Run Away Caterpillars Help?????!

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Caryl 5 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #36830

    yolomumma
    Participant

    i just brought a swan plant this spring and planted it. as soon as the first caterpillar hatched i was checking on it daily clearing off extra eggs so that my plant wasn’t over run so far i have had 3 fully grown caterpillars but just as they are big enough to chrysalis they disappear at night I’ve searched around the area for a chrysalis but cannot find one. this has come to be very disappointing for my 2 little children who have named and helped raise these caterpillars. can someone tell me how to keep them on the plant or have any idea where they have gone? how far can one roam? I’m i doing it wrong

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  • #36845

    Caryl
    Participant

    Great news… you’ll probably find the others too!

    #36844

    yolomumma
    Participant

    thank you so much for the tip to look under leaves i didn’t think of that and have found one of my 3 caterpillars chrysalis under a large sliver beet leaf my kids are very happy

    #36838

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hey Yolomumma…

    They are hiding from predators, and sadly that includes us. Devious little devils, eh?

    What you can do is take a branch of your milkweed (swan plant) or even a few leaves in a jar or vase of water, and the BIGGEST caterpillar. Put it in a container and put the container in a tray of water to act as a moat. Now he HAS to stay where he is. You will also want to put a fairly dry stick in the vase for him to make its chrysalis on.

    That way you will see him J and turn into a chrysalis… and a butterfly in due course.

    A couple of points to watch out for. You will want to stand that all on a plastic sheet… as you will get frass (poo) all on the table. You will also need to ensure the cut edge of the swan plant is broken up so that it can absorb water.

    If that doesn’t make sense, ask away and I’ll try to explain. Could even upload a photo or two if you like. And also – do it indoors so there are no pests going to get him, but make sure you’re not using any pesticides inside your home such as plug in pest repellents or flea collars on pets.

    Hope that will help you.

    Jacqui

    #36835

    Caryl
    Participant

    Yes you may not be looking far enough – check fences, ledges, walls, gates, under ledges,on windows, they often make them under leaves of other plants, on the side of pots, on tree trunks, on rosemary bushes, even on my salad greens, parsley etc. Good luck!

    #36833

    yolomumma
    Participant

    i thought that at first but these a huge caterpillars and they disappear over night theres no pray mantis and I’ve seen no wasps around i have been checking on them a lot

    #36831

    Miranda
    Participant

    I’ve found chrysalises all over the place – much further from the plants than I expected. However it’s also possible (likely) that wasps are taking/eating the caterpillars at the moment. Or if you have a large praying mantis around, he/she might also eat the caterpillars.

    Some people use an old net curtain over their plants to stop the wasps. It helps, but I’ve also had wasps kill and try to eat caterpillars through the netting. It’s really sad. 🙁

    One option would be to bring the caterpillars inside when they get bigger. You can keep them in a container and clean it out and replace the leaves each day. Or others cut a bit off a plant and keep it in a vase on their tables. Just be aware that the caterpillars can drown so make sure they can’t actually get down into the vase. Oh and make sure you don’t have one of those automatic fly spray gadgets in the house. Good luck! 🙂

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