0 Washout August spells trouble for British bees

A washout August is dampening prospects for Britain's bees and butterflies after a promising start to the summer.

That's according to the National Trust which said this year was on course to be 'the best summer for wildlife in over a decade' before the wet and windy weather rolled in.

Many winged creatures and insects have their breeding habits disrupted by prolonged damp spells.

This also brings with it an increased risk of viruses, pathogens and mould for the critters.

Matthew Oates, a nature and wildlife expert for the National Trust, said: 'After a highly promising spring and early summer, the good weather was disrupted and the rains came down.

'This was especially damaging for warmth-loving insects, including many butterflies and bees.

'It means we haven't had a genuinely good summer since 2006 - the wait goes on.'

Mr Oates said wildlife in the north and west have had a 'particularly rough time' while the south east has enjoyed 'quite a good summer'.

The picture for fauna and flora has not been all doom and gloom, with some wildlife benefiting from the fine early summer weather.

Early seasonal heat saw some insects appear much earlier than usual, including one of Britain's most elusive butterflies.

The rare purple emperor was spotted at Bookham Common in Leatherhead, Surrey, in June.

This was the earliest recorded sighting of the beautiful bug since 1893.

Meanwhile the early summer heat and later persistent rains are likely to lead to a good autumn for fungi.

It could also benefit spider populations, the National Trust said.

Prospects for autumn fruits, seeds, nuts and berries are also strong, after the fine spring weather.

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