protecting caterpillars

This topic contains 28 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  rob cooper 1 year, 2 months ago.

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  • #13018

    Anonymous

    We’ve been told to bring caterpillars indoors to protect them from wasps and praying mantis. We’ve seen wasps on the swan plant. We’ve put four caterpillars of varying size in a big glass vase with some swan plant. Is this ok?

Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 28 total)
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  • #53141

    rob cooper
    Participant

    if your plants or cuttings are fine pillers will be fine

    #53139

    LeslieD
    Moderator

    I’ve got some of my indoor cats on cut stems and the stems are in water in a plastic fruit juice bottle … they have small openings and its easy to stuff a paper towel over the gap round the stems so nothing can fall in in. The bottles are standing in a caterpillar castle they can climb up and pupate on when ready.

    #53138

    Caryl
    Moderator

    Is there water in the jar or just leaves and stems of swan plants. If there is water I have known caterpillars to fall in and drown. You will need to make sure the cats can’t fall in. Good you are protecting these late caterpillars. Caryl (Wellington)

    #53137

    Blake in Porirua
    Participant

    Id love if it was easier to post a photo, but here’s a caption for a photo you will all hopefully see in your mind.

    Mantis preys on chrysalis through window

    I’ve never seen one in Porirua… If it wasn’t for the obvious concern I would bring it inside to watch for a while. We also have tadpoles at the moment 🙂
    We’ll be rehoming it after marvelling at it through the window. Quite amusing in some regards. Although I now know why I may not have any eggs. I haven’t seen any monarchs laying, despite releasing 20+ in the last few days

    #17063

    Greetings
    I have a similar problem and found that making sure the egg cases are removed from the property is important.

    I rehome the native ones and kill the springbok ones.

    Native:
    http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/research/biosystematics/invertebrates/invertid/bug_details.asp?Bu_ID=78
    blue spots on knees

    South African:
    http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/research/biosystematics/invertebrates/invertid/bug_details.asp?Bu_ID=77
    Lacks blue patch on front legs

    I also have permission from neighbours to look on their side of the fence to egg cases.

    Angie

    #17062

    Horangi
    Member

    Hi,
    I have my plants growing by the side of the house & are doing really well, getting alot of caterpilars on them. However they also get alot of Praying mantis’s on them, I spend a bit of time getting rid of them but sometimes I’m too late & they have already done the damage. I have moved my chrysalis inside to keep them safe but I was wondering what is the best way to protect the caterpillars etc from Pray Mantis’s?
    Thanks…

    #17040

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    Hi Norm

    If you have a photo, send it to photos@monarch.org.nz and it will appear on our website.

    Here’s something of interest to you (posted on the google group mbnzt just now)…

    I have learned a lot from Nigel Venters…

    This afternoon he wrote explaining why caterpillars drop off the hostplant. This was in response to someone’s post that they place strings around the hostplant; when a caterpillar falls off, it will crawl around and find the string, and then crawl back onto the plant.

    “In many species, dropping off the hostplant when disturbed is a survival strategy. Far better to drop to the ground, where you are difficult to spot, than remain on the
    leaf and be eaten!

    This is especially developed in species that feed on low growing hostplants and in open grassland situations. In open grassland, many caterpillars will drop to the ground immediately they detect carbon Dioxide, this is because grazing animals are likely to eat them unintentionally, and they just crawl up and feed again when the danger has passed.

    They look for the chemical scent to crawl back on to the correct hostplant and resume feeing. Of course a pot has no interest for them, and provides a barrier for them to relocate on the hostplant, when the caterpillar is looking for stems of the hostplant and not plastic!

    You may find the strings even more effective if you just run the strings through a hostplant leaf, before you place them, this will provide an even more effective route
    back to the plant.”

    regards

    Nigel

    #17038

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi Norm, would you be able to post a pikkie of the dragonfly for us all to see? We have enough of the small ones here, and I haven’t observed them doing anything “illegal” : ) . My hubby reckons he has seen a large one, and I might have too but cant really remember when or where….but it rings a bell..

    Cheers Swansong

    #17036

    NormTwigge
    Keymaster

    Hi Angie,

    Not sure on that one, can’t find any references for them taking butterflies. However the Giant bush dragonfly can grow to a length of 130 mm. Their habitat is edge of bush / scrub where there is water, and bush also being Red Admiral territory, I guess it is possible and not be observed. Have never seen the giant dragonfly in urban areas, only the smaller species, and wouldn’t think they would be a problem.
    When I as at Ruapehu early Feb. while observing the Forest ringlet a giant dragonfly
    landed on my hand, and stayed there while I remained motionless for about a minute. It’s head was level with my knuckles and it’s tail finished at my watch strap, so when I returned home i measured it – 115 mm. It returned later and I managed to get a photo when it alighted on some vegetation.
    Norm.

    #17025

    Hi Norm, do you think dragonflies would take on a small admiral?

    #17024

    NormTwigge
    Keymaster

    Hi Margie,
    Dragonflies typically catch their prey ‘on the wing’ (while flying), and are not known to take caterpillars or large butterflies. As Wings 1 mentions, small moths and butterflies, small flies, midges and other small flying insects.
    Hope this eases the concern for your cats.
    Cheers – Norm.

