Admiral caterpillars

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    Topic
  • #15083

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Hi guys,

    I’m not sure if they’re still in season, (I’m new to admirals)

    but does anyone have admiral caterpillars (or eggs, I’m not sure which is better)? I have quite a few nettle plants, which should be ready in a week or so, so I’d only need a couple. I live in Northland. Where we live I haven’t ever seen an admiral. Any help would be greatly appreciated :-)

    Thanks,

    Thomas

Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 31 total)
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  • #31832

    Errol
    Participant

    If I were to post them, could the caterpillars last the three or four days closed up in a box or whatever?

    Does anyone have experience with sending caterpillars by mail?

    #31829

    Errol
    Participant

    I’m in Motueka, West across the Tasman Bay from Nelson.

    #31828

    Pepetuna
    Participant

    Where are you Errol? Rebecca is in Te Rapa, Hamilton.

    #31827

    Errol
    Participant

    I have probably more caterpillers than I need, as I only have a small nettle patch. Also  I doubt very much that they have been parasited by a wasp, as I bought them inside when they were just tiny little things.

    They are now safe and sound in their castle, so I could spare some if anyone wants. It might be better though for someone to pick them, as I have no experience with posting or how to do it.

    They are by the way, Yellow Admirals or at least some of them are.

    #31812

    Pepetuna
    Participant

    Hi Rebecca. Have just got back from flying visit to Chch – saw lots of Admirals there, both Red and Yellow, but will post that in another post. The European nettle you are growing is fine, and it is probably my most important host plant species: the little annual native one just doesn’t grow fast enough for me, and the big-leafed Urtica australis also runs out long before the European nettle does.

    Once I started growing nettles, the Admirals took a couple of years to start arriving at my place, but did eventually. I found it too risky getting caterpillars sent to me, as one lot had the dreaded NPV (a virus) and I haven’t really got rid of it since. It is best to wait for them to arrive, or get gravid females and they will lay eggs on a plant in a caterpillar castle. I have only got pupae at the moment, and I think they are all Reds. I have never successfully paired Reds in captivity so can’t really offer you any eggs. If you can’t wait for them to come to you, perhaps Anna or Jane can send you some small larvae??

    #31789

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    Hi Rebecca,

    Any species of nettle is fine for both Red and Yellow Admirals, they will lay on whatever is available.  The fact that the admirals have not visited your nettles simply means that they are probably not in your area at the moment.

    #31788

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    I reckon nettle has to be one of the most frustrating plants to grow. I would hate to try and do it commercially. I have the European nettle (weed) growing and it pops up all over the place – doesn’t bother me – also a couple of Urtica australis are going well too.

    But apart from the eggs I was given of Red Admirals, I haven’t seen any Admirals this summer… yet. Hope they will still come and visit – but the swan plants I’m selling are standing right next to the nettles, so the nettles probably smell a bit more like milkweed.

    Anyway, Rebecca, Kate lives in the Waikato so she would be the one to talk to about Admirals… she’s away at present but I’m sure will post when she gets back.

    Good luck!

    #31787

    Rebecca
    Participant

    I posted earlier the in the thread, and I have two quite large European nettles plants. I haven’t seen any admiral butterflies in Hamilton at all this summer and I have been waiting for them to come to my nettles, but I was wondering if they are the right type? Do I need to get native ones? I have tried growing the smaller native nettle from seed twice, but with no luck. I did everything right and used organic potting mix and everything … not sure why they didn’t grow because I have grown other things from seed successfully this season.

    #30873

    joanna
    Participant

    One way to get nettles in your garden more quickly than waiting for seeds to grow is to dig some up and transplant them. I have found both urtica urens and ferox have tolerated being shifted with no trouble at all. U urens often grows where sheep have been grazing – and especially in sheep paddocks under pine trees. I live near A&P Showgrounds and there are masses of nettles growing there in the sheep yards. I dug a clumps out and they didn’t even wilt when I shifted them into a pot. I shifted ferox plants which ranged from about 10cm to 30cm high and they are fine too….and free!!

