Caterpillars dying

This topic contains 6 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  monkey 1 year, 5 months ago.

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  • #51834

    monkey
    Participant

    Last year I had a very successful year, released 281 Monarchs. This year the wasps are carrying off eggs & cats, so I have been bringing in any cats I see, mostly small to medium ones. They seem to be OK, then I note that a lot of them seem to develop very wide black stripes, instead of the usual thin greyish bands, & the cat becomes very thin & lethargic, eventually falling off the leaves & dying. I give them fresh leaves every day, kept fresh in a bottle with plastic wrap to prevent drowning. I do not handle the actual cats, just move them on a sprig or leaf, & I’m now very careful to wash sunscreen off my hands before touching the food etc.

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  • #52109

    monkey
    Participant

    My caterpillars seem to be doing better; I am careful not to handle the swan plants if I have hand cream or sunscreen on my hands, & also am careful to not let the cats get too hot as I think there can be a build-up of gas, possibly CO2, from the leaves & the caterpillars’ excrement in a ‘hot’ box. The temperatures in the conservatory are much higher than in previous years when I had no trouble raising the little beasties.

    #51953

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    Sorry, Monkey, you might have said this already but whereabouts are you – what region?

    I’m rushing off to a meeting right now, but if you email me your phone number, jacqui@monarch.org.nz, I’ll ring you so I can really get the background on this and make a few other suggestions.

    Just a point to note: it’s been wet and windy the last two days here in Auckland although the wind is nothing more than a breeze now and it’s stopped raining -not sure for how long. I have been out there this morning collecting eggs and small caterpillars which would have been laid before the storm. So if your weather is similar to mine, might be worthwhile checking your plants this morning while the wasps are still sheltering indoors saying “it’s too wet to go out”. 🙂

    #51951

    monkey
    Participant

    Still having trouble, most of the cats fail to reach the final instar, in fact none for the last couple of weeks.
    Interestingly, The few butterflies I have hatched have nearly all been male.

    There are lots of butterflies around, & lots seen laying eggs, but very few cats seen, I suspect the wasps are the problem, which is why I bring the few cats inside, as I always have done. But if they aren’t going to survive in my care I may as well leave them where they are to take their chances.

    Unless things improve I think I’ll give up for this season. Enclosing plants as suggested by Rod is not an option.

    #51854

    monkey
    Participant

    No pesticides etc, nothing different to last year when I successfully raised so many inside. I note someone’s early comment on the forum about there seeming to be 2 different types of swan plant. I have grown a lot more plants this year, in an enclosure where butterflies can’t get in. All from seed I have saved from last year’s successful breeding season. They are growing quite luxuriently & it is these plants I have been using as food. The cats I bring in are from another area of the garden where the butterflies lay thousands of eggs & the wasps are busy harvesting eggs & young cats, which is why I rescue those I see. Could the ‘new’ food be too strong? Big cats, close to pupation seem to do very well on it, it is the small to medium ones which seem to sicken & die.

    #51837

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    When you say ‘bringing in’ what do you mean ? If you are bringing them into the house think carefully about any pesticides or residue that might be around the house. Pets with flea collars ? Plug-in pesticides? Ant proofing? New carpet or paintwork? Amy strong chemicals?

    The thick black stripes is usually an indication that they are about to moult (or have just moulted).The thick black stripes is usually an indication that they are about to moult.

    Hope that helps…

    Jacqui

    #51836

    rob cooper
    Participant

    so you feed them on leaves inside best way is for a encloure for one swan plant thats where you put the cats once hached everyone has there own ways jaqui mite give you some pointers dont give up im haveing a few isues with eggs dying at the moment still doing ok but a cage is the best for those bloody wasps we will get about 160 away this season

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