Last year, we all came together to gather 200 pounds of milkweed pods! That’s over 19 million seeds! With this huge success, we’re ready to do it again!

With the decline in monarchs, many people are wondering what can they do to help save this beautiful species. One answer is to plant milkweed, but perhaps you don’t have an ideal location to spread the seeds. Well, there is another solution! The Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative (OPHI) is once again preparing for their Annual Milkweed Pod Collection from September 1st through October 30th. The seeds collected will be used to establish new habitat for the monarch butterfly. With your help, we can stop the rapid decrease in the monarch population!

Milkweed is the only host plant for the monarch caterpillar as it goes through its life cycle. Photo from: http://the3foragers.blogspot.com/2011/07/milkweed-recipe-milkweed-pods-and.html

When collecting seed pods, follow these simple guidelines:

  • Pick the seed pods when they are dry. They should be gray or brown in color. If the center seam pops with gentle pressure, they are ready to be picked.
  • When collecting pods, store them in brown paper bags. Plastic bags will create moisture causing the pods to mold.
  • On the bag, mark the county from where the milkweed came from and the date it was collected. Usually the milkweed you will see is common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) but if you are not sure of the type click here.
  • Store the seeds in a cool, dry area until dropped off at the closest pod collection area.
  • Harvesting the pods does NOT cause harm to the established milkweed. The milkweed plant will continue to come up in the following years. However, do not harvest all the pods from a particular area.
  • When collecting pods be sure to wear appropriate clothing for the outdoors. Disposable gloves are recommended when picking or handling milkweed pods. Milkweed sap is an eye irritant.

The monarch butterfly is on a rapid population decline due to habitat destruction in their wintering grounds of Mexico and lack of milkweed in breeding areas like Ohio.

“Common and swamp milkweed are essential to the survival of monarch butterflies in Ohio,” states U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologist Marci Lininger. “Ohio is a priority area for monarchs. This generation of monarchs is also responsible for starting the life cycle all over again in the spring and laying the following year’s first generation of monarchs in late summer.”

Milkweed pods can be dropped off at our office, 3140 South State Route 100, Tiffin. For more information contact one of the following individuals:

If Seneca Conservation District is not your local SWCD office, click here to get contact information for your local district. If you would like more information about harvesting milkweed seeds, watch this video! Get out and do your part to help save the monarchs!!

 

Want more information about monarchs? Check out the links below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Sarah Schott

I have enjoyed hunting, fishing, and the outdoors my entire life. My enjoyment of writing, reading, and teaching others leads me to want to share my passions of the environment. I have also found conservation to be very important and I am well aware of how important conservation choices are! Through my work with the District, I like to deliver information that is helpful, inspiring, and challenging for our readers to make even better conservation choices of all our natural resources!

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