No one would like butterflies if they had a 9-foot wingspan, made high-pitched shrieks between 3 and 4 a.m., rutted on the front lawn with languorous delight, and carried off small house pets only to drop the bones a few hours later. If that was the case, we would have harpoon guns on the roof. We would build bug zappers the size of water towers, and summer nights would be regularly ruined by a loud BZZZZP! and a sound like a water balloon exploding.

But they are small and delicate and pretty, and they have that great back story — you know, ugly squishy crawly thing spins a disgusting sleeping bag and comes out looking nice. But why are there fewer monarch butterflies?

Turns out they need milkweed to eat and lay eggs, and we don't have much anymore. Earlier this year, the feds announced a $3.2 million plan to plant lots of milkweed along public right-of-way spaces along Interstate 35, making a "highway" for the insects as they return from Mexico, presumably with hangovers and henna tattoos.

Who could complain? It's possible some people think it's the butterflies' fault — shoulda packed a lunch, pal, any fool knows you get hungry around Kansas.

Right. Thank you for participating. The rest of us see no problem with proving sustenance for migrating butterflies and hope the authorities will plant massive amounts of milkweed at the Hinckley exit, where everyone stops because it's halfway to Duluth. You also hope Duluth is prepared, and the last news out of the city does not consist of the mayor, covered with butterflies, screaming HELP US THEY'RE EVERYWHERE because then butterflies wouldn't be so beloved anymore.

It might be cheaper just to heap a few big flatbeds with milkweed and drive slowly, hoping the butterflies follow. Just be warned: more monarchs probably means more monarch predators, which means an east-west traffic of wasps will collide where I-35W meets I-94. If ever you've thought "this interchange is a nightmare, but at least it doesn't have a billion needle-butt homicidal insects," well, just wait. • 612-673-7858