Terry's Admiral Project in Britain update?

This topic contains 979 replies, has 18 voices, and was last updated by  Fabian.E 2 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #14476

    Jane
    Participant

    Hey Terry,

    How did your admiral project get through? I remember at one stage you Admirals were looking like they might not make it through, and seeing your name in the forum has made me wonder how you got on………I think you were down to a last few at one point…..any chance of an update?

    Regards and best wishes – Jane

Viewing 25 replies - 26 through 50 (of 979 total)
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  • #51274

    Terry
    Participant

    Lost a large batch of larvae to wilt but luckily another 100 from an earlier batch just pupated with no problems. This disease is very resistant to treatment and almost impossible to eradicate without the Butterfly House being emptied and left fallow over a few winters. This I cannot do so the fight between myself and the disease continues.

    #51250

    Terry
    Participant

    Hi Jacqui,

    Maybe I could suggest replacing the old document of mine with the latest version as a search on google only finds the older version. Maybe you could put the new one somewhere on Monarch Trust website where it will be found easier by interested parties as it holds the most up to date info. I linked to it from further down this thread as that is the only place I could find it.

    #51249

    Terry
    Participant

    Hi Jacqui,
    Yes the document would be useful but there are some differences in behaviour in the adult stage. I found, and I know Norm has also found, that the New Zealand Red Admiral can be a bit unpredictable when it comes to obtaining pairings in captivity. I found that unlike the Yellow Admiral it was harder though not impossible to get them to pair mid winter but also sometimes in the summer period. I never did work this species out in full but Norm Twigge has lots more experience with them than me.
    I suggest linking to the latest document (below) as it has photo’s and is updated with extra information.

    https://www.monarch.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Yellow-Admiral-Breeding-Programme-at-2017.pdf

    #51248

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Terry, I have a question with regards to red admirals… it may be something you’ve answered earlier.

    For a person who knows nothing about breeding RED admirals, would your document about yellow admirals be useful? Are there big differences (besides the colour)? I know red admirals are a forest butterfly, and yellows more from open ground… but what other differences are there?

    For anyone reading this, Terry’s booklet has a huge amount of information and can be found here:

    https://www.monarch.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/yellow-admiral-breeding-programme.pdf

    **********************
    Fixed – try this version here:

    https://www.monarch.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Yellow-Admiral-Breeding-Programme-at-2017.pdf

    **********************

    Thanks, in advance.

    Jacqui

    #51246

    Terry
    Participant

    This latest batch of larvae to make it through to pupation has produced 190 pupae. The first 3 butterflies emerged yesterday and I have placed fresh trays of rejuvenated nettles in the Butterfly House to accommodate the eggs to follow after pairings have occurred.
    I have another small batch of full grown larvae that should start to pupate this week, which is just right to keep a good supply of butterflies as we head in to the Autumn season here in the UK.

    #51177

    Terry
    Participant

    Only 88 of the pupae emerged and now its a wait to see if the next 2 batches of larvae make it to pupation or die of the wilt. I hope they make it as the late summer is the worst time of the year for the project and I need a good number of Butterflies going into the Autumn in order to make the winter phase easier.

    #51115

    Terry
    Participant

    The 2nd instar larvae contracted wilt and all died. This leaves me with the 116 pupae and the fresh larvae hatching from sterilised eggs. It just goes to show how quickly one can go from a large number of larvae down to a smaller number in a very short time with this dreadful disease in the stock. If the next batch go down with wilt it would lead to crisis point very quickly. The sterilisation technique is far from a perfect answer to the problem.

    #51092

    Terry
    Participant

    The batch of pupae totalled 116 in the end. That’s a fair amount to keep the project going and I also have another batch of second instar larvae feeding up. I have already sterilised yet another batch of eggs and the larvae are appearing even as I write this. The weather has been very unsettled here in the UK with much rain, but on the continent of Europe they have a heatwave. Rather them than me!

    #51076

    Terry
    Participant

    Another batch of larvae have started to pupate. Not so large this time and possibly only up to 100 if all goes well. I also have some 2nd instar larvae and some freshly sterilised eggs.
    The weather took a turn for the worse in July with very unsettled conditions and plenty of rain. This however can be a blessing in disguise as the wet weather means better quality nettles for feeding the larvae and hopefully fewer losses as a result.

    #51041

    Terry
    Participant

    Most of this huge batch of pupae have now produced butterflies. The next couple of days should see the remainder emerge due to the hot weather. The next job will be to collect freshly laid eggs and sterilise them to make a back up to the small larvae I have already developing. Wilt is a problem at this time of year due to the hot weather so back ups are necessary. The project is very time consuming and at this time of year with the nettles past there best, it just takes more time to gather enough food plants. My health is not too good at the moment which also makes it a bit of a struggle, but the project gives me a distraction from that, so helps in some ways.

    #51018

    Terry
    Participant

    The total of pupae from the last batch was 450. These should produce plenty of butterflies and see the project through to the middle of August. I already have 1st instar larvae from sterilised eggs developing so this creates a good back up. The Nettles in the wild are now past there best so I must be prepared for higher larval losses late summer. The most important time to get a large brood through is late autumn as these Butterflies will be the ones to see me through the winter months and into a new season.

    #50973

    Terry
    Participant

    I now have another generation of V Itea larvae in the process of pupation. I have no idea how many yet but it looks like a large number and no sign of wilt disease. I will need to collect another batch of eggs for sterilisation this week to start the following generation. The weather has been very hot but this has been good for native species with good numbers of Purple Emperor in there known locations and the odd stray showing up as well. I saw one on the 4th of July at White Downs on the North Downs near Ranmore Common this Tuesday. The Dark Green Fritillary are also doing well this year.

