Countryside butterflies and bees have suffered for some time due to habitat loss resulting in fewer insect-friendly flowers and widespread use of pesticides including neonicotinoed which should be banned from 2019.

Once abundant species such as the small tortoiseshell and common blue are down by about 75%

However, the recent prolonged heat wave has been ideal for butterflies allowing them to fly, mate and lay eggs during endless days of sun and warmth and this augurs well for forthcoming broods. Some species may even squeeze in an extra brood if the weather is favourable.

White butterflies are already benefitting with the highest population seen for many years. Many people call all white butterflies 'cabbage whites' but only one, the large white can realistically be called 'cabbage' as it lays large batches of eggs on cabbages and the like and is our only 'pest' species. The small and green-veined whites do not harm crops.

The marbled white (pictured)  really a member of the 'brown' family exhibiting an attractive black and white chequered wing pattern and normally a noted sedentary species of chalk downland, is extending its range. This summer it has been seen on Wimbledon common, Morden Hall park and surprisingly in Brompton cemetery although how it arrived there in such an isolated green space is a mystery.

Of course, butterflies love sunny weather but prolonged hot dry conditions can affect them adversely.

In such circumstances, butterflies and indeed other creatures may enter a state of 'aestivation' which means that around midday they become torpid with a reduced metabolic rate, rather like a mini hibernation.

This particularly applies to tropical countries but recently our butterflies may have briefly rested deep in vegetation

with temperatures climbing to thirty degrees.