Brimstones are one of the first butterflies to be seen in the Spring. Shaped like a leaf, the male is often buttery yellow and it is thought most likely that it is because of them that Butterflies got their name.
They lay eggs on only one type of plant – the Alder Buckthorn – and the females will fly miles to find them. We planted 25 whips of these trees earlier this year specifically to help these butterflies.
Its lovely when things go to plan and I was delighted when I discovered recently that every single one of the 25 young trees had small Brimstone caterpillars on them. It had worked!
However, these are only very small young trees and the caterpillars have been growing bigger every day leading to problems:
Many of the Alder Buckthorns now have no leaves left on them whatsoever. Stripped clean. I have been moving caterpillars to trees with more leaves so that they still have something to eat but I hope that we have enough Alder Buckthorn leaves available for all the caterpillars to get as big as they want to get to before they pupate.
When you start noticing a bit more of whats going on in the natural world around you, there seems to be no end of things to worry about…