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    Hi we have many caterpillars and they have decimated the plants. I have tried pumpkin and they were not even slightly interested. I am feeding them on telegraph cucumber and they are thriving. We have had over ten caterpillars make crysalis’s after feeding on cucmber for over a week. They tend to eat the skin first and then the white flesh. If the cucumber runs out, there is a mass evacuation from the plant so we have to keep a watch. Going through a large telegraph cucumber a day.

    We have over 50 chrysalis’s at present that we can see, there are others on bushes that we have not found.

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    Chabeda – where are you? About a year ago we told the people who send in posts about Monarchs about pumpkin etc being an alternative food and no-one believed us! So I’m pleased that you now agree with us.

    Your diary is a sensible idea in MonarchWatch. Don’t forget that it’s only the bigger (or last instar) larvae that should be fed this alternative food – otherwise you’ll have problems with malformations etc.

    Good to hear from you! Please keep posting.




    I believe we are the first people in the world to report that Monarch caterpillars can eat yellow squash.

    I am posting updates here.



    We were running out of milkweed.

    So yesterday we tried feeding them English cucumber, (regular) cucumber, zucchini, and yellow squash. They ate all of them.

    We are the first people who are not in New Zealand to report this (that we’ve found)!

    We only did it one day yesterday, so we don’t know if they will turn into chrysalises on this diet.




    Hiya Bernie

    Telegraph cucumber is a type of cucumber with a very soft skin, long and skinny, and it has a sort of a rib. We buy them wrapped in shrink-wrap (plastic) as they have very soft skins. Don’t know what countries they’re grown in.

    You can see pictures of the cucumbers here.

    Got any photographs you can upload Marke? Would be good to have them on our site.




    sorry to post so late Marke but I have only just registered.This is very interresting and I will have to give it a go.By telegraph cucumber ,do you mean the variety of cucumber or is it a type grown only in NZ?



    That’s great — there are so many cucumbers around at this time of year.



    Dear Marke,

    Read your post about the cucumber. Someone short of food asked me what to feed her caterpillars on, as they stripped her plant and I told her about what you said. So, she tried it and they are thriving. Have not yet tried it myself, but anything is worth a go.




    Most of the cucumber kids have now hatched out, a little smaller in size but fit and healthy. We have had over 60 butterflies hatch this season.
    It does seem to work.



    That’s terrific Marke.

    I have some cucumber here that I don’t want – and am short of food – so I will give it a go too!


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