Our response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Situation More details

What happens to our insects over winter?

Sunday, October 27th 2013

We know as autumn approaches, Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers leave Foxglove and join the yearly migration south.   Amphibians head towards their hibernation sites on the reserve, even those tiny ones who have just left the pond this summer.  This small Common Toad had to be rescued as it was walking across the access road!

Young Toad

But what happens to the insects?  The Peacock butterfiles we see in spring often look a little worse for wear as they have spent the cold winter months in hibernation.  As the temperature rises these butterflies feed and then find suitable places to lay their eggs.  Caterpillars pupate and newly hatched adults can be seen on the wing from July.

Peacock butterfly on Fleabane

Many insects find the Fleabane flowers a good source of food.  However, to date, Speckled Wood has not been one of them.  According to information they enjoy Fleabane.  (A quest for next year?)  They do enjoy the sunny open glades and woodland edeges, where the males defend their territories and mate with females passing through.  This is one of the few insects that can spend the winter either as a caterpillar or a pupa.  Adults can emerge from April.

Speckled Wood butterfly

At this time of year the world of the spider is easily seen as thier webs are covered in dew and rain drops.  The female orb web spider lays her eggs, leaving them in an egg sac over winter.  They hatch in the spring.  She dies with the first frosts.

Orb Web spider

Seven Spot Ladybirds are now moving to their hibernation sites, in the middle of the Gorse, where they will be protected from predators.

7 Spot Ladybird in Gorse

Although few insects are seen overwinter, they all have ensured, by different strategies, that they will be on the wing next year.

(1) Comments:

Chris Meek responded on 1st Nov 2013 with...

Excellent blog: found it really interesting and informative. Good pictures too.

Leave a Comment:

Please complete this field, it's required. Your email address will not be displayed but it's required.

Your email address will not be displayed but it's required.

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Back to Top

Help Support Foxglove

Friends of Foxglove

The Friends of Foxglove Covert is for those individuals, families and organisations who would like to support the reserve through an annual membership subscription. Friends receive a regular newsletter and invitations to attend our various activities and social events.

More Details

Upcoming Events

Richmond Coffee Morning

Thursday 21st October 2021 | 9:00am - 12 noon

Come and enjoy a relaxing cup of tea or coffee and a 'sticky' at Richmond Town Hall.  There will be a raffle, tombola and a stall selling delicious homemade cakes!  All proceeds from this fundraising event go towards the running costs of the reserve. 

If you would like to donate any cakes or items for the raffle or tombola please take them to the field centre beforehand or to Richmond Town Hall on the day. 

No need to book, just turn up!

All About Fungi

Friday 22nd October 2021 | Start time 1:30pm

Join in for a stroll around the reserve to discover which fungi are fruiting and learn more about these fascinating species.

Booking is essential as spaces are limited.

In order to secure a place please call the Reserve Managers to make a minimum donation of £5 per head in advance. This event is free for Friends and Volunteers.


Undergrowth Newsletter

Undergrowth Newsletter Winter 2020/21 Issue 54

Find out what has been going on at the reserve during the lockdown!

Read this Issue

View All The Newsletters

Recent Blog Posts

Blog Archive