Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Butterflies galore but where are the ladybirds?

Posted by Rosie

Peacock butterfly.  Image from Butterfly Conservation
After a Winter with no snow and no prolonged cold spell, it would appear that the butterfly populations have benefited greatly.  From the first sightings of yellow Brimstones and watchful Peacocks with their huge warning "eyes" in February there has been a positive explosion of butterflies this year.  Luckily the wild flowers are fantastic this year too so there is plenty of nectar for these much loved insects.

Tortoiseshells, Red Admirals, Commas and others I don't recognise have all been fluttering aroung in large numbers this year.  Today I saw my first Orange Tips and yesterday a Blue.  As a vegetable gardener though I have to say the Cabbage Whites are a bit less welcome as I sense they are already eyeing up my cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower seedlings.  Caterpillar control will be starting early this year!

Despite all these colourful butterflies fluttering I have still not seen a ladybird this year.  Lily Beetles - yes, Carpenter, Honey and Bumble bees a plenty but no ladybirds.  And I know other people have as I have seen pictures on their blogs but I haven't.  Stamps foot!

So, no ladybird pictures and I'm afraid my camera skills are not up to snapping butterflies .... you will have to make do with this butterfly that I caught a couple of years ago.  



In England they are very rare and restricted to East Anglia.  Over here in France they are more common although we are at the Northern end of the range so do not see them every year.  It is a Swallowtail butterfly.  The caterpillars feed on plants of the carrot family including dill and fennel and are as fabulous looking as the adult.  They even have small red "horns" they protrude in a seemingly menacing manner when threatened. The adults are on the wing in July and August so Summer guests may have the chance of seeing them.

Have you noticed greater numbers of butterflies this year and have you seen a ladybird?  On second thoughts, don't tell me if you have seen the latter or I may well sulk!

Post Comment Love

16 comments :

  1. Now you mention it I haven't seen any ladybirds, but then butterflies haven't been more numerous than normal either here. We get those Swallowtail butterflies a lot in the south and some little bright yellow ones and LOTS of carpenter bees - HUGE ones!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's quite rare to see Swallowtails here but I NEVER saw them in the UK. I love Carpenter bees and the way they shine in the sunlight. And they love my sage flowers.

      Delete
  2. Ah, you see, I've seen loads of ladybirds, but not that many butterflies! My buddleia is starting to come to life, though, and I've just ordered some butterflyweed, so hoping I'll lure them in soon :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope they arrive soon Jocelyn. Send some ladybirds this way would you please ... although make sure they are the native ones , not the invasive harlequins.

      Delete
  3. I'll send some ladybirds your way. They have been hibernating in the corners of our timber beams and dive bombing us! I love butterflies so am very jealous of all your pretty ones. Can't wait to see some more. #PoCoLo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope they are not Harlequin ladybirds you have Margot - they are becoming a big problem.

      Delete
  4. Not a lot of butterflies. Only seen like 2 small ones in a park near here. Same number with ladybirds too. I want to see let lots of both of them please! #pocolo

    ReplyDelete
  5. I saw a large one on a window of a large office building when I was going past on the bus the today, I couldn't quite make out what it was, but it must have been huge for me to notice it. I've seen plenty of little ones in my own garden and sorry but loads of ladybirds too x #PoCoLo

    ReplyDelete
  6. I haven't seen a single ladybird either this year! So weird! Great pics though #PoCoLo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you - lets hope the ladybirds make their appearance soon!

      Delete
  7. We saw hundreds of butterflies when we moved to Somerset last year and we are hoping for the same this year. They really are stunning. Thank you for linking to PoCoLo :) x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have been here in France nearly 7 years and I reckon this is our best ever year for butterflies - they must have liked the relatively mild winter we had.

      Delete
  8. I always make my garden butterfly friendly; not many ladybirds here but my parents near Cambridge have hundreds. Unfortunately they're mostly the harlequin variety...still pretty to look at but became quite a nuisance infestation! Lovely photos :) #pocolo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We got caught in a swarm of harlequins at a train station in Kent - it was not very nice :( On a more positive note though I have just sown some butterfly attracting flowers at the end of my veg patch.

      Delete

I love receiving comments and I do read every one but if you are simply here to spam me with a link, guess what ... I won't publish it.