The summer of 2013 has been a wonderful one for butterflies. Our glorious weather during July, August and September has meant that many species that had not been seen for some time have made a colourful comeback.
An online survey saw that 46,000 people had logged more than 830,000 butterflies from Scotland to the Scilly Isles. The survey recorded four times as many butterflies this year than 2012, which had been the worst for forty years.
But it is not only sunshine that butterflies need. Along with all other pollinating insects, loss of habitat is the crucial factor in the dwindling numbers of butterflies. In the past, wild flower meadows on farm land provided the habitat required for many species to thrive but the advent of industrial farming saw the ploughing up of these meadows and the excessive use of pesticides aided the sharp decline in pollinators.
Farmers are now re-instating these long lost meadows in an attempt to bring back species that we so desperately need to pollinate our crops. Yields from these crops have shown considerable improvement where pollinating insects abound and other wildlife has returned.
There are many ways in which gardeners can help encourage butterflies that include growing the type of plants that offer them food and breeding grounds but these same gardeners may not be happy with the abundance of both the large and small cabbage white butterflies that appeared this year. Skeletal cabbage plants are not required!
Victoria Nicholls. Transition Deal.