Brace yourself for the insect invasions

Summer time is perilous, judging by some of the recent headlines in the Daily Telegraph:

Wasp Hordes poised to invade British GardensArmy of Flying Ants descend on BritainSwarm of Millions of Ladybirds infests farm.

It’s enough to make you flee indoors and hide, with all windows sealed shut.

But one invasion is described in words that don’t invite fear and loathing: Billions of Butterflies expected in GardensThe mass arrival of migratory Painted Ladies caused a sensation earlier in the year, and their offspring are now hatching. Richard Fox of Butterfly Conservation calculates that “it is possible that we could have up to a billion Painted Lady butterflies by early August.”

The photo of the Painted Lady (Cynthia cardui)  is from the excellent Cornish Nature site, where Steve Jones describes observing Painted Ladies in April in the south of Spain, when they had recently arrived from Morocco.  Then in July he notes how the offspring of that generation have made it to Cornwall.  The next chapter in the saga is now unfolding.

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