The Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative is calling on Ohioans for a second year of milkweed pod collections.
The project started in 2015 as a seven-county pilot, and hundreds of Ohioans worked together last fall to collect approximately 200 pounds of common milkweed seeds, totaling over 19 million seeds.
Milkweed is the only host plant for the monarch butterfly for egg laying and caterpillar rearing. It also serves as a food source for monarchs as well as many other pollinator species. The disappearance of milkweed across the U.S. has contributed to an 80 percent decline of the eastern monarch butterfly population over the last 20 years.
In order to change this, collection efforts in 2017 can be made better by following these tips.
• Before collecting seed, become familiar with the common milkweed to avoid harvesting pods from similar plants such as hemp dogbane and swamp milkweed
• Collect the pods when they are dry, gray or brown. It’s very important to check this.
• If the center seam pops with gentle pressure, they can be harvested.
• Store the pods in paper bags; plastic bags collect unwanted moisture.
• Before turning them in, put the date and county collected on the bag.
• Keep the pods in a cool, dry area until they are delivered to the nearest collection site.
The Fulton SWCD is collecting pods this year at 8770 State Route 108, Wauseon. Hours are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Collections are accepted Sept. 1 to Oct. 30.
For more information, contact Marci Lininger at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lori Stevenson at Lori_Stevenson@fws.gov. For information on milkweeds visit http://u.osu.edu/beelab/milkweed-seed/.