    #30872

    JuliaTuineau
    Participant

    i live in Mangere, Auckland, and over 22 years have never seen Admirals in my garden. I have had a healthy clump of U. dioica for the past 2 years, and this spring have planted out another row of nettles beside my Buddleias, but despite such inducements no caterpillars yet – perhaps it is too early.

    Still, if someone in South Auckland happens to have spare caterpillars during the coming months, I would be happy to translocate some!
    Julia

    #30660

    Rebecca
    Participant

    Thanks Pepetuna,

    I live in Te Rapa. Where is the herb shop in Whatawhata? I will probably order some of the U. ferox from Oratia and try to get hold of some of the European Nettle too. As I am kind of in the city I probably don’t have as much room as some others but I thought that I would grow a couple of plants in pots and see how it goes. Do you ever get red admirals? I’m excited to have some admiral caterpillars.

    #30659

    Pepetuna
    Participant

    Hi Rebecca. This is so good to hear (that you frequently see Yellow Admirals)! I have been releasing Yellow Admirals for a few years, so very happy that someone closer to Hamilton will be doing so too. My place is out west of Rotokauri. I don’t have any caterpillars to share at the moment, but if you have the nettles growing, they will come.

    I got my Urtica ferox from Oratia Nurseries. http://www.oratianatives.co.nz You don’t have to drive all the way up there, as they will send them out. They pack them well so the plants arrive in good order. I have found that I keep losing the U. ferox plants to snails and frost, but the European nettle does well, and you can get it at herb shops, such as the herb place at Whatawhata. The other nettle that does particularly well for me is U. australis. It has much bigger leaves and so feeds a lot of hungry caterpillars. As previously noted in this thread, you can get that one and Urtica urens from Robert at http://support.nzbutterfly.info/

    #30657

    Jane
    Participant

    Hi Rebecca,

    Any nettles will do. There are probably many nettles around your area if you regularly see admirals!! Cultivation of any nettle will be good, and I think the trust sells seeds, but if you want quicker results Oratia Native plant nursery sells good nettles too. I learnt that it is good to have a few different nettle types because they have maximum growth at different times – that way you always have some for your caterpillars.

    If you grow Urtica dioica it is probably best to keep it in a pot and prevent it from seeding too (Only because it can be an invasive weed in NZ.

    #30654

    Rebecca
    Participant

    I have a question from a beginner to nettles and admirals.

    What kind of nettle should I start out with and how much do I need? Where I live (Hamilton) I do see the yellow admirals in summer they aren’t as common as the Monarch though, an I have never seen a red admiral.

    #29168

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Thanks so much for the offer Elizabeth, I will contact you once my nettles are ready. Does anyone know which/if there is a nettle that stays ever green? I know that urtica urens dies out after a while. Do all nettles do that? And what types of nettles are available in New Zealand?
    Thanks

    #29142

    Jane
    Participant

    Hi novice swan plant owner,

    When you think you are ready, ask jacqui to email me your postal address and email.

    #29141

    Jane
    Participant

    Hi novice swanplant owner.

    It is best to have all the different types of nettle if you can because each type is in full growth at different times, and when one type of nettle is finished its best flush of growth, another is beginning to look good. Just get as many going as you can.

    If there are nettles in your area, they will come and lay eggs on them. If after a while there are no eggs, then one of us may be able to supply you with some. Give all your nettles time to setlle in and put on food growth first, because it would be upsetting to have many caterpillars and not enough food for them. So my advice is get lots of nettles going, as many as you can and as many types as you can 😀

    #29138

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Hi Novice,

    I think Norm or Jane might give a better answer than me.

    But we have found the Yellow Admirals will eat any of the nettle and easy to raise. Just make sure you keep them on the same plant (don’t swap to different plants) whilst feeding them.
    As we learnt from our mistakes and we have now made sure we had a good supply of nettle before taking on raising Admiral caterpillars.

    I also think it depends on how much you want to plant out and where. We have 5 U. ferox plants and 4 are in pots and one in the ground. With the U. australis we have planted the bath tub full of this nettle this time, as the U. urens had died off. SO we decided to change from the urens.
    Then we have over 8 U. dioica in pots growing. We have just started off some more urens and australis seed.

