Breeding Red Admirals

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  • #15034


    Made a trip to the King Country to collect Admiral caterpillars. I collected 10 large Red Admiral Caterpillars (4th 5th instar) and 20 mini pint sized Red Admiral caterpillars(2nd &3nd instars. Thought this would be enough to start a home population and breed them. Had a few teething problems but managed to get the more mature caterpillars to pupate and now have 4 butterflies hatched and one more to come. Hopefully out of the 5 I should be able to start up a Red Admiral breeding colony and get the experience I am after. My biggest learning curve (and problem)out of this venture is that 20 baby caterpillars just dissapeared. My shadehouse is on concrete and I had the caterpillars on a small leafed annual nettle dug up from the King Country.I couldent figure out just where they went. They just dissapeared. I have had a few years breeding Yellow Admirals ON GRASS in my shadehouse and never had this problem. I think that in a concrete world there is more competition for food. I assume ants have been snacking on my babies. Have now moated my nettles for egg laying….what a hassel!!! If I can get any eggs!!!! Will have to pay the butterflies an early morning visit for a sexing eercise. My main problem for now is what happened to all those babies? Are ants the culprit?

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  • #28660


    Rob, It would seem to me that 3rd instar caterpillars would be too big for an ant to carry off, and I wonder if there may be another culprit involved. At the moment I have heaps of recent emerged preying mantids in my garden and also caught one inside my shade house, these guys can get through standard shade cloth mesh when newly emerged and at that stage are almost impossible to detect. It is only when they grow bigger that their movement on a plant gives them away, and a mantid has an unsatiable appetite.



    As you say Rob,you have now” moated” the nettle pot.It is a bit of a hassle but I have found it the only way to defeat ants.



    Hi Rob,

    Have you got a plan to deal with the ants?



    Ant Caught ‘red handed’ explains it all

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