Repeated curled useless wings

This topic contains 7 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by  Jacqui 7 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #15158

    Delboy123
    Participant

    Have had a lot of butterflies emerge with wings terribly curled and crumpled this summer — must be 10 to 15. Can’t recall seeing any like that before although this is only our second year with a milkweed plant. Anyone had similar probs, or know what may be causing this? Am in Napier, small section which is exposed to some fairly sharp gusts at times, use no sprays of any kind.

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  • #29527

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Good thoughts, Pepetuna. That sounds like a good plan. It would have to at least reduce the Oe levels.

    Delboy – did you know that you can sterilise the eggs? If you did that it would break the cycle too.

    Jacqui

    #29526

    Pepetuna
    Participant

    What they do at one of the big butterfly farms in the States, where they rear thousands of Monarchs, is to “sterilize” their hostplant material. It’s not really sterilizing, but they wash the leaves in a bleach solution, and then rinse them in fresh water. However, they use cut milkweed, which they feed to the caterpillars in plastic containers. If you are leaving your plants outside, in the ground, and the caterpillars grow on it there, I expect you could spray some bleach solution on the plants, then hose them down. If it was me, I would only try one plant first to make sure it didn’t harm it. It is possible, of course, that plant growth, rain and wind might remove all the spores anyway. Does anyone know?

    #29524

    Delboy123
    Participant

    Thanks for the responses. I followed that excellent link and the series of photos made it all too clear that OE is undoubtedly the problem.

    Do I need to get rid of my huge and handsome milkweed plant or will the spores die off and disappear over winter?

    I’m not a fan of sprays of any type but it’s a pity there isn’t one that would take care of this problem. I hate to think I may have to get rid of one milkweed plant after another if the problem recurs.

    #29517

    Bernie
    Participant

    I agree with Pepetuna

    #29515

    Pepetuna
    Participant

    Carol’s right that they all have crumpled wings when they first emerge, until the wings are pumped up and then dry. But if your butterflies have emerged in the natural position (chrysalis hanging down) and the crumpled wings are hardened that way, it could be a sign that your butterflies have OE. OE is a parasite that infects some of the New Zealand population of Monarch butterflies. There is more about it here http://monarchparasites.uga.edu/whatisOE/index.html
    If you “fix up” butterflies that have OE, and allow them to touch your hostplant milkweed, they will pass it on to the next generation of caterpillars.

    #29514

    carols
    Participant

    When a butterfly first emerges from its tiny chrysalis the wings are very small & “crumpled”.
    After 20 minutes or so of hanging undisturbed and free of any obstructions the butterfly will have “pumped up” the wings to normal size.
    The butterfly will then remain where it is, often for a couple of hours while its wings dry, before it flies off.

    #29513

    Delboy123
    Participant

    Just saw the following in an older posting re messed-up wings, I think it’s worth trying.

    “If you get them while the wings are still dampish, use half a standard Post-It note folded around all the wings as a splint. Let the butterfly dry several hours in this and then see how it looks. The adhesive sticks well enough to stay on for a while but lifts off easily when you need to remove it… doesn’t seem to take too many scales off in the process….”

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