    #50864

    Terry
    Participant

    I had problems with last post so had to edit it. The link should be working now!
    New Photos were Albums; Botany Bay, Fairmile Common, Blean Woods, And Small Blues at Park and Ride.

    #50863

    Terry
    Participant

    The Heatwave is over now and we are back to normal summer weather, that is cloudy with sunny spells. The 350 pupae have produced about 300 butterflies but there were quite a few deformed, due to the heatwave I assume. The next generation is now 2nd instar so hopefully things will go smoothly but a wilt outbreak is an ever present danger.
    Here is a link to other Butterflies seen by myself and friend Jeff over the last Week.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/16358104@N08/albums

    #50826

    Terry
    Participant

    The total of pupae from this batch of Yellow Admiral actually reached 350. I also received a surprise when transferring freshly hatched larvae to a box with nettles, that I had accidentally cut a nettle with a batch of Small Tortoiseshell eggs on the underside, so I carefully removed the eggs to another box and will either rear these through and release the butterflies or find a nettle patch to place the larvae on outside. The weather is very hot at the moment and set to continue like this for a few more days before returning to normal.

    #50822

    Terry
    Participant

    I lost one whole batch of larvae to wilt last week even though the eggs had been sterilised. It only takes one larvae to go down before it spreads like a wild fire through the remaining stock. Luckily I had a batch previous to that one where the larvae stayed free of the disease and yesterday I glued up the first 150 pupae. The are a few more pupae still to be formed but some of the later ones are showing signs of the disease so at my estimation I may end up with approximately 300 in total. I have already started collecting eggs from the last generation to emerge, and sterilised these yesterday so now it is just a matter of waiting for the larvae to develop and off we go again.

    #50763

    Terry
    Participant

    Regarding the Lantana bushes, they have now both been cut back hard including the Lemon Tree. Over the years all three have managed to grow so large they now push against the roof netting so a serious pruning was essential. I have already noticed the first Lantana bush has green buds on the trunk so it has survived. I just need to bring in fresh nettles when the next batch of pupae start to colour up and then; on to another generation of Yellow Admirals! Will the madness ever end?

    #50757

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    Hi Terry, regarding the lantana bushes, they will propagate easily from cuttings and only take about 6 weeks to form a root system. Much quicker than waiting for seed, I do it often to keep up a supply of nectar plants.

    #50731

    Terry
    Participant

    250 pupae glued up today. I have noticed that the average size of the pupae is down, now that the early spring nettles are no longer available.
    I have also given one of the lantana camara bushes a severe pruning in the butterfly house. In fact the pruning was very brutal and I think it may take a long time to recover, however they are both way to large now so something had to be done. The second one will be pruned very soon but I will take a few seeds from it first just in case they both perish. The remaining Yellow Admirals from the last generation are looking very worn and tatty so the timing of the next batch was just about right. I also have second instar larvae for the following generation, so barring any severe outbreak of wilt I should get butterflies through to late summer with that generation.

    #50710

    Terry
    Participant

    For anyone reading this thread who would like to see some of the butterflies of the UK photographed in high quality here is a link to Jeff Boswell’s Flickr page; JFB Orpington;
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/16358104@N08/albums. This album also contains photo’s from London Zoo conservation and Whipsnade. of which Jeffrey is a ZSL life member (fellow).

    #50692

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Terry has created a really useful document about how he built his yellow admiral butterfly house. You can find a copy here:

    https://www.monarch.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Yellow-Admiral-Breeding-Programme-at-2017.pdf

    Thanks Terry, much appreciated.

    #50687

    Terry
    Participant

    The weather is now hot and at summer levels. The Yellow Admirals are doing well and I have some large larvae about to pupate. The wilt disease is more prevalent in the butterfly house due to the hot weather so all larvae reared are now from sterilised eggs to try and prevent the disease. It is still easy to find good quality nettles to feed the larvae at this time of year but by the next generation the quality will be down as is normally the case mid summer onward.

    #50603

    Terry
    Participant

    The unbelievably cold spring weather looks like it is over at last. The forecast is for near normal temperatures from today. Native butterflies are way behind there normal emergence times and we have a drought in the South East of England to make things worse. I have not seen even one Grizzled Skipper on my searches this year so I hope they are delayed and not killed by the cold. The 350 pupae from my Yellow Admirals are emerging now and I have two more generations of small larvae on the go for the next generation. The Wilt disease is still active so care and cleanliness are essential.

    #50543

    Terry
    Participant

    The total of pupae from the spring generation was 350. I am satisfied that this was a major achievement with wilt disease still in the stock, however the next generation may prove more difficult as the nice fresh spring nettles are getting older and not so nutritious. The spring weather is the worst I can remember. It is very cool and cloudy and nothing is flying in the wild. I had one brimstone egg laid on my buckthorn bush and the larvae died in the cold snap. We are stuck in an east to north easterly weather pattern and the winds are cold. Normally we would be in a south to south westerly pattern and it would be at least +10c warmer.

    #50500

    Terry
    Participant

    I have hundreds of larvae pupating at this time but wilt has broken out amongst the slowest developers. It was difficult to separate them out into many boxes as there are so many larvae to cope with. The nettles in the Butterfly House are huge so I think I need to only collect eggs and sterilise them for the next batch and not collect full grown wilt survivors as I need the nettles reduced and need extra boxes for the sterilised larvae. It’s either that or cut the nettles down manually and wait for them to regrow. The weather is about to improve after one of the coldest late Aprils for a long time.

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