The Borders is bracing iteself for a once in a decade influx of butterflies winging in from southern Europe as part of the longest butterfly migration in the world.
The Painted Lady is a common immigrant that migrates in varying numbers from the continent to the UK each summer, where its caterpillars feed on thistles.
But around once every 10 years the UK experiences a Painted Lady ‘summer’ when millions of the butterflies arrive en masse.
The last mass immigration took place in 2009 when around 11 million Painted Ladies descended widely across the UK with the butterflies spreading into the most northerly parts of Scotland.
Since then the UK has experienced five years with below average numbers but scientists are hopeful that 2015 could be very different.
Painted Ladies are experiencing their best year on the continent since 2009. The offspring of these butterflies could be UK bound imminently.
Barry Prater of Butterfly Conservation East Scotland told The Berwickshire News: “Pleasingly, when the UK had its previous Painted Lady ‘invasion’ back in 2009, plenty were seen across Scotland and we recorded some high numbers in the Borders.
“It’s a butterfly which is regularly seen feeding on garden flowers, particularly buddleia bushes, so people should be able to spot some over the coming two or three months if we get a good quantity coming over. This will tie in nicely with the annual Big Butterfly Count which Butterfly Conservation organises – this year it takes place over three weeks (July 17-August 9) and all people need to do to take part is find a spot to see some butterflies and count all they see for just 15 minutes.”