Synonymous with summer sunshine, speeding swallows and swirling swifts under blue skies there should be white butterflies fluttering around the flowers. This should be the case but sadly it is not.

Last summer, our three species of white butterflies namely the small, green veined (pictured) and large, sometimes called the cabbage white and our only pest species,were abundant so where are they this year?

Of course we can point an accusing finger at all the usual suspects including inclement weather; habitat loss; pesticides and herbicides; toxic emissions from vehicle and aircraft exhausts; pollution; or a combination of all of them.

A few years ago I penned a limerick which is still relevant today and runs as follows.


A farmer once tried all he might

To rid his crops of the large white.

Day and night did he toil 

Till he poisoned the soil

And his cabbages died..... Serves him right !!


Up until the nineteen fifties butterfly collecting was a popular hobby, especially in Edwardian and Victorian times but that hardly mattered because there were plenty of butterflies around, populations were not diminished and unusual and rare species commanded high prices. Nowadays such a pastime would be frowned upon.

There is always a lull in June as spring species fade away and summer butterflies are just emerging. So. Let us hope that numbers improve as summer progresses.