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Help butterflies get their beauty sleep!

Tuesday 24th January 2017

This red admiral butterfly should still be hibernating! Photo, Amy LewisThis red admiral should still be hibernating! Photo, Amy Lewis

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust is asking people to help protect butterflies which are coming out of hibernation too early.

The earliest sighting of a butterfly outdoors this year was on the 2nd of January, when a red admiral was spotted fluttering around some ivy at Upper Langwith. This is a record early sighting for Derbyshire.

There has been just one week since the last butterfly of 2016 and the first of 2017. There should be three months!

An early grey moth was seen far too early on the 8th of January – this species shouldn’t be out until mid-March - in Ripley, then the first peacock butterfly of the year was seen flying in Mickleover during a sunny spell on the 9th. This means that there was just one week between the last butterfly sighting of 2016 (a brimstone in Glapwell on the 25th December) and the first one of 2017.

Butterflies are an important indicator species for a healthy ecosystem; areas rich in butterflies are usually rich in other invertebrates and pollinators too, helping to pollinate flowers and food crops.

If you do see or accidentally disturb a butterfly inside you the best thing to do is place it carefully somewhere cool and dry like a shed or garage so they can resume hibernation until the outdoors reaches a warmer temperature; in Derbyshire this is normally mid-March.

You can also help us to map the changes in the hibernation habits of butterflies and moths by sending in your sightings to us.