Red Admiral Butterfly Population Exploding

CHICAGO (CBS) — If you keep your eyes open wandering Chicagoland, you may see a solitary apple tree or lilac bush being swarmed by butterflies – dozens, possibly over a hundred butterflies at a time.

As WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports, the swarms are red admiral butterflies, and they are currently undergoing a Midwest population explosion.

“We’ve had reports from all over the city of people looking at trees in their yards like red bud or apple or lilac, and seeing dozens of red admirals crawling over the flowers,” said entomologist Douglas Taron of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Taron says the red admirals all seem to know where to get light and eat.

“They seem to be really attracted to particular trees that are right at their height of nectar production, and large numbers of butterflies seem to be finding the same trees,” Taron said.

Taron says the red admirals are black, with red or orange bands on the upper wings.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports

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