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23 Apr

After reading my previous blogs, I trust by now you understand what is happening to milkweed, why we and monarch butterflies need it, and where to find it in order to plant in your own garden.  This blog post will enlighten you to the dangers of handling milkweed.  As I am no expert, I have used various websites for information to pass along to you, such as monarchwatch.org.

Be sure to wear disposable gloves when handling milkweed plants since it’s white, milky sap can irritate your skin and cause damage to your eyes.  Disposable gloves are inexpensive and can be found in any pharmacy department.  It’s very important that you not touch your face with gloved hands, as perspiration can cause the sap to find it’s way into your eyes.  If sap does get in your eyes, the irritation can be painful and eventually can cloud your cornea.  You should seek medical attention immediately if it gets in your eyes. 

Once you are finished handling the plants, slide your gloves off by pulling the cuff of the glove on one hand with the other, sliding it down the hand inside out, without touching your skin with your other gloved hand.  I suggest you practice this method before you begin to handle the plant.  Finally, discard the gloves and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. 

It’s good to know too that milkweed is poisonous to animals if consumed.  If you have a pet that enjoys chewing plants, it’s best to stay away from growing milkweed.  The toxicity of the plant is what protects the monarchs as it keeps predators from eating them as caterpillars.  Keep young children away too, but be sure to educate older children about the need to take precautions. 

I hope these posts have been helpful and that you are now ready to join in on efforts to bring back the monarchs!  My next blog will include information on what to include, besides milkweed, in your butterfly garden.  After all, if you feed them, they will come! 

 

 

 


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