Countryside butterflies and bees have suffered for some time due to loss of habitat 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 hot sun and this augurs well for forthcoming broods. Some species may even squeeze in an extra brood if the weather is favourable.

White butterflies are really benefitting with the highest population 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 (pictured) do not harm crops.

The marbled white ( really a member of the brown family ) and normally a noted sedentary species  of chalk downland is spreading its wings  and this summer 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 days but even 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 semi-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 when temperatures exceed 30 degrees.