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    I have had my Swan plant under a mosquito net for a week. When I put the mosquito net there, there were lots of eggs. After a week, NO CATERPILLARS. The suspect (and Gilly confirms it) ants taking my eggs away! The sods!

    How can I control them without harming the Monarchs? I’ve got the net back and there are a lot more eggs again, so I want to organise some anti-ant measures and THEN put the mosquito net over it again, to keep my Monarchs free from wasps and other insects.

    Help! Please.


    PS Have also asked the Monarch international list – so will post any responses I get there.

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    I didn’t find the Vaseline worked for me, but was passed this tip today – has anyone tried it? The tip is to spray WD-40 on the floor and ants won’t cross it. When I get some I’m going to spray a square around my greenhouse,and see if the ants stay away! Much better than any poison, I should think, if it works.

    WD-40 — who knew? Water Displacement #40.
    The product began from a search for a rust preventive solvent and degreaser to protect missile parts.

    WD-40 was created in 1953 by three technicians at the San Diego Rocket Chemical Company. Its name comes from the project that was to find a “water displacement” compound. They were successful with the fortieth formulation, thus WD-40.

    The Corvair Company bought it in bulk to protect their Atlas missile parts. Ken East (one of the original founders) says there is nothing in WD-40 that would hurt you.

    According to what I’m told, the basic ingredient is fish oil.


    Discovery Team

    Yesterday I found the ants were climbing over the barrier of Vaseline. 🙁 I seem destined to have few caterpillars this year, but my Swan plants look VERY healthy!!!



    Thanks I wondered why when I was releasing so many butterfles that no caterpillars are appearing.
    Will try the vaseline! Or else Vicks!



    They dont seem to have got this far south yet, but beleive they are getting closer all the time
    So with all this advice I will be prepared



    Look what I found on the internet!!!

    Predation of monrach butterfly larvae by ants.

    (extracts) by Corinne H Watts, Landcare Research, Hamilton

    January 1999, swan plants looked healthy despite visits by Monarchs. Every swan plant had substantial numbers of a small black ant on them. She isolated one plant from ants using Vaseline and left others as controls. After three weeks the ant-free plant ws stripped of its foliage and a number of larva of varying instars were present on the plant. Control plants still had little visible damage and only a few larger larvae were present (possibly having dispersed from the infested plant).

    “It appears that if Monarch larvae can evade predation past teh first instar they becom (1) too large to be carried away by the ants and/or (2) are too toxic to be consumed by Technomyrmex albipes.” (the ant she identified).

    I don’t have any Vaseline so have used Vicks as a temporary measure. The ants on my plants didn’t seem to like the barrier – could they smell it?




    Not even our native black ants????



    Come and live in the South Island, no ants here!!



    Okay, Gilly! I’m on to it.

    I have also bought some Marigolds which I will plant around the plants — evidently they will repel ants.

    Bernie Farrell (UK) says:

    Vasiline works fine but can be tricky with multi stemmed plants.
    What I do is sleeve the pot and put a brick or an upturned pot in a basin of water.I then stand the sleeved pot on this brick and the ants can not cross the water to get to it.
    Hope this helps
    Bernie F.

    As mine are in the garden, that won’t work in this case.

    Found my little book (Good Bug, Bad Bug) and IT DOES NOT MENTION ANTS!



    Jacqui, I use vaseline – smeer it around the trunk/stem/base of the swan plant and the ants won’t go over the vaseline. I sometimes do this also when I come across a bird’s nest in my trees/shrubs – it stops the argentine ants going and invading their nest. You have need replace it every few months.

    Get cracking and save those eggs! I am about to release 7 monarchs this morning 🙂 🙂

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