Protect our butterflies…
This project is all about engaging with as many people as possible to promote a greater number of butterfly-friendly habitats. There are loads of resources from professional wildlife conservation organisations and I have gathered together some of the best here.
Why are butterflies important? Firstly, an abundance of butterflies is a bright, colourful indication that there is a broader, healthy ecosystem. In essence, if butterflies thrive, so will a host of other invertebrates
Secondly, but butterflies and moths are a vital part of the food chain. Range of birds and bats, for example, feed on on butterflies and moths.
There are loads of other reasons too, but the last I’ll mention is that they’re pollinators. So along with bees, wasps and others, we and the rest of the natural world need them to do their thing.
So… what can you do?
Leave a wild patch
Leave some lawn unmown, however large or small, and provide some wild places for a whole host of wildlife. See ideas from RSPB and Natural History Museum. You’ll find that flowering plants were in your lawn all along, and the flowers, seeds, etc will encourage butterflies, other pollinators, grasshoppers, beetles and much. much more.
Leave the leaf piles
Leave those untidy piles of leaves, logs, etc, and save yourself some work. They may be home to overwintering butterflies – chrysalises (plus loads of other great wildlife – maybe even hedgehogs!) so they make up a chunk of this year’s wildlife. See Chris Packham’s Facebook post, and his poster
Use less pesticide (or none). There’s a fair bit of research on this and it is neonicotinoids that are the main problem. We hear much about this with respect to bees, but they affect butterflies too. This chemical is systemic, which means it is absorbed by the plants and is then found in every part of the plant; pollen, nectar, leaves. All of it – so it isn’t about the butterflies touching freshly applied pesticide. Basically, we need zero neonicotinoids in our environment!
What can I do in my garden/patio/balcony/window box?
- Gardening for butterflies – it’s all here: gardening, monthly blog, species, etc (Butterfly Conservation)
- Butterfly gardening in Dorset – A genuine Dorset garden, with loads of ideas (Dorset branch of Butterfly Conservation)
- Your garden borders (Hampshire & Isle of White Wildlife Trust)
- A gardening blog (Butterfly Conservation)
- Wildlife Gardening (Jenny Steel)
- Butterflies in your garden (RHS)
- 10 plants for butterflies (Gardener’s World)
- A video guide to helping butterflies by Scottish Wildlife Trust (via Youtube)
- Seed packets for butterfly-friendly plants:
What’s in your patch?
Caterpillar and butterfly spotting:
- Caterpillar identification – some common species (Wildlife Trusts)
- Caterpillars – fact sheet (Butterfly Conservation)
- Butterflies – webpage (Butterfly Conservation)
- Butterfly identification – common garden species (Wildlife Trusts)
- Gardener’s guide to butterflies (National History Museum)
- Garden butterflies (Butterfly Conservation)
- Garden moths (Butterfly Conservation)
- Day-flying moths (Butterfly Conservation)
- Day-flying moths – a pocket guide (Butterfly Conservation)
- Farmland butterflies (Butterfly Conservation)
Learn more about the butterfly life-cycle:
- Moths & butterflies for children (muchingcaterpillars.org)
- Lifecycle of moths (Butterfly conservation)
Get involved with your local Butterfly Conservation team
Butterfly surveys – what’ve you got?
Counting and letting the professionals know so they can monitor populations – Click here to take part