Problems with butterflies emerging from chrysalis

This topic contains 28 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by  Swansong 10 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #13358

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Mitch reports (in another post)

    "Help anyone. I have had trouble the last two days with butterflies that hatch then won`t hang on. I had 6 yesterday and only managed to save two. I had four today and only saved one. What could be the problem? I am very distressed about this."

    Mijan

Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 28 total)
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  • #19394

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hehehhe Missy eh? HA one of our sheep has that name : ). Well I love your story, and now you’re making me laugh flutterbys…. especially this bit…

    “Well smack smack smack and got it out of her mouth. She disappeared for a few hours, she knew. Then hubby came out to see what all the yelling was about and gave her another smack!!.”

    hahaha :-DDDD priceless! ;-))))) I like all animal’s as long as they are in their rightful place and a good smack never hurt any naughty poodie except for its feelings… haha hence the 2 hours silence treatment : ). Good on ya!

    Yes as far as the amount of plants we all have and what we take on, is an important factor to consider, and in times past Ive liked to encourage noobs to think of this coz I could see the potential for them to get bogged down before they were ready. Its one of those things that can really be satisfying (dispite some of our disasters) if we deal with it according to what we can take on. Me thinks its generally best to start small, at least for the 1st year, but thats just me.

    Cheeeeeers
    Swansong

    #19393

    Charlotte
    Participant

    I did that last year being my first year and I was off with an injured back. So certainly kept me entertained thats for sure :-).

    This year I couldn’t do that with the amount of plants hubby & I planted. I do have a few on the deck so I can sit out there and enjoy watching them also.

    What I did have happen yesterday was my naughty little Miss kitty cat got hold of a Monarch!! Man I smacked her so hard, the monarch survived thank god. Usually she doesn’t touch them. I saw her come running up the section with this orange thing in her mouth!!
    Then I thought hang on a minute that looks like a butterfly. She knew and she took off and I thought I have no hope of saving it now. So I just kept calling her so nicely and she came out with it still in her mouth. Well smack smack smack and got it out of her mouth. She disappeared for a few hours, she knew. Then hubby came out to see what all the yelling was about and gave her another smack!!.
    Needless to say we got the butterfly away from her and he flew off, a little bit tattered but ok:-)).

    She lives up to her name thats for sure MISSY!!. But I shall be watching her from now on..

    Cheers
    Charlotte

    #19390

    Swansong
    Participant

    OOoo flutterbys I just HAVE to have my pillars inside, coz its all part of it for me. It just wouldnt be the same if I didnt see one or two misbehave and escape across the carpet. I look forward to this every year : ). No kidding. Also Ive found it’s just less fuss and bother all round if I do this. It actually solves other probs too like trying to figure out what pinches the chrysalii and therefore all your efforts gone down the toilet. If I did this on a large scale though, well, a girl would have to rethink her strategy. Thats why I like o keep it to a manageable size for what I can cope with.

    Cheers
    Swansong

    #19389

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Tell me about it. They never give up huh.

    Thats why I dont have my pillars inside. Only my eggs and they are far enough away in the far end room to not get it.

    I know I wont touch the trap, I am like you will be pewking everywhere.. Thats hubbys job.LMAO

    Cheers
    CHarlotte

    #19386

    Swansong
    Participant

    “Ewwwwwwwwwwww yuk “

    heheh yeah I know, but what choice have you got when the mongrels W.O.N.T. go out…like they 1/ do a U turn and come right back in before you can blink AND/OR 2/ go out one wind’r and fly back in the next. I wont have sprays or other chemical type substances inside, as it doesnt agree with me, and not good for pillars and butterflys.

    Something Ive never got around to is trying to manage them outside and being rural its probably a bit like digging a hole just to fill up it again and the trouble is you kill one and one hundred come to the funeral. Dunno if I could get my head around emptying a fly trap…(more pewking)

    Cheers
    Swansong

    #19383

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Ewwwwwwwwwwww yuk I try not squish them inside. I do have a robocan inside so that does the trick in the lounge and dining room and kitchen. Have also brought those fly traps from Kings and mix in a bottle for outside they work well outside.

