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  • #49846



    After seven deaths, even after complete washing and soil change, I am forced to concede it was the plants that keep killing my poor ‘pliers.

    The ‘pliers get slow whilst living and feeding on the plants until they freeze up entirely. Sometimes their front legs stick right out, grotesquely, and the very young ‘pliers tend to go translucent yellow… Even after first noticing this after only 24 hours, some of them never recovered, making the whole death toll well over a dozen.

    Not happy.

    Bunnings use the MONARCH.ORG.NZ labeling and advertise them for use as a teaching tool, etc etc etc. There is no warning, no verbal communication, no point made of any type that these plants have been sprayed or are otherwise dangerous to use straight away.

    Horrible practice. Really upsetting.

Viewing 8 replies - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
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  • #49871


    I’ve just spoken with Bunnings Petone and they said they had no idea this was happening. They are getting in touch with Zelandia to see whats going on and will get back to me – so shall keep you posted!



    This just happened to us too!! from Bunnings in Petone. We have bought plants from them before that were fine and got some more yesterday and now all our caterpillars are dead/ dying! It’s heartbreaking! We are so gutted, also thankful we don’t have any excited kids about! Very disappointed and upset 🙁



    In the tags it says the Petone branch.



    Tony, this is an awful situation for you and others who have experienced a similar situation. It is unlikely to be Bunnings that did the spraying, more likely the grower (Zealandia) who for commercial purposes do so. Their set ups are such that to cover the swan plants and then uncover them several times a day for watering is just not commercially viable. One nursery I know of is going to put labels on their plants advising buyers to make them only available to caterpillars after 2 weeks. Of course the possibility exists that they may sit with the garden centre for more than 2 weeks. They may need to be dated and that’s seems unlikely.
    One of the images of a dead caterpillars appears to me to have been attacked by a soldier bug – the image I am referring to is the one showing the caterpillar almost in 2 pieces. That bug pierces the skin of the caterpillar and kills it. I have that happen in my garden every season despite checking for predators almost daily.
    I am sorry you experienced this – like Jacqui says best to grow your own or find someone with a glasshouse who would be happy to help or buy garden centre ones in plenty of time for the caterpillars to safely feed on them. Caryl (Wellington)


    Dane Keriboi Hawker

    Which one? I used Bunnings Constellation Drive with no problems in the past.



    Hi Tony,

    I’m sorry to hear that you have this problem, it must be very distressing.

    Firstly, please understand that we who run the MBNZT are all volunteers and we have private lives too. For example, I have been visiting a school this morning telling them about butterflies and this afternoon I was running around after my grandson. And now I should be back to editing our magazine. I’m sure our other volunteers have all been busy too, otherwise someone would have commented on your post.

    There are six photographs above with two caterpillars dead/dying in it. With you permission I would like to delete five of them so that this thread is more concise. There are also six “Warning Bunnings” images.

    We have given Zealandia permission to put our web address on their plant labels so that people can come here and find out more information about hosting monarch caterpillars, growing swan plants etc. There is a useful post on our website encouraging people not to depend on buying plants for food, but rather planting them for next year. Raising your own plants means you can be confident in the knowledge that your plants are pesticide-free (or not, whatever is the case).

    I personally do not like pesticides at all – I wish we could rid the planet of them. However, growers raise plants to sell, and that is their business. They will find it difficult to sell half-eaten plants, obviously. Monarch butterflies can smell the plants from over 2 km away, and no doubt the more plants that are being grown in a group, the stronger the smell. So the females are naturally driven to lay their eggs on the plant.

    What is a grower to do?

    Ideally, if the growers have sprayed plants then they could withhold them from sale until the pesticide has dissipated and the plants are fit for consumption by caterpillars. However, this doesn’t always happen.

    We have discussed this at length and put together a page on our website to help people understand the issue. And our recommendation is: if you’re buying plants, don’t use them as caterpillar food but rather grow them on for next year.


    Once again, I know how distressed you are about the loss and extend my commiserations. And I encourage you to plant seeds now for next year.




    Have been trying (like I said, below) to get a picture working here without success….

    So here is another attempt. Please try clicking and viewing the picture. It shows two of the dead and really should be a valid warning for us all.


    Bunnings Swan Plants are dangerous to use...

    Dead little sausages from Bunnings plants




    Not one comment at all?

    Seriously? Not even MONARCH.ORG.NZ is worried that Bunnings is using their good name to sell product that is clearly not fit for purpose and, in fact, kills the very thing they are advertising it as being useful for?


    Maybe someone representing MONARCH.ORG.NZ could at least offer to send Bunnings some basic facts on labeling and handling the product without contamination?

    Thanks for the help.

Viewing 8 replies - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)

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