Butterflies bounce back thanks to hot summer

The hot summer has helped butterflies bounce back after a string of poor years, an annual survey has revealed.

Warm, sunny spells in July and August significantly boosted numbers compared with 2012’s washout summer, which was the worst year on record for the insects, wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation said.

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Butterfly spotters counted almost twice as many individual butterflies on average in this year’s Big Butterfly Count, in which members of the public spend 15 minutes counting all the butterflies they see, than last year.

Overall, four times as many butterflies were recorded, with a record-breaking 46,000 people counting more than 830,000 butterflies and day-flying moths across the UK over three weeks in July and August.

Both the small white and large white did well, with numbers up by more than 300 per cent for each species. They occupied the first and second spot for most commonly spotted butterflies, while peacock butterflies came in third. Garden favourite the small tortoiseshell recorded its best result in the survey this year, coming sixth in the top 10.