Surrey Wildlife Trust have offered tips for residents staying home during the coronavirus pandemic to help butterflies bloom in the county when the warmer weather arrives.

While restaurants are shut nationwide, SWT said residents "can still open ‘caterpillar cafes’ in our gardens this spring" to help boost butterfly numbers in the summer despite the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

One of the best ways to encourage caterpillars ahead of their transformation into butterflies is to take a step back from weeding one's garden too heavily:

"Top tip number one is don’t weed the garden everywhere. Some caterpillars love to binge out on weeds such as nettles, dandelions and brambles.

"Probably the most persecuted of all plants, the common ‘stinging’ nettle, is in fact one of the favourite foods for the comma, peacock, red admiral and small tortoiseshell caterpillars.

"But fear not, as gardeners know - not all nettles sting. The red dead-nettle and white dead-nettle don’t sting, they are great early nectar sources for bees, look pretty in flower and are tasty for caterpillars too."

Dandelions and brambles are also great for catterpillars and butterflies, the SWT said.

It added:

"Garlic-mustard, also known as Jack-by-the-hedge, is a top caterpillar foodplant of the green-veined white and the orange-tip.

"Other weeds we often remove from gardens are common sorrel, which is great for small copper caterpillars, thistles for painted lady caterpillars and wild teasel for red admiral and peacock caterpillars."

SWT said that gardeners should later watch out for the hanging pupae of caterpillars in their chrysalis form as they turn into butterflies (they look like shrivelled hanging leaves).