protecting caterpillars

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  • #13018

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    We’ve been told to bring caterpillars indoors to protect them from wasps and praying mantis. We’ve seen wasps on the swan plant. We’ve put four caterpillars of varying size in a big glass vase with some swan plant. Is this ok?

Viewing 5 replies - 26 through 30 (of 30 total)
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  • #16968

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi purerehua,
    I wouldnt think lettuce will be any good. There has been quite a bit of publicity (at least in our region) earlier on in the season, about how people were running out of tucker and feeding them pumpkin. What the articles didn’t tell you is what we know here on this forum. Yes they will eat it, in a pinch, but you can expect some munted butterflies, incomplete attempts at pupating and such like. Really the only thing I know of is the swanplant. Others will know more about this than me, and I’m just posting about my experiences. Right now I have one that has only 2 legs, (on the same side) but can fly a little bit. I feed her and keep her inside so the males wont carry her off like they do. She is a result from a batch of pillars I rescued which had been fed on pumpkin. I dont think anything else is really recommended, but chime in you others if I’m wrong.

    Yes aphids are shockers! You need to get right on to them straight away. Since my lot Ive kept a wary eye and found 2 little colonies starting up…needless to say they got squished VERY quickly and my plants are all good.

    HTHs
    Swansong

    #16963

    purerehua
    Participant

    hiya, I bought some swan plants for my daughters. It was christmas to them when finally some wee eggs appeared and low and behold, caterpillars!!!!! They were devastated to find spiders and wasps, most likely the direct sun and birds had all but diminished their efforts to enjoy the butterflies to come. I dug the plants up and put them in buckets so we could move them under our gazebo and sheltered from the pilla-killas! One formed chrysallis hatched and it was totally fascinating our youngins! We have recently returned from a few days away, only to find our caterpillars have “multiplied” and have all but devoured the plants we have (only 4)…is there anything I can give them to nibble until I can get to a nursery for more swan plants???? After reading other articles on your forum, I now know the little yellow things are aphids, gosh, I never thought there’d be something as informative and dedicated to our NZ Monarchs! Terrific website. So, I’d truly appreciate any ideas, just to get us by until tomorrow at the latest I guess. The girls have tried to feed them lettuce, but I don’t think they like it.

    Thank you in advance. Purerehua.

    #16938

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hi Shenagh

    It’s a learning curve… Usually when they hang into a J but they’re too small, it’s a sign that their food has been insufficient for their needs and they’ve sort of ‘given up’ on growing any more. So it’s important to have good food supplies at all times – if you see you’re going to get low then get some more food or expect this sort of thing.

    I would stick with them indoors, or under cover. Try throwing an old net curtain over the plant outside. It doesn’t have to provide 100% cover – and the Monarchs can lay their eggs through the net but it will be a deterrent for the wasps. Net curtains are cheap as chips (or cheaper) at op shops.

    Jacqui

    #16931

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Unfortunately our first rescue attempt was a disaster. We had four caterpillars inside. One small one fell in the water and drowned. Two tried to form a crysalis but were probably too small. They just sort of shrivelled up after hanging in the J position for a while. I put a small one back on the plant outside but haven’t seen it since. The plant is alive with wasps. What to do??

    #16880

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    That’s fine Shenagh. You will be surprised at how much frass (caterpillar poo) they make, and they may also wander. I stand my vase on a tray of water – just a touch of water – to act as a moat to keep them in the vase. Then I put the tray on a lot of newspaper because frass rolllllls. 🙂

    The other option is just to throw a net curtain over your swan plant, and this protects the plant from the wasps. But having them on your table means you’ve got the fascination throughout the day. It’s great entertainment.

    Jacqui

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