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rabski

Butterflies

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An odd topic, but I've always loved butterflies and think them to be some of the most attractive creatures on the planet. I never did the sticking pins into them thing, I just always enjoyed watching them. And much to my father's (not) delight, bred a few in the greenhouse for release. Seeing as he started off his veg in there, I avoided any of the whites, or I'd have probably been homeless.

This is not an 'I remember how it was' sort of post. However, I do remember that years ago, in the summer any buddlieia would be covered in tortosieshell, red admiral and peacock butterflies. Anywhere you went in the countryside, any serious clumps of nettles would show all the evidence of the caterpillars.

It's mid June, and I presume probably the season. This morning I went dog walking in a piece of protected land that has hundreds of acres of wild flowers and native species. I walked a long way past more nettles than you could imagine and did not see even one 'tent' suggesting any caterpillars. I have two buddliea and other butterfly-friendly plants in the garden, but for the last two or three years, any of the once common species are now an incredibly rare sighting.

Is it just my location, or have others noted the same?

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Super Wammer

just been walking in a wild meadow and spotted a few , i guess there may well be fewer around with all the pesticides etc 

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20 minutes ago, rabski said:

A I have two buddliea and other butterfly-friendly plants in the garden, but for the last two or three years, any of the once common species are now an incredibly rare sighting.

Is it just my location, or have others noted the same?

2016 we had an incredible amount of butterflies, 2017 nowhere near as many and this year we had one, yes one, very early just before the very, very cold spell and none since. I just wonder if that short spell of minus double digit temperatures is to blame 🤔

We have a couple of buddleia too but this year looks a non-starter for butterflies so far which is disappointing. We live near a nature reserve which we visit regularly and their June Newsletter reckons sightings are well down. Conversely my wife's drive to increase bee numbers with a range of plants is proving very successful and we have lots of them although I was quite taken aback by a huge swarm in our apple tree at the beginning of last week. Fortunately I know a local farmer who keeps bees and he popped over and dropped the entire thing into a cardboard box and drove off with it 😀 They are now happily resident in one of 10 hives and contributing to his honey retailing !

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29 minutes ago, hifinutt said:

just been walking in a wild meadow and spotted a few , i guess there may well be fewer around with all the pesticides etc 

I spotted a few meadow browns and some blues this morning, but the larger species just seem to have vanished. Pesticides, global weather changes? I don't know, but not seeing them is really sad in summer.

There are still a few specialists that can offer pupae (living) online. I may well just buy some for the hell of it and hope that some stay in or near the garden when they hatch. Most won't, of course, but it's a pleasant thing to do.

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1 minute ago, Sumdumgi said:

2016 we had an incredible amount of butterflies, 2017 nowhere near as many and this year we had one, yes one, very early just before the very, very cold spell and none since. I just wonder if that short spell of minus double digit temperatures is to blame 🤔

We have a couple of buddleia too but this year looks a non-starter for butterflies so far which is disappointing. We live near a nature reserve which we visit regularly and their June Newsletter reckons sightings are well down. Conversely my wife's drive to increase bee numbers with a range of plants is proving very successful and we have lots of them although I was quite taken aback by a huge swarm in our apple tree at the beginning of last week. Fortunately I know a local farmer who keeps bees and he popped over and dropped the entire thing into a cardboard box and drove off with it 😀 They are now happily resident in one of 10 hives and contributing to his honey retailing !

Mirrors what's happened here.

For three years running we've had a bumble bee nest underground at the end of what we laughingly call a patio. Small species, but they're friendly things and just buzz around the garden doing good things. Overall, bee numbers seem large here. By comparison, butterflies seem almost non-existent.

Had some quite intersting moths at night, but again the large species are notably absent. We used to get some of the hawk species, which are beautiful, but not for a few years now.

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4 minutes ago, rabski said:

Mirrors what's happened here.

For three years running we've had a bumble bee nest underground at the end of what we laughingly call a patio. Small species, but they're friendly things and just buzz around the garden doing good things. Overall, bee numbers seem large here. By comparison, butterflies seem almost non-existent.

Had some quite intersting moths at night, but again the large species are notably absent. We used to get some of the hawk species, which are beautiful, but not for a few years now.

Down in the sw uk where we are.Our first bud has only just appeared on the buddliea.So might be a little early for some sp.This year ive found common blue,whites,comma,clouded yellow,small copper,green hairstreak,peacock,ringlet.Also moth,privet hawk , elephant hawk,cream spotted tiger moth,white ermine,buff ermine,lots of carpet moth.A few others but unless i have my pictures in front of me ,my mind is blank.Lots of caterpillars.My hobby is taking pictures of insects.

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9 minutes ago, rabski said:

 We used to get some of the hawk species, which are beautiful, but not for a few years now.

Found this Elephant Hawk last week - amazing, first and only time I've seen one and it came and went within minutes ...

Elephant Hawk.jpg

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Super Wammer
Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, mattykyuss said:

Down in the sw uk where we are.Our first bud has only just appeared on the buddliea.So might be a little early for some sp.This year ive found common blue,whites,comma,clouded yellow,small copper,green hairstreak,peacock,ringlet.Also moth,privet hawk , elephant hawk,cream spotted tiger moth,white ermine,buff ermine,lots of carpet moth.A few others but unless i have my pictures in front of me ,my mind is blank.Lots of caterpillars.My hobby is taking pictures of insects.

fab , love pics of insects , you must post more of them . i rather like snails !! the coloured type , one of my relatives used to rent a place from a world famous naturalist and they had millions and millions of coloured snails on the trees in a little village in  oxford . incredible really 

42060048074_cecf176f02.jpgc_nemoralis_rot by , on Flickr

Edited by hifinutt

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This is from our facebook.Use it for family and the insect site.If anyone wants to friend us ,just let us know who you are on here.mat

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Re pesticides I've had an interesting experience this year.

For the past aeon I've been an agronomist, carefully choosing pesticides to use depending on well researched thresholds.

This year I took on a neighbouring cereal business but he chose to keep his existing advisor and the amount of cypermethrin prescribed is ridiculous.

I haven't used any on cereals since the introduction of neonicotinoid seed dressings and prior top that it was rare apart from 1st week in November if aphids were about.

The farming industry has a fundamental problem in that agronomists usually profit from sales and they also feel the need to apply insecticides just in case there's a problem.Many lack a basic understanding of population dynamics as well.

Just be thankful that Dursban, a nasty broad spectrum insecticide,  has been withdrawn for use on wheat, this was applied to much of the wheat in UK every summer for years to control Orange Wheat Blossom Midge; I never used it and never had a rejection for midge damage despite growing the most sensitive crop.

Apart from that it has been a cool, wet, late spring and we haven't got a single Buddleia flower yet.

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