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Painted lady butterflies invade southern Quebec

Click to play video: 'Painted lady butterflies invade Quebec' Painted lady butterflies invade Quebec
WATCH: The painted ladies are invading! Global's Felicia Parrillo heads to the Montreal Insectarium to find out more about the colourful butterflies everyone is talking about – Sep 18, 2017

Millions of painted lady butterflies have invaded southern Quebec.

They’ve been spotted in gardens, parks and even on sidewalks.

“We didn’t have the most fantastic summer, so by seeing all these butterflies, you feel like you’ve been given this gift,” said Montreal West resident Carley Decarie.

Though for many, the sight is a pleasant one, some people are puzzled as to why the butterflies have landed here.

READ MORE: Quebec entomologists concerned about Monarch butterfly populations

“The kids love them too,” said Lachine resident Lynn Macdonald.

“They see them, even at school lately, you go in the yard, there’s butterflies everywhere, but I don’t know where they came from.”

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Head of research and collections at the Montreal Insectarium, Maxim Larrivée, said this year, the butterflies have reproduced in large numbers.

READ MORE: ‘Ominous’ drop in Monarch butterfly numbers in Mexico, experts say

“They were able to, over winter, reproduce in their over-wintering grounds, which is southern United States and northern Mexico, in really high numbers,” he said.

“When they started migrating back north, there were really strong southern winds early in the spring, so they made it back to Canada and Quebec.”

A painted lady butterfly in Montreal, Monday, September 18, 2017. Felicia Parrillo/Global News

Larrivée explained butterflies usually fly up to 300 to 400 metres in the air.

They’re flying low this time to look for nectar on flowers and replenish their energy levels before they head off.

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READ MORE: Monarch butterfly conservation efforts target unused green spaces

“We had this nice weather that came nine days ago, but it came with southern winds, which is completely contradictory to the kind of winds they’re looking for to make their migration south,” said Larrivée.

“They’ve been on the ground here waiting for good currents to start their migration. “

With the temperatures changing, experts say they won’t be around for much longer.

If you want to share photos or sightings of painted lady butterflies to help with research at the Montreal Insectarium, you can do so here.

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