Monarch caterpillars

This topic contains 14 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  LeslieD 1 year, 5 months ago.

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    Topic
  • #52206

    Baldy
    Participant

    One day there are heaps of small monarch caterpillars on my swan plants next day there are none. There are a few medium size caterpillars at the moment.
    Now there is a green caterpillar eating the swan plants.
    Anyone got any idea what’s going this year?
    Thanks…

Viewing 14 replies - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
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  • #52460

    LeslieD
    Moderator

    The green caterpillars in my hothouse are eating the leaves Norm. Totally wrecking the tomatoes, lettuces and anything else they can get to. They don’t seem fussed on swan plants thank god but anything else is fair game. The white butterflys are also laying eggs on the nasturtians outside. If I thought growing brassicas would satisfy them I would :).

    #52457

    Glenys
    Participant

    I haven’t seen quite as many wasps this season but have caught 3 praying mantis and one brown beatle (also come in a green colour) sucking the life out of medium size monarch caterpillars.

    I have covered my outside plants with open-weave white net curtains which has helped keep the wasps off the cats. You can get the white nets off trade-me second hand or cheap enough in sales from Spotlight. I bought bamboo stakes from the Warehouse and these supported the nets.

    Hamilton

    #52443

    LeslieD
    Moderator

    I know the cabbage white cats eats brassicas but I’ve seen white butterflys laying eggs on my rocket and seemingly other veges … I don’t have brassicas. So what is the caterpillar that does over the tomatos totally? And I’ve found the big green cats on my cucumbers, lettuces and beans. I havn’t seen any other butterflys in there apart from the whites. I wonder if I have mutants lol

    #52442

    Baldy
    Participant

    Paper wasp the culprit alright. Killed 6 in 5min on Monday & about 8 or so for the day. I stand by the swan plant with fly spray in one hand & a fly swat in the other.
    Just got to be careful you don’t spray the pillers.
    More pillers on the plants already…cheers all.

    #52440

    NormTwigge
    Keymaster

    If the green caterpillars are eating the flowers, they are a species of moth caterpillar which only browse on the flowers, and not the leaves.
    The disappearance of the smaller monarch caterpillars sounds very much like a paper wasp problem. If the caterpillars are very small, as in 1st instar size, it could also be ants taking them.

    #52439

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    Hi Leslie

    I know what you’re saying. However, cabbage white caterpillars only eat brassicas so it won’t be them damaging your lettuce and tomato plants. There are tricks somewhere else in the forum about reducing the onslaught of cabbage whites on brassicas (cabbage, cauli, broccoli, brussells sprouts to name a few).

    But sure it is frustrating when you’ve got a great looking plant/vegetable/flower etc and then some “bug” comes and “buggers” it up. 🙂

    #52435

    LeslieD
    Moderator

    Jacqui the white butterflys have been in my hothouse and the green caterpillars have devastated my lettuce and tomato plants. I know everyone has to eat but the green guys are to veges what monarchs are to swan plants lol. I still hate getting rid of them though.

    #52434

    rob cooper
    Participant

    just had a bad time all our rain hadnt been in our big cage for 2 days aphids had nailed it 9 dead pillers was gutted thank god i had more pillers in another cage and inside on some plants yea as time goes on you learn more

    #52357

    Susan Edge
    Participant

    Paper wasps are eating ALL the small caterpillars on my plants , and those of many others in the area, so I bought the eggs and new babies inside to raise. My aim is to release 100 butterflies. 50+ are now in chrysalis form and another 100 caterpillars at various stages. Keeping up the food supply is almost a full time job ! If anyone in the Waipu area has spare Swan Plant could they please post here. Many thanks.

    #52350

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    Sometimes I squash the aphids. It’s a delicate balance… as soon as I see ladybirds I stop squashing as the ladybirds soon clean them up. I’ve got so many swan plants, however, that it’s aphid paradise.

    I’ve been running an experiment this last year (more info. in our magazine, “BUTTERFLIES” published four times a year). I saturated some potting mix with swan plant seed, and then when the seedlings were 100-200 mm tall and I had too many caterpillars, I let them eat the crop (it looked like a lawn of swan plants) down. That generation would pupate, emerge and mate and by the time I had plenty of eggs again, the sticks would be 100-200mm tall again. It worked really well… UNTIL

    we had a period of weather which stopped the egglaying and broke the cycle. The swan plants got too big and even though they were in a protected environment (Vegepod) the aphids got in there. And when I opened it up the “seedlings” were 300-400mm tall and the new growth was COVERED in aphids.

    Of course, ladybirds couldn’t get in there so I used Yates Conqueror oil (mineral oil) diluted with water as per their instructions and shut the lid again. Aphids went, and there is no withholding period although any caterpillars or eggs that had been on the plant would have died. So the plants were safe and ready to go again! Planted out… and I can restart the experiment. Of course, it’s good to have plenty of seed to do this.

    So that’s the “long” answer to “do I squish the aphids”. 🙂

    #52342

    rob cooper
    Participant

    do you squash the aphids jacqui

    #52338

    Baldy
    Participant

    Hello Rob, thanks for your reply. I’m at Putaruru. Have not seen many wasp. The caterpillars disappear over night. Something else must have a taste for them…
    Plenty of leaves left on the swan plants if anybody wants to drop off a few pillers.
    Cheers…

    #52217

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    Why does one have to squash the green caterpillars? They grow up into very attractive little moths? Why are we selective?

    #52212

    rob cooper
    Participant

    ok where do you live do you have the paper wasp they eat the pillers yea the green pillers are a pain gotta find them and squash them if you got the wasp as i think you do bad news gotta grow them in a cage

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