Caterpillars keep wandering off

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  • #15450


    What can I do with caterpillars who wander off my swan plants?

    Usually they are the larger ones looking for a place for their chrysalis. Does anyone else have this problem? It is a problem because I don’t always find them and they die or make their chrysalis where the butterfly will not birth itself successfully. I am in Wellington. Thanks for reading this.


    PS These caterpillars have been in their form for more than a month. The weather has been cold and windy. Will this affect the butterflies?

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  • #31065


    well, they CAN be affected by temperature… and also they may have a different habit in your neck of the woods…

    a monarch from freshly-lain egg to adult can be as fast as 24 days TOTAL for the ones I raise…



    Thanks for your reply. I have had chrysalis for more than the time you specify and the butterfly has successfully emerged. I have about 20 right now all approx 14 days in chrysalis!



    also… if you wish to provide a place for them to pupate…
    a pole of a meter high, with an upside-down tupperware container (large) on the top of it (shaded from the sun) will be a very preferred spot… but don’t take it personally if they decided to take off somewhere else.

    rule of thumb…. they like ledges with an overhang (so no water can run towards them)… out of the sun, and out of the rain.

    They need to hang for over an hour once they eclose(emerge) from the chrysalis… and they need to be DRY for that.



    Monarch Cats have been known to wander more than 10 meters from their plant.
    That doesn’t mean they get to their preferred spot, however.

    they are sneaky little devils… so you may not find their chrysalis…

    now… however, what do you mean about them being “in their form
    “? if you are meaning in pupae state (chrysalis), then anything after 14 days you can deem them as DEAD! they should have emerged any time between 7-12 days (depending on temperature) …

    Monarchs that I know of (I am in Mexico) do NOT over-winter in pupae state… and that is a typical stage to die (pupae) when affected with OE or other forms of parasites…

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