In from the Cold

“A familiar summer face appeared in our living room recently,” wrote Jolyon Oxley. “I’ve just found a Peacock butterfly in our chilliest room and followed the advice below.”

This Peacock butterfly seemed distressed at first but then settled down, taking advantage of the winter sun streaming onto the floor, and inconveniently preferring a spot where it could easily get trodden on.

According to Richard Fox, of the Butterfly Conservation charity,  Peacocks and Smaller Tortoiseshells commonly overwinter in houses and are awoken by the heating, though ours appeared in February. What’s the best thing to do? Rehouse the hibernating butterfly in a suitable location, recommends Richard:

“Catch the butterfly carefully and place it into a cardboard box or similar, in a cool place for half an hour or so to see if it will calm down. Once it has calmed down you might be able to gently encourage the sleepy butterfly out onto the wall or ceiling of an unheated room or building such as a shed, porch, garage or outhouse. Just remember that the butterfly will need to be able to escape when it awakens in early spring.”

four butterfliesPeacock, Painted Lady, Clouded Yellow and Smaller Tortoishell

The UK has 59 species of butterflies. Fifty-seven are resident species: two (see above) are regular migrants, the Painted Lady and the Clouded Yellow.

Butterfly Conservation — saving butterflies, moths and the environment

First published in Tidings, March 2020