sick caterpillars

This topic contains 5 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  mandymc 1 month, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #56827

    mandymc
    Participant

    I am hoping someone can help identify what has been killing my monarch caterpillars. I have a healthy, spray-free, butterfly-friendly garden with lots of swan plants and every year raise a large number of butterflies. For the last two years I have used the caterpillar castles I got from the MBNZT to protect them from wasps and these work well. But last summer some of the caterpillars in the castles began to get sick when they reached mid size, they would stop eating and sit motionless for days, until they fell off the plant and died. My neighbour has observed the same problem on plants outside of castles and suggests it’s a virus. It does appear to be contagious. Twice I cleaned out my castles with bleach and started afresh but on both occasions after a few weeks the problem returned.

    Does anyone else have this problem or know what it is? I would appreciate any suggestions or advice. Thanks Mandy.

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  • #57070

    mandymc
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    Thanks Wendy for your replies. Yes I think its bacterial or viral, its contagious and theres no sign of predators. I have searched online and see caterpillar viruses with similar symptoms although not exactly the same, they stop eating and appear lethargic. I have also seen it on swan plants outside the castles. It’s very upsetting once it sets in – especially if you have a lot of caterpillars in a castle. Hope someone else can assist, in the meantime I might try Milton suggested by Jacqui.

    #57069

    Wendy42
    Participant

    #57068

    Wendy42
    Participant
    #57065

    Wendy42
    Participant

    Mandy, i was looking through the forum posts and have copied this that Jacqui had written on another post about chrysalis going bad/black, perhaps you could try this? :

    I recently learned about using Milton, found in the baby products section of the supermarket. This won’t affect caterpillars, plants or pupae but will kill any pathogens or virus that is affecting your chrysalises. The formula will no doubt be on the outside of the bottle when you buy it.
    Jacqui

    #57062

    Wendy42
    Participant

    Hi Mandy, i have had the same problem . I had it happen in my butterfly castle as well as in my garden. I do wonder if it is bacterial.
    Its my first season so hopefully someone can advise us

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