    I could be wrong here but it does take a while to have the Admirals come to your nettle patch to lay. Unless you are in an area where nettle is all around you.
    It took us quite a while to get established and have them laying on our nettle.
    I would suggest you get some admiral caterpillars from someone or eggs and start from there.

    Hope this all helps you Novice.

    #29135

    Is there any difference to the Admiral caterpillars as to whether you buy the urtica ferox, urens or australis? I noted when reading info on the nettles (beginners guide to nettles) and the info provided by oratia nursery that the australis has larger leaves would this be good for hungry caterpillars or would they prefer some native ferox?? Or urens like thomas?? Am picking up another jumbo caterpillar castle today to protect my purchase then heading out this week to get my nettles. Also if I have never seen a admiral (ever!) what are my chances of the nettle bringing some to the garden on its own or do you think I need to procure some caterpillars??

    Thanks 🙂

    #29092

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Hi Novice,

    The plants at Oratia are very good to buy and a good price as well. When you go to Oratia nursery you may have to ask them to show you the nettles, as sometimes they do not have them out on display but placed out the back in a greenhouse;-)

    I don’t think they are open on a Sunday anymore;-( but I find them very helpful and good to deal with. Make sure you have plenty of nettles as the caterpillars will munch their way through the nettle.

    Another place to buy nettle plants is NZbutterfly.info as he sells nettle plants as well. They are only small plants but good for transplanting and getting a patch going.
    http://support.nzbutterfly.info/

    We brought an old bath tub off Trade Me and filled it up with compost and potting mix and planted nettles in here. They love it;-)

    #29060

    Elizabeth
    Participant

    Hi Thomas – I’ve only just seen your forum posting. I live in Northland too – near Whangarei – and have been saving admirals for several years now after they appeared on my European nettle patch (orginally planted for nettle tea!). I’ve got way too many and can’t save them all I’m afraid on my two nettle patches (one European and the other new this season, a native,u.incisa). If you want to drive over here you are most welcome to come and get some caterpillars – they are probably yellows, but we do occasionally get reds too. Last year I released over 1400 yellows, but only 16 reds so that gives you some idea of the scarcity of reds hereabouts.
    I live in Mt Tiger area, about 20 mins drive from Whangarei, inland from Parua Bay. Or maybe we could meet in Whangarei to hand over if it’s too far out here. elizamber@hotmail.com
    Elizabeth

    #29050

    Anna
    Participant

    I have tons of Admiral Caterpillars at the moment, and am happy to send them to anyone who has nettle, and a secure place to raise them….they tend to go walk-about if given the chance:)

    #29046

    Jane
    Participant

    Hi novice swanplant owner,

    Looks like you’ll need to change your name to novice nettle owner shortly!

    Yes you are growing all the right things for nectar with your zinnias and buddleias. You are on the right track and need some nettles for the caterpillars. Any nettles will do and there are several kinds. Oratia nursery can provide you with plants: http://www.oratianatives.co.nz and you can get seeds from the MBNZT shop too (see the ‘Shop’ tab at the top of the page and go to seeds.

    There is a good chance you will see Admirals if you get some nettles growing, and will get some eggs on your plants. If there are no caterpillars on your plants after a while, you can post here you are very likely to get some help with that too : )

    #29044

    Hi there,

    Like Thomas I would love to get into raising some Admirals, and have never seen one before (except in pics on this website!!) Have a couple of caterpillar castles and a garden full of zinnias, buddleia etc to keep them around (assuming they like the same type of flowers as monarchs) I am in Auckland, North Shore.

    I think I read on here that you can buy the right type of nettles in a nursery in Oratia? is there anywhere else in Auckland you can buy nettle plants? and are they best kept in a caterpillar castle or growing free?

    Thanks

    #29043

    Jane
    Participant

    Hi Thomas,
    Re the urtica urens – yes all the admirals like it.

    I don’t have Red Admiral caterpillars yet, BUT I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed that I will have some. (See thread ‘Breeding Red Admirals’)

    If you’ve got lots of plants at 20cm it sounds to me like you are ready for some eggs or caterpillars in the post! : ) Maybe Anna has a few?

Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 31 total)

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