Accidentally disturbed hibernating butterfly that now won't go back into hibernation.

Hi. I accidentally disturbed a hibernating butterfly yesterday. It was flying about and landing on the lights so I let it land in a cardboard box and put it in a dark place under a cabinet in a different room. I left the lid open a bit in case it wants to get out and hopefully find a new spot to hibernate but it's since been flying around the room again today. I've put it back in the box today with the gap again but I expect it'll make another appearance tomorrow. How do I ensure it survives? Should I feed it? I don't know what they eat that I can get quickly.

Apparently it thinks it's spring so it'll it might fly around and exhaust itself so should I just keep it in the box and hope it settles down into hibernation again? I can't release it outside as it'll die out there due to the cold and the shed is full of spiders. Any advice?

  • Morning.
    Any chance of a photo LD?

    My (very) limited knowledge of butterflies tells me that different species manage winter differently (although I could well be wrong).

    Best regards -
  • See this... 

    "However, this might not always be feasible, plus if they're in a living room and it starts to get warm, they'll probably wake up anyway.

    If your butterfly is already moving around, it's best to try to get it calmed down again so it will re-enter dormancy. If you can, catch it in a shoe box with ventilation holes, put the lid on and then put the box in a cool, dark place for an hour or so.

    The insect should then become sluggish and slow again, but don't simply put it outside on the garden fence and hope it will find its own place to hide. Instead, carry it somewhere sheltered and dry like a hollow tree or woodshed and gently place it inside."


  • October and November can be mild, so it could be part of the reason why the butterfly thinks its spring.

    If possible, allow it to acclimatise to the cooler temps and hopefully it will go back into hibernation.


    Flickr Peak Rambler