    I sure hope so too Swansong.

    Charlotte

    #19380

    Swansong
    Participant

    Mmmm the only trouble with blowies and belting the living daylights out of them is there is that inevitable ugly mess to clean up afterwards …peeeewk…. yep makes me sick to think about it… 8-| … or you could do the lesser of the 2 evils and whopp them in mid-air providing you can go outside and hose the waddy without looking at it… which would be a VERY sweet option if it wasnt for the mess on the swat. Its great when you can do this with smaller flies though : )))).

    Well hopefully with a cooler house it will help and I really hope you havent got one of those rampant diseases.

    Cheers
    Swansong

    #19378

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Hi Swansong,

    I do love your posts. Yes flies are my pet hate to. I hate it when they come in and buzz around and around. The big blowies well they really get my goat up and I have to smack them like you!!. I hate them with a vengeance.

    The butterfly house does get the early morning sun and has a window open constantly, with big round cicular holes cut out on the wood above the glass. I dont think it was enough with the hot hot sun we have been having lately.

    So this is why we brought shade cloth yesterday and shaded half of it and half the roof. I must say a lot better now.
    We shall see what happens now. The last few pillars have been big fatties in there and done there thing quite normally.

    We only had one die on his way from a J to a chrysalis. That day was an exceptionally hot hot day here, and that could of been the reason.

    Cheers
    Charlotte

    #19376

    Swansong
    Participant

    “Will keep you all informed.”

    FLIES ??!!?? If Im getting you right… OOOoaaaahh NOOO… Phuuuuur I hope not. ME and flies DO NOT get along in ANY shape or form whatsoever. Its out with the paddy whack Im afraid and if they had ANY sense at all they would scarpa… but Ohhh nooo… thick as 2 planks. Before closing the house up yesterday, I actually noticed there was a fly (persistently) sitting on the one plant Ive got inside. As such, I thought, yeah mate, youre not long for this world, and it got the short shift. Hehehe I found a big fat blowie in a little makeshift bottle which had water and vinegar in it, which I was organizing for wasps, B4 I got my bigger bottle.

    Now your glass, Oh yes if it was facing the sun and there wasnt much ventilation, that would probably help along any disease considerably I would think, or possibly make the pillarz too hot. We live and learn with these things all the time… When Ive got mine in the house Im careful not to put them too close to the windows which acts like a magnifying glass and cook them, but I like them to get a bit of sun on their backs too : ). Quite often Ive noticed they head for the shade when it suits. Intelligent little critters, unlike flies :-I.

    Cheers Swansong

    #19368

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Hi Swansong,

    Thanks Swansong. Yes it can really upset you at times.
    We have lost a lot to wasps tho. We have changed the butterfly house now and made it a lot cooler. PErhaps it was too hot with the glass windows. SO we have put shadecloth across windows and shadecloth across part of the roof, and removed part of the plastic roof. So we shall see how that goes.

    We do have new eggs hatched so will put these on new plants and close off with netting and see how this goes also.

    Upon reading one of the websites that Jacqui put a link up on. I have seen a few flies around.. Geesssshhhhhhhhhh hope it not that..

    Will keep you all informed.

    Cheers
    Char

    #19366

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi flutterbys,

    “We have had quite a few pillars go into J’s but they dont make it when changing to a chrysalis. Some were small also. We have noticed that quite a few of the ones we have now a very slow at coming on. Slow to eat leaves and grow. Dont quite know whats going on at the moment.”

    You and your hubby have worked so hard with your enclosures and things, and so these things can really be disheartening at times. I hope your next plan of action goes well. Ive always had a certain amount of casualities but not on a grand scale thankfully. I find it a little unusual though that youre getting ones which are generally slow to do their thing. We’re more or less at the peak of the season and usually Ive found what youre describing is more typical at the end. Would be interesting to know what it is.