    #17023

    margie
    Participant

    Hi wings1 yes we do have dragon flies although I didn’t know thay needed protecting as well, they love hanging around the swan plants so I was a bit worried that they may eat the eggs but I wasn’t sure, have been watching them but haven’t caught them as yet so they must be as you say Jacqui no a pest.
    Cheers Margie

    #17019

    Dragonflies will eat small moths, butterflies, flies and other insects. Not sure if they would take on a Monarch butterfly, maybe baby cats. Saying that dragonfly’s are seen less than monarchs as their wetland homes are being drained, fowled and poisoned.. They need protecting also!!! If you have dragonflies, I would say you are very lucky. Angie

    #17017

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    Hi Margie – of all the pests that have been reported on the website, we’ve never had dragonflies. So I guess that means they’re not a pest!

    J.

    #17011

    margie
    Participant

    Hi,
    I to have also seen spiders eat caterpillars, that was another reason why I grew the plants in buckets this year. I don’t have the buckets against plants or fences hence it reduces the amount of spiders that visit the plants. I have spent a lot of time squashing the baby spiders that jump or fly onto the plants soon after they hatch. Night time with a torch is a good time and way of finding spiders and dealing to them.
    Does any one know if dragon flies are harmful.
    Cheers Margie

    #17010

    Swansong
    Participant

    WOW !!!! Wings 1 thanks for the heads up on that!!! Whitetails well yeah right… :X … no surprises there. I can understand DLLs and those black affairs but I didnt know little jumpies would kill pillars. Y-i-i-ikes. I call em hoppies. I have quite a few around here and I actually really like them, and believe me I’m not typically a spider person. I might have to go “off” them. I will watch and see. Ive never seen them do anything. We have a light brown smallish spider (about 1cm) that I often see on my plants outside. Wonder if they do anything, and I wonder what they are?

    Thanx
    Swansong

    #17005

    Hi, most spider species will feast on caterpillars if they can get hold of them. I have seen white tails, daddy long legs, the black ones that carry around their white egg sack, and little jumping spiders, sorry dont know their technical names.

    Ants will also eat the eggs!

    Angie

    #17003

    Swansong
    Participant

    Any type of spiders in particular Wings1?

    Swansong

    #16980

    Greetings, Praying mantis will eat eggs, caterpillars, chrysalis and butterflies if they can get their hands on them!

    Spiders, wasps and stink beetles also love them.
    Angie

    #16978

    Horangi
    Member

    Hi, do praying mantis’s eat caterpillars?

    #16976

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    Moth vine is also known as cruel plant/vine or kapok plant/vine. Google on Araujia sericifera or sericofera and you will see what it looks like. I know it’s here in the top half of the North Island – where it’s a very undesirable weed – but you can find it esaily enough around fences of industrial areas, alongside railway lines, weedy areas.

    Or you have to buy more milkweed from the garden centres, but keep the plants covered then, or Mrs Monarch will come and lay more eggs, exacerbating the problem! Tell her to go lay somewhere else!!

    If I could say one thing to new butterfly gardeners, it would be: plant plants in the late autumn so that you’ve got big healthy plants in the spring!

    Jacqui

    Good luck!

    #16970

    Gilly
    Participant

    They will eat moth vine – I have fed them this and Tweedia.

    #16969

    margie
    Participant

    I have just rescued a heap of pillars yeaterday that have been fed on pumpkin ranging in sizes so I am keeping my fingers crossed all is okay and hope I got them in time, it will be a wait and see game. As for the aphids thankfully I don’t see a lot of them either don’t think they like the salt air only get the odd few on the roses and they are dealt with very smartly haven’t had any on the swan plants as yet.Cheers Margaret

    #16968

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi purerehua,
    I wouldnt think lettuce will be any good. There has been quite a bit of publicity (at least in our region) earlier on in the season, about how people were running out of tucker and feeding them pumpkin. What the articles didn’t tell you is what we know here on this forum. Yes they will eat it, in a pinch, but you can expect some munted butterflies, incomplete attempts at pupating and such like. Really the only thing I know of is the swanplant. Others will know more about this than me, and I’m just posting about my experiences. Right now I have one that has only 2 legs, (on the same side) but can fly a little bit. I feed her and keep her inside so the males wont carry her off like they do. She is a result from a batch of pillars I rescued which had been fed on pumpkin. I dont think anything else is really recommended, but chime in you others if I’m wrong.

    Yes aphids are shockers! You need to get right on to them straight away. Since my lot Ive kept a wary eye and found 2 little colonies starting up…needless to say they got squished VERY quickly and my plants are all good.

    HTHs
    Swansong

    #16963

    purerehua
    Member

    hiya, I bought some swan plants for my daughters. It was christmas to them when finally some wee eggs appeared and low and behold, caterpillars!!!!! They were devastated to find spiders and wasps, most likely the direct sun and birds had all but diminished their efforts to enjoy the butterflies to come. I dug the plants up and put them in buckets so we could move them under our gazebo and sheltered from the pilla-killas! One formed chrysallis hatched and it was totally fascinating our youngins! We have recently returned from a few days away, only to find our caterpillars have “multiplied” and have all but devoured the plants we have (only 4)…is there anything I can give them to nibble until I can get to a nursery for more swan plants???? After reading other articles on your forum, I now know the little yellow things are aphids, gosh, I never thought there’d be something as informative and dedicated to our NZ Monarchs! Terrific website. So, I’d truly appreciate any ideas, just to get us by until tomorrow at the latest I guess. The girls have tried to feed them lettuce, but I don’t think they like it.

    Thank you in advance. Purerehua.

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