When Do Monarch Butterflies Migrate Through Texas?

Monarch butterflies are famous for many fascinating facts, such as migration over long distances and pollination. People in Texas observe thousands of butterflies migrating through this state to their wintering grounds and move back to their breeding sites.

When Do Monarch Butterflies Migrate Through Texas? Monarch butterflies migrate through Texas in fall and spring, such as in September to mid-October or early November, towards the wintering grounds in Mexico. They move again in early March to late April towards their breeding sites in North America and Canada after passing through Texas.

Various factors affect the migrating patterns and number of these colorful flying creatures moving towards the wintering sites, as they face many challenges and sometimes die without reaching their destination.

Drought and dry season, decline in their population, habitat destruction in wintering sites, and climate and extreme weather changes affect their numbers.

What time of the year do monarch butterflies migrate through Texas?

Monarch butterflies are commonly observed in large numbers, migrating through Texas when the fall season arrives, such as in September and early October.

They almost move through this state in early November and fly towards the wintering grounds in Mexico. They are 12 times more concentrated in Texas during their migration than any other state of America when moving from Canada and North America to Mexico.

My friend told me that the peak time to observe their migration is from late September to mid-October, as thousands of butterflies take routes from Texas to Mexico.

Moreover, he told me that they take two routes to move through this state, such as the Central Flyway and Coastal Flyway. Moving through Central Flyway, they enter Texas by following the route around Wichita Falls through Hill Country, then crossing the border from Eagle Pass and Del Rio.

However, they take another route through the gulf coastal line of Texas from Beaumont towards the Harlingen border and Sierra Madre Range in Central Mexico, called the Coastal Flyway. It lasts from late October to mid-November.

In addition, my friend also explained their migration back to North America and Canada through Texas in spring, which usually starts from March to early summer.

Do monarch butterflies lay eggs in Texas during migration?

In early March, the overwintering monarch butterflies start appearing in Texas and search for fresh milkweed plants to lay eggs before they die.

The eggs hatch on these milkweed plants and start migration as a new generation toward their breeding grounds in Canada and North America.

The cycle repeats for multiple generations until they reach their final destination in Canada. These species have a lifespan of around 3-4 weeks.

However, the last or fourth generation born in late summer has a longer lifespan of 8-9 months because they again start their journey towards the wintering sites, hibernate there, and breed during their movements.

When do you see more monarch butterflies migrating through Texas?

Monarch butterflies pass twice through this state in America during migration, such as in fall and spring. However, millions of these beautiful flying insects are seen in fall during September and October.

Their number reduces in spring when they again fly through Texas to reach their breeding grounds because of the accidents during their long flights.

Moreover, many are killed by colliding with vehicles. Some species died due to environmental factors and climate changes in the wintering sites of Mexico.

Therefore, fewer migrating butterflies are seen in spring compared to the fall, as they experienced many harsh situations during their hibernation and temperature fluctuations in Mexico.

What factors affect the number of migrating monarch butterflies?

Various factors affect the number of monarch butterflies passing through Texas each time because they are sensitive and prone to changes in their surroundings.

Drought and dry season in Texas

The number of monarch butterflies that spend their winter in Mexico has reduced to a great extent in the past few years due to various reasons.

A survey conducted in their wintering sites by a wildlife foundation reveals that their numbers have reduced by many percent in the last few years because of the drought and dry season in Texas.

The migrating species do not find nectar-rich plants and milkweed to feed and store the fat in their bodies to spend the difficult wintering time in Mexico. They need a lot of water and nectar to survive through this journey.

My neighbor told me that his brother had lived in Texas for many years, and the locals of these regions said they had not seen many monarch butterflies migrating last year.

He said they have been facing the drought problem since last year, which affects the plant’s growth and feeding options for these species.

Decline in migrating butterflies population

Scientists estimated that the number of migrating monarch butterflies reduced by 53% from 2019-2020, and it kept on decreasing each year after this.

The overall decrease in the number of these species affects the concentration of butterflies passing through Texas each year.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Resources) added the migrating monarch species to the red list because their number has been reduced from 22% to 72% in the last few decades.

Many of them die during the migration. The increase in diseases and parasitic infections also reduces their population and causes these species to die before they reach their destination.

Habitat destruction in wintering sites

The habitat destruction in Mexico, where they migrate, causes a decrease in their population that moves through Texas in spring because they die around their wintering sites when they do not find a suitable environment to spend winter.

For example, my uncle in Mexico told me that the urbanization in different regions and the reduction in food resources and living sites caused a significant decrease in their population and the number of butterflies moving through Texas back to the breeding sites.

It makes survival more challenging because they do not find enough roosting sites in their wintering grounds and end up soon.

Climate changes and extreme weather

The harsh weather during migration and more exposed living sites in their wintering grounds cause a decrease in their numbers.

For example, the heavy rainfall and strong winds lead to death, and they cannot maintain their concentration while moving through Texas.

Moreover, the changes in weather patterns can disorient them when they move toward Texas in the fall or spring, and people notice a significant difference in their numbers.

What to do to help migrating monarch butterflies?

You should not wait for the government and organizations to start the conservation programs and contribute your parts as a local of the state to help the monarch butterflies.

Firstly, you can grow their native plants, such as mistflower and frostweed.

Frostweed becomes dormant in winter or freezing temperatures and blooms again in spring. It provides nectar to them and helps them survive the winter in Mexico by storing the fats.

In addition, you can grow the Mexican milkweed and other nectar-rich plants in your gardens if you live in regions where these butterflies stay during their migration.

What events do people celebrate for monarch butterfly migration in Texas?

People in Texas celebrate different events and festivals when monarch butterflies migrate. The annual event of Butterfly Flutterby in Grapevine is celebrated every October, and educational exhibitions, artwork, and costume displays are seen in the state.

In addition, the Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival is held in October every year when these beautiful butterflies migrate through the state.

Moreover, the Monarch Celebrations are held in Wildseed Farms in Fredericksburg, the largest wildflower farm, and they celebrate the migration of these colorful flying insects.

Furthermore, people relate them with many spiritual and symbolic meanings and celebrate many festivals during this season.

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