Although this summer has not given us all that we expect, it has not stopped the monarch butterflies from displaying their glorious colours and entrancing us with their aerial ballets for many weeks.
The butterflies are still laying their eggs on the swan plants even as autumn days shorten.
The caterpillars resulting from these and also the February weeks just past, become the adults that will fly north to hibernate for the winter. But will they? The menace of the Asian paper wasp is still present in spite of temperatures dropping at night.
In my garden almost every leaf on the swan plants shows where a caterpillar has hatched, eaten its first meal and then disappeared.
The wasps patrol the plants daily and snatch up the centimetre long young hopefuls to leave hundreds, maybe thousands of small holes where they have been.
My advice, given two years ago, asking that the wasp nests suspended from a sunny wall or fence be searched out and destroyed with a squirt of flyspray at dusk, followed by detaching the nest next day and either burning or freezing it for 24 hours seem to have not been taken.
Please do something or the monarch butterflies will disappear altogether.