it hatch and fly away. The next season my husband built a playhouse so I could put the caterpillars in there with milkweed. They would then form the chrysalis and then hatch.
“Now I see three or four monarch butterflies. Before we would see dozens and now I have more flowers and milkweed. I don’t know why that is happening. Right now I have one caterpillar and I keep an eye on it. Each year it gets less.”
The Lincicome’s garden is also certified by the North American Butterfly Association.
While she is discouraged by the dwindling monarch population at the waystation, Victoria said she’s seen other types of butterflies such as the swallowtail.
Tourists from as far as Australia who were on vacation in the area have visited the waystation, she said.


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