A to Z of Raising Monarch Caterpillars

This topic contains 28 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Jacqui 5 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #34223

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    Here’s a random thought… We (Jo, Caryl and I) have been discussing the material for the next magazine, and an idea was that we have an A to Z of Raising Monarch Caterpillars. This could become a page on our website.

    Who would like to suggest some tips for those people who are new to raising Monarchs and need to know such things as the problems that can arise, management of food, pest etc. Let’s see if we can find 26 points – one for each letter of the alphabet. I’ll start the ball rolling with an N and an O.

    N is for Net – cover your swan plant with a net such as a mosquito net to limit the amount of eggs that are laid on the plant and to discourage wasps from taking your caterpillars.

    O is for Ophryocystis elektroscirrha a protozoan (or simple form of animal) that infects Monarchs and is most likely to occur when they are under stress, overcrowded or on inferior food. If your Monarchs are dying as caterpillars, not forming chrysalises perfectly, or crippled butterflies are emerging, this could be the problem. Look in the forum for more information.

    Now it’s your turn!

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  • #34240

    David
    Participant

    G  –  Generations.  Usually five generations of caterpillars each summer. Be sure to have sufficient host plant available to bring out for each subsequent generation.  Plants in pots/buckets are portable and can be moved from hiding place to location required. Portable plants also allow you to place them in best sunny spot in winter for a good start to the new season.

    #34236

    joanna
    Participant

     

    E – Egg Laying by monarchs is prolific. You will need to restrict monarchs’ access to plants if you don’t want to run out of food for your caterpillars.

     

    F – Food Supply – you have to think like a farmer! Don’t overstock! It is better to raise a few caterpillars well.

    #34235

    BlueSkyBee
    Participant

    My thoughts, please expand etc…

    A – Aphids

    C – Cleanliness in Cat Castles/Rearing Containers… notes on avoiding overcrowding etc, removing frass.

    D – Disinfectant. Use if Oe a problem, use diluted bleach to wash down equipment, or soak leaves if necessary

    H – Host plants. Try to have well grown extras available in areas inaccessible to Monarch Butterflies to avert any famine when the cats strip  the plants they are on

    I -Insecticide – Avoid the use of it anywhere near your cats, as they are very sensitive critters, and if poisoned by it, can start to ooze green goo, and die. Be especially careful using it indoors if you are raising cats inside, as use at one end of the house can sometimes still affect your cats at the other end of the house.

    J – The shape of a caterpillar as they begin the process to pupation, it is quite important  not    to disturb or touch them at this stage.

    P – Predators – Including Wasps, Praying Mantis, Hedgehogs (chrysalis eaters) Controlling known wasp nests can help, as will netting on plants, killing or removing Mantis, and keeping chrysalises out of reach of Hedgehogs, you can put chralises up high, or take them inside for pupation.

    V – Ventilation, very important if cats are being raised indoors, helps to decrease  incidence  of fungal and bacterial infections.

    Z – Zinnias and other nectar plants which will feed visiting Monarchs while they mate, lay eggs, and provide the first food for reared  Butterflies, and also encourage overwintering in your area if nectar sources are plentiful.

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