How to spot hibernating butterflies this winter
Associated with warm summer days, five of our common butterfly species spend the winter hibernating. Find out how to spot hibernating butterflies during the cold winter months.
Britain's hibernating butterflies
Five of our 59 resident species of butterfly spend the winter as hibernating butterflies, though few studies have been done as to precisely where and how they hibernate. These species enter hibernation unmated, and pair up in the spring.
Where to find hibernating butterflies
Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshell and a few Red Admirals often choose cold, damp buildings and tunnels – also used by many bats.
World War II pill boxes have long been favoured, by both bats and butterflies, and also hibernating Herald moths. You can see Peacock butterflies hibernating in pill boxes on Studland Heath, Dorset.
How you can help
Central heating is disastrous to hibernating butterflies, as it causes them to desiccate – so if you find a butterfly hibernating in your house, rouse it gently and relocate it to the garden shed.
Away from our predator-free houses, hibernating butterflies remain vulnerable to predation by spiders and sparrows.