How to help the problem of a decreasing Monarch Butterfly population

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(Photo: tdlucas5000 / Flickr / MGN)

(AP) — The monarch butterfly was categorized by scientists last week as endangered.

Populations of the iconic orange-and-black butterfly have plummeted over recent decades because of habitat loss, pesticides and herbicides, and climate change.

What can home gardeners do to help the monarch?

The first thing is planting milkweed.

It’s the only plant on which monarchs lay eggs and which monarch caterpillars eat. Choose the right milkweed for your region.

The National Wildlife Federation has an online database to help select plants native to your region.

Adult monarchs need other kinds of plants too, specifically ones with nectar-bearing flowers.

Avoid pesticides and herbicides, even ones labeled natural or organic. And consider setting up a butterfly puddling station with water and a warm rock.

Categories: Associated Press, News, US