Caterpillar Castles II

This topic contains 14 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by  Darren 8 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #14451

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Darren has organised another shipment of these, and they’re selling quickly. You can see them here:

    https://www.monarch.org.nz/items-for-sale/large-castles/

    ;

    $20 each to members, $25 to non-members, plus P&P of $5 for orders of 1 or 2, $5 additional for each two ordered, i.e. if you order four, then you need P&P of $10.

    If you want to know more about them, look at the original thread "Caterpillar Castles" – lots of chat about them.

Viewing 14 replies - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
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  • #26258

    Darren
    Participant

    Washable, use 10% bleach solution to sanitise before reuse.

    Caterpillar Castles

    After bleaching I give mine a rinse and then line dry.

    http://dev.monarch.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/IMG_3325.jpg

    #26231

    Anna
    Participant

    I’m finding them fantastic too…I tend to line the bottom with a bit of plastic, then newspaper, and a round plastic tray to catch the ‘frass’. Its easy to just vaccum any stray bits of ‘frass’, and seems to disturb them less.
    Its nice to know they are safe from the parasites:)
    In one of them I have strung a thickish bit of rope from one side to the other attached with safety pins for the caterpillars who want to be a bit different!

    #26229

    catlady
    Participant

    Thanks Darren.

    Yes, I’ve been making sure to be very gentle with my tipping out of frass, and I use a small brush and pan to get out the last little bits. I’ve been wondering about hygiene – do the castles need to be washed/sterlised every so often? And if so, what do you do about any pupae hanging from the mesh?

    I just think the castles are brilliant! I’ve only been using one for a week or two, and already have a big herd/flock? (must check glossary for the proper word, lol) of caterpillars. About 50 I think. I can see one castle won’t be enough. And I’m going to have to go swanplant shopping too. 🙂

    #26209

    Darren
    Participant

    Hi Helen, and welcome to the forum!

    Insect faeces are known as frass. See https://www.monarch.org.nz/projects/glossary/

    Tipping the frass out is no problem so long as you don’t shake the castle too vigorously. The cremaster is attached to a silk button that seems quite flexible. In fact I even tip the frass out when the caterpillars are still crawling around and it doesn’t seem to worry them. Hygiene is very important in preventing the spread of disease to tip the frass out as often as you want.

    #26208

    catlady
    Participant

    Hi everyone – my first post to this forum. I suspect it won’t be my last! 🙂

    First off, I’d like to thank you Jacqui for your invaluable help and generosity in showing me your set up and answering all my newbie questions.

    I love my castle and sock. Until I got them, I failed to raise even one single caterpillar! The poor little things would hatch, live for a day or two and disappear. Now I’ve probably got more caterpillars than one castle can handle and with my sock I’m able to protect one outdoors swan plant at a time against wasps.

    My question is: I’ve got 5 pupae attached to the mesh of my castle… when cleaning out my castle, if I gently turn it upside down to get the caterpillar doo doo out (forgot the word you used for that) – will the pupae be ok?

    Cheers
    Helen

    #26106

    Darren
    Participant

    That’s very interesting! Yes, mine were monarchs and something about the zip was irresistible when it was on the top, but they ignore it on the side.

    #26104

    Elizabeth
    Participant

    Maybe you have well behaved caterpillars in your castle, Darren! Or maybe you have monarchs, and they don’t hang from any angle like admirals do. I have two of the large size castles and the zip is on the side, and there are pupae hanging from the ceiling and all walls except for the clear one. So I’m afraid that isn’t the answer for admirals (the ones here at any rate!).

    Elizabeth

    #26097

    Darren
    Participant

    I had the same problem Elizabeth, and the solution is so simple I was kicking myself that I didn’t think of it earlier. Place the castle so the zip is a wall not the roof. Voil?! Problem solved.

    This was only a problem with the small cube castles from the earlier orders I organised. Now we have settled on the large castles as a standard the zip is more obviously a side. see the photo on https://www.monarch.org.nz/items-for-sale/caterpillar-castles/

    #26092

    Elizabeth
    Participant

    This is the first season I have used caterpillar castles, and I am so grateful for them – we now have our living space back again, and no red meconium stains down walls/curtains/books/floor etc (apart from previous years’). Visitors can walk and sit wherever they like without my being on pins about them squashing something. And it’s so nice not walking on gritty butterfly droppings whenever I go to the ranchslider. (By the way – don’t waste that frass – in a bucket of water it makes wonderful liquid compost for the garden!Especially if you add the stripped nettles too.) It’s also so much less work having them all in one place – not having to ensure that all spiders, ants etc are removed every day. (I’m not a natural housewife!)

    The only difficulty I’ve been finding is that the caterpillars (admirals) seem to be drawn to make their pupae over or very near the zip. If I don’t see it in time to shift it elsewhere, I have to leave it until it’s a hard pupa and then remove it, which I don’t really like doing.

    Jacqui suggested to me, “…..wait until the chrysalis has hardened, then spray it with water(mist) and then the silk will come away when the zip forces against it…if you unzip it gently when it’s still damp from the water mist.”

    I wonder if anyone else has their own way around this problem.

    #25346

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Yipeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee thanks so much;-))))))

    I actually think the socks will prove very popular with those pesky wasps around;-))

    Char

    #25342

    Darren
    Participant

    Due to popular demand we will be adding socks to our range. 🙂

    #25334

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Yes… that jumbo sock has proven very useful. I have some tall swan plants that I don’t want to have caterpillars munching away on JUST yet, so I’ve put a jumbo sleeve over the leaves – and the Monarchs can’t lay on them. Marvellous.

    Jacqui

    #25333

    Charlotte
    Participant

    LOL Jacqui.
    I agree.

    Some socks would go down well as well.
    After seeing yours in action today;-))

    Char

    #25332

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    I want to pass a vote of thanks to my caterpillar castle today… having a tidy up and usually there’s frass (caterpillar doo-doos) all over my kitchen table BUT today it was solved in a few easy steps.

    1. Open door to outside
    2. Carry castle with plant/caterpillars inside, to the outside.
    3. Unzip the castle
    4. Remove plant/caterpillars.
    5. Turn castle upside down and shake over garden.
    6. Replace plant/caterpillars.
    7. Zip up the castle.
    8. Carry castle with plant/caterpillars inside.

    Eight steps but all completed in about 20 seconds! WONDERFUL. Ideal for busy people.

    I need some MORE caterpillar castles. Every house should have one in every room!

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