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Good spring and early summer conditions mean that there is likely to be more butterflies than usual this autumn.

Although species struggled during the wet and cold summer holiday season, the warm weather earlier in the year enabled more butterflies to fit in an extra generation, so an impressive autumnal emergence of species such as Comma, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood is predicted in the coming weeks.

Despite their association with summer, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Large White, Small White, Painted Lady, Small Copper, Common Blue and other butterfly species can be seen into early November if mild conditions persist.

A warm spell of weather this month could provide a timely boost to garden sightings as butterflies fly in to take advantage of the abundant blooms in garden borders while most flowers in the countryside have gone over.

Wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation wants gardeners to keep butterfly spotting over the autumn and early winter by taking part in the Garden Butterfly Survey, sponsored by B&Q, to help find out just how late in the year butterflies can still be regularly seen.

Butterflies are important indicators of the health of the environment. By helping them, gardeners can help create a better home for wildlife, especially beneficial insects such as bees that play a vital role in pollinating wildflowers and many crops.

Butterfly Conservation head of recording Richard Fox said: “Gardens become increasingly important for butterflies at this time of year. Nectar, the flight fuel for most of our butterflies, is in short supply in the countryside as we move into autumn, yet many of our garden flowerbeds and borders are still full of colour. For some butterflies it is a matter of life and death; species such as the Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Comma, which hibernate as adult butterflies, have to feed up and lay down substantial fat reserves in their bodies in order to survive the winter. If they can’t find enough nectar they simply won’t make it through to breed next spring.

Others, such as the Painted Lady and Red Admiral will be taking on fuel reserves that they need to migrate south to warmer climes around the Mediterranean.”

The aim of the Garden Butterfly Survey is to assess the changing fortunes of butterflies in gardens and, ultimately, to understand how important gardens are for our butterfly populations and what gardeners can do to help.

Butterfly sightings can be entered online at gardenbutterflysurvey.org to help build a picture of the fortunes of these beautiful insects.