The monarch butterfly – known as the “king of butterflies” – is one of the most recognizable and adored insects. But did you know they are as important to our environment as they are beautiful? The monarch butterfly plays an essential role in the growth of healthy flowering crops by pollinating them and contributing to biodiversity.
Unfortunately, monarch butterfly populations continue to fluctuate while habitats suited for monarch butterflies are also in decline. Some of the factors include the loss of milkweed in the United States, habitat loss in the Mexican forests, climate change and other weather events. In order to raise awareness about the importance of this special insect, Bayer Hawaii is partnering for the third year in a row with Sharing the Butterfly Experience on its Monarch Butterfly Kit giveaway. Three winners will receive a monarch butterfly kit which includes everything a budding butterfly farmer could need to nurture a monarch caterpillar through the stages of growth into a fully-grown butterfly.
“Butterfly kits give people an up close view of the amazing process of metamorphosis,” said Megan Manley, production associate at Bayer Hawaii. “We hope these kits will allow families to appreciate these amazing creatures both for their beauty and the important role they play in supporting biodiversity.”
The butterfly kits are assembled by Sharing the Butterfly Experience, the only Hawaii member of the International Butterfly Breeders Association and Association For Butterflies. Each kit includes 15 live caterpillars, a 24-inch by 12-inch habitat to protect the caterpillar from predators, a picture book on How to Raise Monarch Butterflies, a bag of food to feed the caterpillars, a crown flower plant for the next generation and instructions on how to raise monarch butterflies. The crown flower plant is one of the most commonly found milkweed plants in Hawaii and a main food source of monarch caterpillars.
Entering the sweepstakes is simple:
· Visit Bayer Hawaii on Instagram (@bayer4cropshi) and like the promotion post
· Post your own photo of a butterfly or butterfly food plant on your page and tag @bayer4cropshi and include the hashtags #BayerHawaii #MonarchButterflySweepstakes
· In your post, tell us why the butterfly is important to you
The promotion runs from June 1-5, 2020. Three winners will be selected via a random drawing and announced on June 10.
“It is an incredible learning experience for families to share. The keiki can keep a journal of the daily changes while learning to care for the caterpillars,” said Darlene Loo-McDowell, founder of Sharing the Butterfly Experience. “The joy they share when they release their butterflies is priceless! Tons of photo opportunities and great memories to share for years to come.”
Monarch butterflies undergo a life cycle of four stages. A monarch caterpillar hatches from a tiny egg laid by a female butterfly, then goes through five moltings while feeding on crown flower. From there, it turns into a chrysalis or pupa, and then finally emerges as a fully developed butterfly. The entire growth process takes up to 20 – 30 days.
In 2015, Bayer Hawaii implemented a program to plant crown flower to increase the butterfly’s milkweed habitat and protect biodiversity. Crown flower, known in Hawaii as pua kalaunu, is said to be the favorite flower of Queen Liliuokalani who often wore it as a lei. Today, hundreds of crown flower plants can be found thriving at Bayer Hawaii farms across the state.
Families interested in more resources for their keiki about the importance insects in agriculture like the monarch butterfly can access a free download of the Hawaii Backyard Bugs coloring book here. The coloring book highlights some of the small but mighty insects that kids are likely to find in their own backyard, with each page containing original artwork and quick facts about the bug’s role in Hawaii’s environment.
See full sweepstakes rules HERE.