    Swansong

    #19363

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Hi Jacqui,

    Thanks for info. Hey now never thought of work. hahaha silly me..

    Will let ya know

    Char

    #19360

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hi Char

    This website explains it pretty well:

    http://monarchparasites.org/

    This page here tells you how to test for Oe – you need a microscope. Could someone at work help you? It’s not like it’s “bad” for people.

    http://www.uga.edu/monarchparasites/testing/taping.html

    Edith puts it in simple English:

    http://www.butterfliesetc.com/oe.php

    I think there’s more info. on monarchwatch.org

    I sent samples off to a scientist in Dunedin (Landcare?) can’t remember. Will see if I can track him down.

    J.

    #19354

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Hi Jacqui Zoe & Swansong,

    Well my little tiny girl flew away this morning. She was ready to go so I took her outside and put her on a swan plant, and pretty soon she flew off. Her wings were only 3.5cm.
    The boy with the slightly bent wing flew also. HE did real well. So I was happy about that too :-)). Before the tiny girl flew I had her on my finger eating mashed banana and she was loving it. I just wish I could of taken a pic. That was an awesome experience to watch her feed from my finger :-))..

    My other girl with the real bent and holey wing, well she just couldn’t fly and keep falling over. So I had to do what most of us hate to do and put her to sleep. She was suffering I could see that and it was cruel to watch her and keep her like that..
    So at least 2 out of 3 aint bad!!.

    We have had quite a few pillars go into J’s but they dont make it when changing to a chrysalis. Some were small also. We have noticed that quite a few of the ones we have now a very slow at coming on. Slow to eat leaves and grow. Dont quite know whats going on at the moment.

    So we have decided to net off another area and put some fresh plants under there and our new eggs that hatch, when they get a bit bigger, we shall move them into here and see how they go.
    Perhaps these other ones have a bug..

    Yes Jacqui your right I do know about bugs when they get loose in a hospital. Lord I do not wanna go there on that one!!. Scary is all I can say..

    Jacqui how do you test for OE??.

    Thanks everyone for your help and comments. MUch appreciated.

    Cheers
    Charlotte.

    #19352

    Swansong
    Participant

    “What does anyone recommend please?”

    Im afraid Im with Zoe. I cant bear to freeze them UNLESS I know that theyre suffering, and sometimes thats not easy. As such, it is a decision that we all have to make but Im sure no-one will deny, for some of us at least, its a hard one. At the end of the day we have to be practicle, and with some folks they may not be able to practically support their wobblies.

    All the best on what you decide.

    Swansong

    #19344

    zoe9
    Participant

    Charlotte your green house looks like a lovely place for those butterflies to reside.

    As mentioned in other posts I am a softie and take care of all deformed/wounded butterflies. I provide flowers for them supplemented with a sugar water/soy sauce mix.

    I find most live for a couple of weeks although one boy I had lived for over 3 months (I stopped counting at 12 weeks.) I was so used to having him around that when he died I was actually quite upset !

    Right now I’m just looking after one butterfly – the boy in the second photo below.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

    Cheers,
    Zoe

    Deformed wings

    #19342

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hi Char

    After all your successes, this must be pretty heart wrenching for you. I’ve just taken a look at your photographs.

    There are several things you can do for these wee ones. You can leave them to live out their lives on flowers – keep them as ‘pets’ – or you can choose to euthanase them. If you choose the latter, the best way is to put them in the fridge so they chill, (unconscious) and then freezer (death). However, it is your choice what you do. Neither method is wrong.

    There could be all sorts of reasons why this has happened. But (and I’ve probably put this too many times in the forum): where you have life, you will have death, and you will have deformities.It is all a part of Nature.

    These two could be just a symptom of a break in feed – similar to the “weakness” that you see in sheep’s wool when there’s been a drought or poor feed for a period – or in the human population when normally healthy parents give birth to a sickly or deformed baby. Sometimes there’s a reason, sometimes… it just happens.

