Four-year-old Malakai Ostrosser couldn’t help but be all-aflutter Friday morning.
“It tickles,” the youngster gushes, with just a hint of anxiety, over the sensation created by the delicate, brightly coloured painted lady butterflies on his neck. “Get it off, get it off.”
Malakai was among enthusiasts to turn out to the Eva Bene Butterfly Garden for the release by White Rock & Surrey Naturalist volunteers Laurence Assoignon and Frances de Montreuil.
The blustery morning created the “perfect” temperature for the occasion, Assoignon said, noting they would have quickly flown off if it was too hot.
“If it’s cool, they won’t fly too far,” she said.
Assoignon said she raised the four dozen – which included red admirals – from eggs collected in the garden, which is located in Centennial Park.
It is her second year of raising the insects, and Assoignon said she is hopeful an anise swallowtail that is currently in the caterpillar stage survives for the next release.
“I saw the butterfly release the egg,” she said. “My caterpillar’s about half an inch at this point.”
Last year, morning cloaks, painted ladies and milbert’s tortoiseshells were raised and released.
“The garden has developed into another thing… to increase the population,” Assoignon said.
De Montreuil noted that theft of the garden’s plants continues to be a problem. Peace Arch News reported on the issue two years ago, and it’s still a “regular” occurrence, she said, noting a honeysuckle was among the recent victims.
The crime endangers the butterflies and other species that call the well-cared-for green space home.