SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Georgians are being asked to mail in dead butterflies, moths and skippers to scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Alabama, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas residents should do the same, officials said.

The insects will be used to identify contaminants and environmental factors that could be contributing to population decline, according to the USGS. Scientists will look at the occurrence of pesticides and hormones among other substances.

Residents have between now and Nov. 1 to mail them in, though the collection efforts could continue into 2024. The address is as follows:

    1217 Biltmore Drive
    Lawrence, KS 66049

The insects must be larger than 2 inches, and must already be dead when collected. To ship them, put the dead insects in a resealable plastic bag (you can combine and send damaged or not fully intact specimens). If they’re not shipped within three days, you’re asked to freeze them to help preserve them.

Now, why are these six states included in the study? The USGS said they met at least one of three factors:

  • Locality relative to the Corn Belt (a region of the Midwestern U.S.)
  • Locality relative to the migration pathway of the Monarch butterfly
  • Presence of Confined Animal Feeding Operations (where animals are stabled and fed rather than let out to graze)

“There are some questions that can’t effectively be answered without help from a lot of people. It’s what makes citizen science so special and valuable,” said Julie Dietze, USGS scientist-in-charge of the effort.

Dietze said this kind of collection can help scientists now and in the future.

“Without the specimens, it will be far more difficult to answer questions related to contaminants and environmental health,” she added.