About one billion small butterflies, known as Painted Ladies, are flying to the Pacific Northwest to breed and lay eggs from the Sonoran Deserts of Mexico. The abundance of rain has caused the invasion into inland sections of Southern California.
Tom Merriman, Director at Butterfly Farms in Encinitas, says conditions have been perfect for the species. The wet winter fueled vegetation growth in the Sonoran Desert in Mexico, giving caterpillars a lot to eat.
“You’re going to see butterfly after butterfly after butterfly. Every two, three seconds you’re going to see another butterfly coming through.”
However, it’s hard to predict when and where they’ll be throughout the next few weeks.
“The conditions were just perfect, I mean there could be over a billion of them, we don’t know. I’m hearing people from Palm Springs to Vista,” said Merriman.
The butterflies flying at speeds of 20 to 25 miles per hour and are feasting on the explosion of plants due to the heavy rains.
The Painted Lady butterfly is one of the more common butterflies in North America and is not endangered. They are a distant cousin of the monarch butterfly.
It takes the larvae about one month to reach development, so if the weather doesn’t get too hot or too dry soon, the high volume of butterflies could carry on for another month or even up to three months.