“Painted Lady Summer” begins as butterflies swarm the UK in mass migration

Painted Ladies have invaded the United Kingdom.

The arrival of the beautiful orange, black and white butterflies is a once-in-a-decade phenomenon known as a “Painted Lady Summer.”

Steve Johnson, environmental advisor with the University of Glasgow, has been tracking the butterfly bonanza around campus.

The butterflies are common to the UK, but the massive migration of the species from North Africa so far north happens as weather and food conditions have been ideal.

“They fly at a speed of 30 miles per hour,” Johnson explained. “But it’s still a huge migration for such a small insect up to Scotland.”

During 2009, the last big Painted Lady year in the UK, some 11 million of the butterflies were counted in the UK.

The photo opportunities have been great for shutterbugs again this year.

Hot weather helped bring the beauties farther north much sooner.

“The #paintedlady butterflies have definitely arrived in #Edinburgh,” according to the Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh. “There’s an incredible influx of them enjoying @thebotanics right now.”

Remember not to touch them.

Their wings are delicate — but some may choose to land on you.

People have been reporting their sightings, which helps with conservation, and they are just everywhere in the region.

Enjoy it while it lasts.

Photos University of Glasgow/Twitter

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Recovering newspaper reporter.

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