Minnesota may soon be a state without its state butterfly.
That’s according to a report released last week by the Center for Biological Diversity, which found that by 2019, a weed-killer designed for use on genetically modified cotton and soybeans will be used on over 60 million acres of the monarch butterfly’s migratory habitat — with dire implications for the already imperiled insect.
The weed-killing chemical, called dicamba, is extremely harmful to the milkweed monarchs depend upon for reproduction. Milkweed is the only plant monarchs will lay their eggs on, and is the sole food source for the monarch caterpillar. Each spring, coinciding with the emergence of milkweed, monarchs migrate north, from their winter habitat in Mexico, back to northern climates like Minnesota, laying their eggs along the way.