Let’s take a look at how you can give them a helping hand this autumn:
- Feed the butterflies & moths
Many butterflies and moths in autumn they need to feed to build up a reserve for the winter.
This is why you may see many of them when the weather is mild and sunny.
They will feed on fallen fruit such as berries and apples, so don’t clear up all your windfalls just yet.
If you don't have any fallen fruit, put out some of your own, mushy bananas and soft mangos are favourites. If the fruit is fermenting you might even witness a tipsy butterfly!
- Leave untidy areas
Let some areas of you outdoor garden grow wild...less work for you and lots of great helps for butterflies and moths.
Brambles, dandelions, long grass and leaf litter may look as weeds for you but this are crucial for our butterfly and moth friends.
Some butterflies spend winter in a kind of hibernation amongst the leaf litter, while lots of moths spend the winter as pupae, all tucked up in their cocoons.
They do this in the top layer of garden soil or in piles of leaves and plant debris on the ground – what better excuse to save your back and do a little less gardening?
The caterpillars generally hatch after around two weeks and then eat almost constantly until they’re ready to pupate, shedding their skin a few times along the way to accommodate their extra bulk.
Importance of Ivy
Ivy flowers late in the year when other nectar sources are unavailable and is a great source of food for autumnal moths.
- Benefits of Buddleia
Buddleia is a great nectar source for garden butterflies during the summer but they can be encouraged to flower well into October in mild years.
Deadhead to prolong flowering period and then cut back to prevent the seeds spreading ( Buddleia can be invasive)
- Build a bug hotel
Build a unique bug hotel and create a perfect shelter for your garden wildlife.
You don't need a lots, you can use all your garden waste, like sticks, branches and leaves to create the perfect hideout for anything from ladybirds, hedgehogs, woodlice, toads, bumblebees and butterflies.
- Plant bulbs for pollinators
Now is the time to plant bulbs to provide spring colour and a valuable nectar and pollen source for pollinators emerging from their winter hibernation.
Plants such as Snowdrops. Crocuses and English bluebells are all excellent choices and favourites among the first spring butterflies.
- Let the nettles be
Nettles don’t need to be trimmed in the autumn as they will die back over the winter and there may still be some caterpillar activity.
Stinging nettles are vital to some of our most well-known butterflies.