Flowers and butterflies are both big parts of what makes summertime in West Michigan so much fun!

Unfortunately, butterflies have been hard to spot this year.

Why?

Last year's hot summer and this year's cool, wet start to spring have had a negative impact.  But the weather is only a part of the problem.

Freep.com explains:

Besides the weather, part of the problem is development of prairies and grasslands, farming practices that have all but eliminated milkweed and other native plants from corn and soybean fields through the heartland, and suburban landscaping with nonnative plants. Combined, these factors have wiped out huge swaths of habitat that used to lure and feed these delicate insects.

Recent walks around West Michigan have led to disappointment for local enthusiasts.  WZZM reports:

Holli Ward, executive director of the Michigan Butterflies Project based in Jenison, near Grand Rapids, says she has seen disappointingly few monarchs this year, the type she studies most.

"We go out and are looking, looking, inspecting thoroughly," she says. "On a good day, we're looking at hundreds of milkweed stalks - every week, twice a week since early June. We have not seen a single egg or caterpillar."

This summer's number of butterflies could be an indicator of what to expect more often in the future in West Michigan.  Let's hope that butterflies and butterfly enthusiasts are able to reverse the trend.

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