Anyone have caterpillars or eggs? have plants, need livestock

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  • #14995

    Pepetuna
    Participant

    Kia ora tatou

    I have been rearing Yellow Admirals and Monarchs, but new season’s livestock are not yet appearing. I am uncertain whether that’s because it’s too early for adults to be laying eggs here (Waikato, near Hamilton)or whether the eggs are being taken by wasps. I have grown a lot of food plants (nettles, milkweed, groundsel) and would appreciate "starter" stock of small caterpillars; Admirals (especially Reds) monarchs, blues, or Magpie Moth caterpillars (fuzzy bears)…even cabbage whites. Prepared to drive reasonable distance. Willing to swap for buddleia cuttings, nettle plants. Can anyone help?

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  • #28798

    Anna
    Participant

    Great. I have a bit of netting over the box as well to stop some getting out while I’m putting others in the release box, then when i go to let them out, most are clinging to the netting, and fly off once they get the chance.
    My ‘release box’ is a square lidded gift box with wood shavings in the bottom. I think they are called wood wool?

    #28795

    Pepetuna
    Participant

    Yes, it is lovely to see them flitting…they have such a different way of flying to the gliding Monarchs. I had 16 for release yesterday, and seem to have plenty here now, so took them over to Te Puna Quarry Park and released them. Mary put some in an enclosure with nettles. They do seem to pair and lay OK in a (relatively) confined space, unlike the Monarchs that I have not paired successfully yet.
    Transporting them as adults was trouble-free. I had put them straight into the release box early in the morning, when they were cool and not very lively. Didn’t need to chill them by packing ice-bricks around the release box, as I knew the car was air-conditioned, and that we would be releasing them within an hour and a half. When box was opened they were resting on the lid, sunned for a few seconds, then flew off. Beautiful.

    #28619

    Anna
    Participant

    Pepetuna, thats great news!
    I have managed to establish a colony of them here, (if thats what its called) by raising and releasing as many as possible, and by growing a couple of patches of nettle.
    Now out in the nettles theres lots of little tents, so I am raising some in a sheltered environment…(my containers etc), and leaving the rest to tough it out in the real world….to see how they get on.
    Its lovely to have Yellow Admirals flittering about in the garden…though a lot just take off without even a backwards glance!

    #28617

    Pepetuna
    Participant

    Today I released 15 Yellow Admirals Anna (those ones you sent up as larvae). They had laid eggs on the two nettle plants I had in there, so I should be OK for livestock now…though still no Red Admirals, and have only the merest handful of Monarchs. But very happy with your gift Anna…they looked so beautiful fluttering off to freedom, dancing together in the wind.

    And the eggs I had obtained from the first pairing (the fecund 5) have started growing…tiny little caterpillars, busily making tents of the new young leaves.

    #28553

    Anna
    Participant

    Pepetuna, thats great….fingers crossed for a Red or two.

    I have tons of tiny just emerged Admiral caterpillars to give away at the moment if anyone wants them. Just email me annabarnett@xtra.co.nz

    #28537

    Pepetuna
    Participant

    Anna, the first of the Admirals you sent me (as larvae) ecloded today. It’s a Yellow. I have put him/her in a castle with nectar and nectar plants as I’m expecting 2 more soon (the chrysalises have started to colour up). I’m very happy with your gift…just hope I get some Reds tho’. 🙂

    #28462

    Pepetuna
    Participant

    Hi all. Juat reporting that the first of the Admirals Anna sent are J-ing now, so expect a whole lot of pupae when I get back from Auckland on Friday night.

    Still no sign of eggs on the nettles in my “love nest” … the castle I have populated with nectar plants, nettles and 5 Yellow Admiral butterflies. Maybe 5 isn’t enough? I’m not sure I feel confident enough to try hand-pairing (though I did get shown how to do this over in the States). Has anyone tried this with Admirals?

    #28445

    Pepetuna
    Participant

    Hi Rebecca. Yes, I’ve seen wasps around too…and no butterflies. It’s amazing that even the white butterflies are affected: I only found one very small caterpillar on Father’s cabbages. Can’t believe they would only lay one egg, so I think they are being taken. If you email you phone number I can come and get some eggs if you can spare them. I work in Te Rapa. Email is Kate.Young@twoa.ac.nz

    #28442

    Rebecca
    Participant

    I’m from hamilton too and had a monarch laying eggs about 4 weeks ago. Sadly the wasps have come early and they ate most of them but I have two fully grown caterpillars that are almost ready to form their chrysalis.

    They aren’t liking the colder temperature of the last few days so I think that I will move them into shelter. I have more egss though so let me know if you want some. They might be safer with you if you have castles to keep them in. I live in the Te Rapa area.

    milkweed – I have also seen the swan plant in the Waikato Uni carpark – not exactly an ideal place for it. I have always hoped that they don’t wander away from the plant and get run over.

    #28429

    milkweed
    Participant

    There’s a large healthy looking Swanplant in Waikato University main carpark that I guess has at least some eggs on it because the butterflies hang around the campus everyday.

    #28428

    Anna
    Participant

    Its great they all arrived in good condition. Fastpost is great eh?
    One thing you might like to try with the Yellow Admirals in the castle, is to cut a bit of ripe fruit eg a juicy orange, apple or pineapple, and gently place the butterfly on it, and wait a few seconds till you see their tongue unfurl…then they start feeding!
    (To pick the butterfly up I wait until the butterfly is sitting quietly with wings folded, then hold her very gently by the wings just behind her head, and it doesn’t seem to harm them.)

    #28423

    Pepetuna
    Participant

    Thank you so much Anna. Caterpillars and eggs arrived all alive and well, and host plant material still fresh-looking. They transferred to the potted nettle plants OK, and are now happily munching away.

    I’ve also got the last 3 Yellow Admirals that emerged in a castle with 2 nectar plants and one nettle…might get lucky and get a pairing.

    #28406

    Pepetuna
    Participant

    Thanks Zoe & Anna. I will follow both up. Anna, you can feel confidant I won’t let the wasps get them. I rear them in castles on potted nettles, and the wasps can’t get in. The problem at the moment is no eggs. Of course, I should have kept the last lot of ten confined for a few days with a nectaring plant and a nettle plant, and hopefully got a pairing and some eggs before I released them. I’m always so keen to let them go!

    #28405

    Anna
    Participant

    Good on you Pepetuna. I can help with Admiral Caterpillars. I go out and collect them when they are really tiny, before the parasites get them here, then raise them in containers with mesh covers over the containers.
    If you email me I will get your address etc and send some up to you. annabarnett@xtra.co.nz

    #28404

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Hi Pepetuna,

    Im in Tauranga, i watched around 10 different monarch females in the garden today laying eggs, and already have caterpillars. When i get more small ones hatch im more then happy to swap for buddleia with you.

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