Butterflies in peril – what you can do

A recent report from UK’s Butterfly Conservation and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology has found that more than three quarters of the UK’s Butterflies have declined in the last 40 years. Many species are struggling and some species that were once common, such as the Small Heath, are now experiencing severe declines. Though on a positive note, some of the more endangered species such as the Pearl-bordered Fritillary are showing some signs of recovery thanks to intensive conservation measures.

So as we approach the end of 2015 why not make it part of your New Year’s resolutions to do something for our precious pollinators – butterflies, bees, hoverflies and more.

Here are some simple things you can do.

  1. Plant some flowers in your garden. In my garden in the west of Ireland pollinators like all types of herbs (sage, rosemary, lavender, oregano, calendula and in particular borage). Lupins and other old cottage variety plants are great for bees too. Wildflowers such as ox-eyed daisy, clover, vetch, scabious are all valuable. Comprey is a very valuable pollinator plant
  2. Don’t forget many trees also provide pollen, in particular willows (provides an early food source) and fruit trees such as apples
  3. If you have a vegetable garden let things flower. In my garden, flowering brassicas are one of the best early plants for bees
  4. Leave a quiet corner of your garden undisturbed, with long grass (great for bee nests) and some nettles (the only food plant for caterpillars of the tortoiseshell and peacock butterfly)
  5. Avoid using pesticides and herbicides
  6. Send your bee and butterfly records to the National Biodiversity Data Centre
  7. And enjoy the buzz from your garden




About Murtagh's Meadow

As an ecologist I have always had an interest in nature. I love gardening and would spend all day outdoors if I could. I also enjoy taking photographs and writing. I live in the west of Ireland with my young family.
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