Hibernation means a period when the insects slow down their body function to live without food. Some butterflies survive through the winter as eggs, caterpillars, or pupae. Other species of butterflies hibernate as adults during winter.

As the first step towards hibernation, the butterflies find a shelter that will save them from cold. This could be a cave, under leaves, in a shed, or even inside a house. All butterflies in hibernation are absolutely harmless. The small tortoiseshell and the peacock butterfly are two well-known types of European butterflies that hibernate inside houses or buildings.

Besides hibernation, some butterflies often go into dormant modes during long dry seasons. For example, the gaudy African commodore precis octavia, stays dormant for a long time in compact roots with hundreds of individuals.