Quick note on this Saturday’s Field Day. We will be there rain or shine, and have indoor presentations , if needed, if rain keeps us from seeing insects outdoors during part of the day. Please come join us for this free event!
All of a sudden, painted lady butterflies have exploded onto the scene here in central Nebraska. They are fluttering around all the flowers in our yard and are abundant in our prairies as well. Painted lady butterflies are migratory, but this latest flush isn’t due to a new set of arrivals from further south. Instead, a new batch of adults has just emerged after spending the last several weeks as caterpillars in prairies and other locations – including soybean fields.
In soybean fields, the caterpillars are known as thistle caterpillars and feed on the leaves of the bean plants. According to my father-in-law Orvin Bontrager, a long-time agronomist, they don’t usually do enough damage to impact yields, though the damage can look a little scary to farmers. For the rest of us, there’s nothing scary about these welcome accents to wildflower patches everywhere. Here are a few more photos from this week of painted ladies in my yard and nearby prairies.
(Fun fact – painted lady butterflies are found on every continent except Antarctica and Australia. They also some make migratory flights that make monarchs look like amateurs. Speaking of monarchs, they inhabit a larger slice of the earth than you might be aware of too… Don’t get me started, I could spout insect trivia all day!)