Beneficial insects play a significant role in the well-being of the Sonoran Desert. Desert Botanical Garden’s new Fall Butterfly Exhibit: Mighty Monarchs and the Plant Protectors highlights the positive effect beneficial insects have in the Sonoran Desert and in your own backyard. 

“The Fall Butterfly Exhibit gives guests the opportunity to be surrounded by butterflies, learn about the butterfly life-cycle by viewing caterpillars and chrysalises in the emergence chamber as well as discovering other beneficial insects that are just as cool,” says Dr. Kim Pegram, insect ecologist and exhibits specialist. 

Meet some of the insects: 

  • Monarch butterflies are known for their remarkable migration patterns, but they are also a key pollinator. Explore the benefits of monarch butterflies and other butterfly species that are native to the Southwest. 
  • Lacewings are predatory and eat other small insects including aphids. These beneficial insects can reduce the use of pesticides in your garden by managing the pest population. Make your garden a safe place for lacewings by planting native plants, including an insect hotel and refraining from using pesticide.
  • Ants are commonly known as a major pest, but they provide many benefits. Ants eat small prey which will helps limit the need to use pesticides, they can turn over the soil in your yard providing more nutrients to your plant and can help disperse seeds throughout your yard. 
  • Native bees are less well known then their relative the honey bee, but these pollinators are just as important. The Sonoran Desert has one of the highest populations of native bees than anywhere else in the world. Include an insect hotel in your yard and you may get these solitary, stingless pollinators as guests.
  • Moths are known to many as pests when they are in caterpillar form, especially the tomato hornworm. What many people don’t know is moths are an excellent pollinator of night-blooming plants.

Learn more about these beneficial insects at the Fall Butterfly Exhibit: Mighty Monarchs and the Plant Protectors starting Sept. 30 at Desert Botanical Garden. Enjoy additional activities every Saturdays, Oct. 8- Nov. 18 from 1-3 p.m. at the Butterfly Pavilion.