Diane Allen, former Neptune Township Librarian, says she was “bitten by the Monarch bug” years ago and has since become an expert on rearing them in captivity, their travels to and from Mexico and their life cycle.

Allen also previously worked at Deepak Gardens, part of the Monmouth County Park System for 9 years where she said the Monarch Butterfly program grew.

“It’s a beautiful butterfly, it’s a very likable bug,” Diane said.

She explained how Monarchs travel 2000 miles from New Jersey to their home in Mexico.

From there when the weather begins to warm, they begin their journey back to New Jersey, stopping along the way, most likely in Texas, to lay their eggs, and then die.

Their children and grandchildren continue the journey and the same process to New Jersey and then on to Canada.

The amazing thing is the grandchildren and even great grandchildren who end up in New Jersey have never been to Mexico and yet they instinctively know must travel back there as the new mating season begins.

Diane said there are four things needed to make sure these lovable bugs thrive and propagate including: 

1) water 2) food 3) shelter and 4) a place to rear their young.

She said the biggest challenges facing bugs is the loss of habitats and pesticide use.

Monarchs need milkweed to survive, but the use of pesticeds and herbicides are reducing its growth.

“There goes their habitats,” she said. “There are landscaping choices that can reduce the need for pesticides.”