This past week many of us woke up to below freezing temperatures. Obviously, this did not bode well for the smattering of butterflies that were still visiting our backyard nectar plants. While it did spell the end of the year for the majority of these butterflies, I am sure not all of them succumbed to the frigid weather.
This is great news for those of us that enjoying seeing these flying gems fluttering about the yard as long as possible. This short list of this hardy butterflies includes the American snout, eastern comma, mourning cloak, sleepy orange, common buckeye, little sulphur, and American lady.
Most of Georgia’s 170-plus species of butterflies survive the winter as eggs, caterpillars, or pupae. The vast majority of the monarchs and most cloudless sulphurs escape cold weather by migrating to warmer climes. The adult butterflies that we occasionally see during the winter spend most of their time hibernating in such places as hollow trees, log piles, beneath loose bark on trees, behinds the shutter of our houses or in abandoned buildings.
The butterflies that my wife and I have seen since the onset of freezing weather have been nectaring at red salvia plants growing in large containers hugging the back wall of our home.
Butterfly lovers like my wife and I hate to say goodbye to the insects that bring us so much enjoyment.