Pepetuna

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  • in reply to: Yellow Admiral Cats #52946

    Pepetuna
    Keymaster

    Hi Maritha
    Yes I have lots of nettle. Can you come and get some? I am near Whatawhata. Not sure how long it lasts in water and I’m unwilling to take the cats as I have lots of wasps. You could msg me email hinekiriatea@hotmail,com. Or phone me on landline in the evening (07) 8298777. I’m afraid I am frequently not home though, so email safest.
    Cheers
    Kate

    in reply to: Help! [Monarch caterpillars run out of food Christchurch] #47933

    Pepetuna
    Keymaster

    Your help! msg doesn’t say where you are lukeoddy. If you are in Hamilton I have surplus fodder right now.

    in reply to: Urtica plants needed #41480

    Pepetuna
    Keymaster

    When I had a similar problem (Admiral caterpillars run out of food) last year, I relocated the caterpillars in the gully behind the Hukanui School near Chartwell Shopping Centre. I didn’t find any other patches of nettle growing handy to Hamilton.

    I’m sorry I don’t have any plants I could offer you.


    Pepetuna
    Keymaster

    I feel bad about not taking them for you, but I live outside Hamilton, and we get much harder frosts here. I have never successfully reared caterpillars over the winter here. If you still have them and need a home, check the milkweed plants in Hamilton Gardens, and if there are any that still have leaves, maybe you could relocate the larvae there.

    in reply to: Update on Blue Moon butterflies #39532

    Pepetuna
    Keymaster

    Yes, aren’t they gorgeous! Well done Norm.

    in reply to: Update on Blue Moon butterflies #39264

    Pepetuna
    Keymaster

    That’s wonderful Norm. If anyone could do it, it was you! Have just been over to Cairns, and Common Eggfly are still pairing and laying eggs at Kuranda, and still flying in the wild so possibly continuous brooding. I went up to Cooktown, where Cyclone Ita passed over directly, so your butterflies may have come from there. There were many adult butterflies flitting around, but I didn’t see any larvae or chrysalises. Strange to think some of them may have been of the same brood as yours.

    in reply to: Distribution of Nettles in your area #38981

    Pepetuna
    Keymaster

    I’m in rural Waikato, and apart from the small patch of nettle (Urtica dioica) around my porch, I don’t know of any within 10 or 15 km. I had a food crisis a few weeks ago, when Admiral larvae completely stripped my patch and we had a drought in the Waikato, so none was available in the places I’ve been to previously. Eventually I found some on a bank behind Hukanui School, where there are springs so the plants didn’t dry out. I go quite a long way to get larvae – over an hour’s drive. There are now plants in Hamilton Gardens because I gave them about 50 potted plants, but I don’t know how well they’re doing now. They were planted in a non-public area.

    in reply to: seeds wanted Christchurch #38929

    Pepetuna
    Keymaster

    If you don’t get enough from gwallis, email me kate@brightwings.co.nz with your address.

    in reply to: Yellow Admiral chasing Monarch #38928

    Pepetuna
    Keymaster

    No, this seems to be quite normal behaviour for the Yellow Admirals. It’s a joy to watch isn’t it?

    in reply to: Monarch, both admirals and a cabbage white #38703

    Pepetuna
    Keymaster

    Lucky you Butternut. No, it’s not every day one sees both Red and Yellow Admirals and Cabbage Whites and Monarchs nectaring. It’s always a thrill!

    in reply to: Blue Moon butterfly spotted #38670

    Pepetuna
    Keymaster

    …And a facebook friend of mine in Omokoroa https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10202928779394240&set=p.10202928779394240&type=1&theater

    …and another beauty taken by Dean Morman posted on facebook by Heather Shingles, seen in Tauranga https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152358862847485&set=p.10152358862847485&type=1&theater

    (I think you might have to be a facebook user to see these)


    Pepetuna
    Keymaster

    When is the school fair? If before October, you will likely not be able to raise caterpillars for it unless you are in warmer climes (Auckland and North).

    Your “appropriate warnings” already seem to cover the main dangers. If you haven’t used pesticides you could say “spray free” so people know the plants won’t kill their caterpillars.

    in reply to: Attracting Red Admiral butterflies #38430

    Pepetuna
    Keymaster

    Thanks Bernie and Terry. That was my understanding too, Terry, that you needed nettles here in NZ for our Admirals. I remember asking Norm about it when I came back from the States where they grow Red Admirals (Vanessa atalanta) on False Nettle (which doesn’t sting). I think Norm did some trials on pellitory, but can’t remember the details.

