The Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative is calling on Ohioans for a second year of Milkweed pod collections. This project started in 2015 as a seven county pilot and last year 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 the 80% decline of the eastern monarch butterfly population over the last 20 years.
They are working hard to change this and area residents can help. The following tips can help make it better than the last collection:
• Make sure that before you collect seed, you become familiar with the common milkweed to avoid harvesting pods from similar plants such as hemp dogbane and swamp milkweed.
• It is best to collect the pods when they are dry, grey, or brown.
• If the center seam pops with gentle pressure, they can be harvested.
• Store the pods in paper bags; plastic bags collect unwanted moisture.
• Put the date and county collected on the bag when you turn them in.
• Keep the pods in a cool, dry area until you can deliver them to the nearest collection site.
The Fulton SWCD is collecting pods this year. They are located at 8770 State Route 108, Wauseon. Their hours are Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Collections started Sept. 3 and go until Oct. 31. If you have questions regarding milkweed collection, contact Marci Lininger at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lori Stevenson at Lori_Stevenson@fws.gov.