    However, it’s something to be aware of. I guess if you start to have more deformities then you have to think long and hard about what has happened earlier. But perhaps you’ll never get to the bottom of it. We’re not raising butterflies in sterile conditions. Did someone visit your garden while you were away, smoking a cigarette, and breathe too closely on a caterpillar? Did a neighbour spray their roses, and some drift over to your garden? (No wonder there were so many upset people when they did that aerial spraying in your area!)

    One year all of mine started dying, and I tested them for Oe, found a very high level. So I stopped and cleaned up my facilities, some good housework (not that I’m KNOWN for THAT) and started again. Just needed to break the cycle – exactly what happens when a ‘bug’ gets going in a hospital. And you’d know all about that!

    Hope that’s helpful.

    J.

    #19340

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Hi All,

    I have had a couple of deformed butterflies hatch this week. Not sure whats happened.
    I do know they were small pillars when they changed and then a small chrysalis.
    One male has a bent and faded wing.
    The other is a female who has a faded wing with holes in it and a little bent.
    I dont want to put them in the freezer, unless I really have to :-((
    We ahve moved them to the greenhouse with flowers and swan plants.
    What does anyone recommend please?

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/33329773@N03/

    Cheers
    Charlotte

    #19101

    Anonymous

    Hi,

    What sad news, but it just shows how little pesticide is really needed to give us problems.

    As for govt control of a few insects, I think this has caused more damage to the insects we need & like to see then any of the parasites & reduced foodplants for some species.

    Robert.

    #19062

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Hi MItch/Jan

    Sorry to hear of your sad news!!. The robocan does serve its purpose in the house, but as for pillars and monarchs, No!!.. I had this happen to me with a pillar, and thought why is he acting funny. Then waalaaa it dawned on me, the ROBOCAN in the house. As I had brought the pillar inside.
    I was gutted but have never done it again, as the robocan may take a while for the mist to disappear.
    Hope it gets sorted for you soon.

    Cheers
    Charlotte

    #19060

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Response from Mitch/Jan:

    Hi all, Thank you for your replies to my sad problem. We do have Mosquitos here but we have not been spraying them, however we do have two Robocams in the house and with windows and doors open because of the heat it is possible that some is drifting into the conservatory where we have the caterpillars. We have just put new batteries and refills in them so its possible the spray is stronger and drifting further. It would be very hard for us to test for any diseases. We will keep a close watch on them and hopefully the next lot will be ok. We have switched off the Robocams.

    Regards Jan

    #19053

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Some other thoughts for you:

    Dale McClung wrote:

    Jacqui,

    First is to test for O.e. If absent, Nigel is right about possible mosquito control/pesticide issues not only from home use, but also mosquito control at the government level.

    However, pesticide use aside, what are your temperature ranges now in the NZ summer, average highs and lows? What species of milkweed and how old are the plants? Have they cut back and reused these plants over and over again to raise larva?

    Dale McClung

    #19052

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Nigel Venters says:

    Presumably these are O.e. free butterflies, as O.e. infection weakens them, however, I have seen something like this before, long ago in Africa. How are the mosquitos around this persons house? I had a friend who could not understand why his bred stock had trouble emerging and clinging on until he discovered his wife was spraying a burst of insecticide into each room every night, the room next to the verandah was screened and the drift from the spray was all it took to cause the problems with his butterflies caged on the verandah.
    Nigel

    #19051

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Thanks Vicky and Bill.

    Mitch – from what Bill and Vicky have said, have these caterpillars been raised on “different” plants, i.e. new ones that you brought in, that previous caterpillars weren’t raised on?

    Jacqui

    #19049

    VickySteele
    Participant

    When I had my problems last year, one of the symptoms was restlessness and being unable to hang on to the pupal case. This is typical of nervous system damage and can certainly be caused by some kind of pesticide.

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