Painted ladies are swarming in Israel and it's not because of Purim. These are butterflies and they are migrating from Africa northwards in their hundreds of millions. Look out your window from the Negev to the north and you will likely see some, especially if you live on the coast.
Native to temperate zones, the painted lady (Vanessa cardui) has erratic migration habits but generally can be trusted to move en masse in the spring, and sometimes after the summer as well, from North Africa through the Middle East and Israel to Europe.
Dubi Binyamini, head of the Israeli Lepidopterists Society, says his Cypriot counterparts are already eagerly awaiting the arrival of the insect. From that island the swarm will continue onto Turkey, he said, from where it will proceed onwards.
The painted ladies do get about. The Worldwide Painted Lady Migration organization of scientists and butterfly fans detected movement from Iceland to south of the Sahara. Their migration route can be even longer than that of the monarch butterfly, Binyamini observes.