'Painted Ladies' Swarm San Diego Due to Recent Rain - NBC 7 San Diego
Breakfast Buzz

Breakfast Buzz

Your morning dose of need-to-know news, weather and more.

'Painted Ladies' Swarm San Diego Due to Recent Rain

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    'Painted Ladies' Butterflies Swarm San Diego

    NBC 7's Audra Stafford spoke with local bug experts, who explain why San Diegans are seeing so many butterflies. (Published Thursday, March 14, 2019)

    Have you noticed more butterflies fluttering around San Diego County? You're not alone.

    Winter rain has not only brought beautiful blooms to San Diego County but has increased by the tens of thousands a population of "painted ladies."

    That's because caterpillars feed on those wildflower blooms as they journey from Mexico to the Pacific Northwest to lay their eggs, bug experts with the Living Coast Discovery Center (LCDC) said.

    Beautiful Blooms: It's Showtime at Anza-Borrego DesertBeautiful Blooms: It's Showtime at Anza-Borrego Desert

    "We actually saw some of the lowest numbers for a lot of species of butterfly throughout California, so this is exciting," LCDC education specialist Aiyana Reissman said.  

    Painted ladies look similar to a monarch butterfly but are smaller and have a much more intricate design, Reissman said. 

    See Monarchs Year-Round at Encinitas Butterfly FarmsSee Monarchs Year-Round at Encinitas Butterfly Farms

    "They’re going to have a different design as well as different colors throughout their bodies too, making them a very pretty animal to look at," she said. 

    The swarms of butterflies fly very quickly and erratically, at times reaching speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. The species is found on every continent except Antarctica and South America. 

    CLIP-Flower Bloom 2019 Anza BorregoCLIP-Flower Bloom 2019 Anza Borrego

    (Published Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019)

    Painted ladies will likely be visible for a few more weeks as they continue their journey north but Reissman said if wet weather persists, it is possible for painted ladies to breed continuously through the year.