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Swarms of Painted Lady butterflies spotted in North County

Posted at 6:28 PM, Mar 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-06 21:42:27-05

ENCINITAS, Calif. (KGTV) - In recent days, swarms of butterflies have been spotted across North County, from Escondido to Vista to Fallbrook.

They're Painted Lady butterflies, migrating north from Mexico.

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.

He says he hasn’t seen a migration this vast in years. They're traveling at about 20 to 25 mph headed north to Oregon where they’ll breed, lay eggs and then die; the next generation will continue on north.

The Painted Lady is smaller than the Monarch, and the two are relatives.

If you'd like to donate to Butterfly Farms in Encinitas, funds are needed to help maintain the organization’s services to the community and to science.