CLEVELAND — What if you could help increase the survival of butterflies for future generations by collecting a pod from a plant that some just mow and cut down? From now until the end of October, the public can help foster habitats for monarch butterflies by collecting milkweed pods for the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative.
Because Ohio is a critical stopping point during the southward migration for monarchs going to Mexico, the presence of milkweed across the state is essential to their survival. The milkweed is the only host plant that the monarch butterfly uses for egg laying and caterpillar rearing.
From now through Oct. 31, the Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District will serve as a pod collection station for residents to drop off milkweed pods from established plants.
The district has some guidelines for those looking to help monarchs by collecting the pods:
- To collect the seed pods from a Common Milkweed plant it is best to pick them when they are dry and gray or brown in color. If the center seam pops with gentle pressure, they can be picked. You can prevent the rest from popping open by gently putting a rubber band around them.
- Do not pick them when they are green - the seeds will not be viable.
- Collect pods into paper bags or paper grocery sacks. Avoid using plastic bags because they attract moisture.
- Please mark on the sack: the county in which the Common Milkweed pods came from and the date collected.
- Store pods in a cool, dry area until you can deliver to the closest pod collection area.
- Don't take them from the Cleveland Metroparks or any other parks.
Drop off location between 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District
3311 Perkins Ave, Suite 100
Cleveland, OH 44114
After Hours: Leave them in the drop off bin located on the west side of the building by garage door - off E. 33rd Street.