BRISTOLVILLE, Ohio (WKBN) – On Wednesday, a young girl showed up to the Trumbull County Commissioners meeting, but not to talk about taxes or roads. Instead, she wanted to talk about a certain plant that the county overlooked when mowing the side of the road.
Many people might not even notice the milkweed growing on the side of Hoffman Norton Road in Bristolville. But 12-year-old Rayna Lambert realizes the plant’s importance.
“There’s this large amount of this very bountiful crop and most of them are pretty high. Then when I came home, it was just all mowed through and I’m like, ‘Rats!” she said.
Lambert is upset because the county mowed all the milkweed on her road.
She says the plant is where monarch butterflies lay their eggs. They also use it as a food source.
“Since the caterpillars will only eat milkweed, you will only find the egg, caterpillar and chrysalis on the milkweed plants,” she said.
Lambert says she’s been finding butterfly eggs on these milkweed plants and helped them grow into full-grown butterflies since she was 5 years old.
She has released over 20 butterflies this year and about 75 in the last seven years, all in an effort to protect them from wasps.
“The milkweed gives them [caterpillars] their toxicity. When they’re really little, they haven’t built it up, and wasps will actually lay their eggs inside of the caterpillar,” she said.
Lambert says once the caterpillar goes into a chrysalis, which is similar to a cocoon, the wasp will hatch, killing the caterpillar. But, Lambert says there are ways you can help.
“Well, the one thing you can do the most to help out the monarch butterflies is plant milkweed,” she said. “If there’s more bountiful amounts of it, then the monarch butterflies will be able to lay their eggs on it, which will help bring up the population.”
Studies say that population is in decline.
So, in response to the mowing, Trumbull County Commissioners said that mowing that road is a normal process, but they will now try to work something out to protect the plants next time.