A wildlife expert says the discovery of butterflies in a garden in November is “very worrying” – as they are meant to be hibernating.
Gill Marchant, 73, was “amazed” when she saw four Red Admiral butterflies on her dahlia plants.
And three days later she was left shocked again to find another butterfly in her garden at her home in Haddenham, Cambs.
But experts have said it’s worrying to see the insects at this time of year, because they should be hibernating.
Butterflies normally start to hibernate in late summer or early autumn and then usually stop at the start of March.
Gill said: “I was really surprised because we had a couple of nights before where we had a slight frost.
“We’ve also had torrential rain – which butterflies don’t tend to cope with terribly well.
“I then saw another one in my garden and I was just amazed because we had another cold night.”
Although Gill was ‘surprised’ to see the insects in her four-acre garden, she is concerned that the reason they were there is because of global warming.
She’s also worried that there is ‘very little food’ for the butterflies and that they ‘won’t survive hibernation.’
Gill said: “I was surprised to see them but I think it’s because of global warming.
“The problem is that there is very little food for the butterflies and that’s going to impact their survival.
“They won’t survive hibernation or flying to a warmer country.
“I’ve never seen them since the beginning of September – it’s been very windy here so it’s not butterfly-flying weather at all.”
Paul Hetherington, 58, is the director of fundraising a Buglife – the only organisation in Europe that’s devoted to the conservation of all invertebrates.
He agrees with Gill and says ‘It’s very unusual’ to see the insect at this time of the year.
Paul said: “It’s very unusual to see butterflies at this time of the year in November.
“It’s all basically down to the fact it’s not got cold enough for them to start hibernating, which is what they would normally do.
“You would normally find them in sheds or garages this time of year or some people even find them in their wardrobe.
“I haven’t seen butterflies in November ever.”
Paul also agrees with Gill and believes that climate change has caused the butterflies still not to go into hibernation in November.
He said: “It seems to be getting caused by climate change – we are getting warmer and wetter winters then what we used to have.
“There’s far less snow and ice about now.
“That’s really worrying because the extra moisture we tend to get in the winter is really bad for things like mold growth.
“If you get mold growth on you when you’re a hibernating insect, then it’s likely to prove fatal.”
Although it is rare to see the insect at this time of year, Paul says ‘there’s not really anything you can do’ to help them if you do see one in your garden.
He said: “There’s not really anything you can do, because if it’s not cold enough for them to hibernate then they won’t hibernate.
“But if you find them hibernating, then don’t disturb them or put them back outside because that’s going to be bad for them.
“They are hibernating for a reason because it’s got to a cold temperature.
“They use up far less energy when they are hibernating.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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