    Bernie, “Pest plants” in New Zealand are what used to be called Noxious weeds, and there is a list of them, the National Pest Plant Accord. In Regional Councils around the country, the status of plants can vary. You aren’t allowed to sell, propagate, or distribute them, but there are levels/degrees of “pestiness” that mostly seem to involve whose responsibility it is to control them. For us butterfly people, we need to be aware that some species of buddleia and lantana are pest plants, and so are ragwort and moth vine, and even the European nettle Urtica dioica. But depends where you live.

    in reply to: Attracting Red Admiral butterflies #38426

    Pepetuna
    Keymaster

    Thanks Bernie. I stand corrected: Pellitory of the wall (Parieteria judaica), a weed also known as Sticky weed is noted as an alternative host plant on the Naturewatch website http://naturewatch.org.nz/taxa/43363-Parietaria-judaica
    Note that this weed is a pest plant in some areas. There is also a native pellitory, Parietaria debilis. I think Norm Twigge has done some trials on it as a host plant. Is that right Norm?

    I’m very interested to know if anyone has successfully raised either Red or Yellow Admirals on either of these plants. I would love not to be stung all the time!

    in reply to: Attracting Red Admiral butterflies #38423

    Pepetuna
    Keymaster

    You can attract Red Admirals into your garden with nectar plants such as hebes, lantana, buddleia etc, but Urtica species are the only host plants for the caterpillars. Doesn’t have to be Urtica ferox though, any nettles will do, such as Urtica incisa, Urtica urens, Urtica australis or Urtica dioica. You can sometimes buy nettle plants at garden centres, and you can buy the seeds from the MBNZT shop https://www.monarch.org.nz/items-for-sale/seeds/ or through Trademe.

    in reply to: Unidentified pest #38150

    Pepetuna
    Keymaster

    I was hoping someone else would leap in and ID the predator for Jock. Looks like a true beetle (Coleoptera), but I’m no expert and would really need to see the beastie in the flesh to work through the identification keys. The only blackish (actually dark brown) predator I’ve actually seen preying on Monarch larvae that looks at all similar is a Brown soldier bug http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/photograph/10533/brown-soldier-bug
    but I have read somewhere that Rove beetles prey upon Monarchs. We do have Rove beetles in NZ. Here’s a pic http://www.insectimages.org/images/384×256/5387737.jpg (though not necessarily same species that we have).

    Anyone else got any ideas?

    in reply to: Caterpillars fed on Moth/Kapok Plant/not Pupating #38148

    Pepetuna
    Keymaster

    That’s really interesting, Poplar Park.

    I have not observed this happening to any of the caterpillars I have fed moth vine, but it is usually not for a long time. I only use it in an emergency, so I don’t think I have ever raised a batch totally on moth vine. However, one of the very experienced international lepidopterists, Nigel Venters, has been recommending this plant as a sole food. This is because it doesn’t wilt as badly as milkweed and can be gathered without fear that it is contaminated with Oe spores, as the Monarch butterflies won’t lay on it. There hasn’t been any report of caterpillars not pupating properly posted on the butterfly forums I subscribe to. (Mmmmm – there might not be even if this has been happening to others, as Nigel seems to take any posting questioning his methods as personal criticism).

    I have got a few hundred caterpillars feeding on Moth vine at the moment, so I will take a couple of totes right through on it, and see what happens. Anyone else had any adverse experiences?

    The shriveling-up of the pre-pupae does sound a bit like dessication, but if you have used Oasis in water and a dish with pebbles in water, that should have humidified the atmosphere around the caterpillars. Did you have the moth vine stems in water, or just loose? I have been leaving the cut stems loose, as they don’t seem to wilt, but they are in totes (large plastic containers with netting in the top) in a cool place so there is very little transpiration from the leaves. However, if you are raising the caterpillars in a castle, you might have to treat the stems (e.g. by double-cutting underwater like you do for cut roses or by smashing the ends a bit like you do for some cut flowers), put the stems in water, and change the plant material frequently. I have been putting fresh plant material in once a day, but when I was using milkweed I refreshed it twice a day.

