TEANECK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A butterfly shortage has prompted a call for people in the Tri-State area to help where they can.

As CBS 2’s Emily Smith reported, butterflies play an important role in nature and can even keep your garden free of pests.

They are one of the most beloved seasonal species and can be found almost everywhere in the world. But the number of sightings are getting lower every year.

“We love them but I just noticed lately you don’t see them for years. If you’re lucky you see one or two,” one woman said.

That’s why Bergen Audubon Society President Don Torino said the focus is one Monarchs, a popular type of butterfly no longer making itself at home in the area.

“(Is this a crisis?) I think it is and I think most scientists think it is,” he said.

But there’s good news. The shortage is something that can be reversed.

The monarch butterfly mostly migrates from Mexico and sticks around where it finds its food source: milkweed.

So the lack of milkweed is at the root of the problem.

“This is something today you can get in your car and go buy some milkweed, put it in your yard,” Torino said.

Experts suggest all you need is to plant one to be helpful. And the fight to bring butterflies back is not just confined to New Jersey. Anyone anywhere can do this to help save the Monarch butterfly.

You can purchase milkweed at some plant stores. It also grows wild along many roadsides.

It’s often classified as an overgrown weed, and thrown out by road cleaning crews.

A lawn filled with perfected planted flowers can be a dream setting, but without milkweed, don’t expect to see any beautiful butterflies.

To help save the butterflies in the area, the Bergen Audubon Society is donating milkweed plants to schools and community gardens.

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