Milkweed net

This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Wendy42 2 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #55888

    Solaris
    Participant

    Hi everyone.

    The last couple of months my partner and I have had only 3-4 caterpillars get to their finial stage and become chrysalises. I assumed we hadn’t been getting many eggs laid, till one day while doing some gardening I noticed a pair of strange looking wasps darting around my milkweed plants going leaf to leaf. To my horror these wasps were stinging the caterpillars then either eating them on the leaf or picking them up and flying away with them, the ones that didn’t end up being eaten died after being stung.

    I decided to put up a net to cover my milkweed. It seems to be doing the job as we now have 12 caterpillars within a couple of weeks.

    I am not sure how to go about securing the bottom of the net, as I am worried a wasp will crawl along the dirt & under the net to reach his caterpillar buffet. Do I need to worry or can the net just be draped around the plants long enough to reach the dirt at the bottom of the plants? I also worry about how I am going to release butterflies that have recently hatched from chrysalises. Will I need to take them out while they are drying their wings or while they are attempting to fly?

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  • #57076

    Wendy42
    Participant

    I secured my net around the base of my plant with squeezy clothes pegs. It worked really well. I would bring two sides of the net and twist them together so there were no gaps.
    I was still able to get in to the net, but I would only open one side at a time.

    #55898

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    The net will afford some protection from the wasps – and every little bit helps. I used to put bricks around the bottom to hold the net down – you could use tent pegs or anything like that.

    Remember that the wasp will only kill one caterpillar, so if ONE wasp gets in there to take away a monarch (they feed their young with them) it won’t do any more damage – it will be more interested in taking the food back to the nest.

    And yes, when you put weights around the bottom of the net, you do have the issue of getting in there again. But the monarchs will be okay in there for 24 hours, so this could be a once-a-day job.

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