    If anyone else has had a problem feeding Monarchs on moth vine, do share – that’s what our forum is for!

    in reply to: Do Monarchs have a memory #38022

    Pepetuna
    Keymaster

    Good observations, Desiderata.

    I hope your tagging gives you the information you are seeking. However, Monarchs can sense the milkweed (by smell) from kilometers away, so they would not necessarily “remember” their birthplace, even if your plants are revisited by your tagged butterflies next spring.

    Butterflies don’t have the same kind of brain as us, but apparently they do have memory. Scientific studies have shown that Monarch butterflies can remember a smell they learned as caterpillars.

    in reply to: help needed feeding Caterpillars, Upper Moutere, Nelson #37899

    Pepetuna
    Keymaster

    You can grow them on cut moth vine (Araujia sericifera) if you can find it. According to the rnzih page http://www.rnzih.org.nz/pages/u58415_2.pdf it does grow around Nelson. This is the only satisfactory alternative food I have found. It may be classified as a pest plant in your area, which means you can’t propagate or distribute it, but as far as I know, no reason you can’t cut it down and use it.

    in reply to: Terry's Admiral Project in Britain update? #37895

    Pepetuna
    Keymaster

    That’s great news Terry. I watch with much interest the vicissitudes of your project. This is your ?teenth season?

    in reply to: Asclepias curassavica cuttings are toxic to caterpillars #37793

    Pepetuna
    Keymaster

    I have never grown Asclepias from cuttings, but I have cut and fed the plant to Monarch caterpillars and never noticed any more deaths after regrowth. What I have noticed is deaths if I feed it to caterpillars that have been on Gomphocarpus previously.

    in reply to: Caterpillars needed Waikato #37781

    Pepetuna
    Keymaster

    Hi Bree
    Did the netting work? Do you have caterpillars now? I finally have some spare so email me if you still want some. Email kate@brightwings.co.nz

    in reply to: urgent feeding #37751

    Pepetuna
    Keymaster

    The only really successful alternative food I have found is Moth vine. It is a pest plant vine. Depending where you are, this might be easy to find in waste ground like around carpark fences, or in the edges along railway lines. Pumpkin or cucumber slices can be an emergency backstop till you find some proper host plant, but the caterpillars don’t develop properly on it.

    Another desperation measure is peeling the ‘bark’ off the swan plant stalks. The caterpillars will eat this, and it is a whole lot better for them than pumpkin or cucumber. But of course, it does damage your plants, and depending how much you take off, they might not recover.

    The sugar water etc is only for feeding adult butterflies, as an artificial nectar. Larvae (caterpillars) will not eat it.

    I can only suggest that you attempt to find another source of milkweed in your area, using Trademe or ringing around the garden centres, or (as Heather suggested) putting up on this forum where you are and perhaps someone will help you out.

    in reply to: Cinnabar moths emerging out-of-season #37721

    Pepetuna
    Keymaster

    There are now 3 moths in the “lovenest” with nectar flowers, artificial nectar, and a potted groundsel plant. Can’t see any eggs on the groundsel, and haven’t observed any pairing. (But I didn’t observe it in the proper season either, and fertile eggs were laid). Fingers crossed.

    in reply to: Collecting Monarch butterfly eggs #37715

    Pepetuna
    Keymaster

    I collect the eggs on/with the leaf, and put the leaves in a plastic box with the lid on, until the eggs hatch, when I move the caterpillars into a castle, laying them at the base of a potted milkweed plant (still on the leaves, so I don’t have to touch the caterpillars). The leaves don’t wilt in the plastic containers with the lid on, and the caterpillars don’t seem to need any more air when 1st or 2nd instar. You do have to be careful you don’t get a build-up of condensation on the sides and top of the plastic container. I just clear the water off with a tissue. You also need a tissue on the bottom of the container, and it probably absorbs some of the water. The advantages of this method is that it is quick, you don’t have to be ultra-careful, and you never touch the caterpillar. Touching the caterpillars should be avoided as they can get bacteria off your hands.

    I believe other people use different methods: I think Norm cuts a small triangle of leaf out with the egg on it (so he wouldn’t get the transpiration/condensation issues) and Jacqui takes the eggs off the leaves, but I will leave them to tell you about these methods 🙂

Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 332 total)