‘Billions’ of butterflies blanket local farmer’s fields

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HECKER, Ill. - It's that time of year when Thor Lohrberg spends a lot of time in his alfalfa fields near Hecker, Illinois.

When he came to finish Wednesday's mowing, a swirl of bright oranges and yellows stopped him in his tracks.

"I thought, 'I didn't see this many yesterday' and then as I made a few rounds, they started getting thicker," Lohrberg said.

An explosion of butterflies, of all different kinds, swarmed his tractor. So he called his wife, Christine, to share the moment.

"He said 'Hey, if you're not busy, you need to come over here. There's got to be about two billion butterflies' so I came over," Christine Lohrberg said.
"This is way more than we've ever seen before."

But why in Hecker and why right now?

Endomologist Chris Hartley, from the Butterfly House in Chesterfield, shared his theories. One has to do with Hurricane Harvey. Hartley said the butterflies he identified in Lohrberg's fields include Alfalfa Sulfer- which are all over Texas.

"The high winds of Hurricane Harvey could have played a role in getting them to move north," said Hartley.

His second theory is that the farmers are lucky enough to witness a massive migration.

As the Lohrbergs keep this in their memory banks and get back to the mowing, they're trusting a theory of their own. Christine said the butterflies on their land is "one of God's gifts."