Butterflies land & lay eggs but nothing comes of them.

  • Creator
  • #51329


    I live in Gulf Harbour – I kept my plant in a pot for the first 2 years and had many caterpillar / butterflies. Last year I planted out the plant and had no caterpillars, yet a plant in a pot a few feet away produced eggs, caterpillars, chrysalis & butterflies. One thing I did notice was the leaves have turned a very dark green. Recently, I have witnessed the butterflies visiting the plant in the garden yet once again the eggs/caterpillars are not growing. There is evidence of a baby caterpillar possibly eating a very small amount of leaf – then nothing. There are NO pests on the plant that I can see. The plant is close to 2 metres high now, very bushy with lots of pods and flowers.
    Do I need to pull out this plant and start again? I desperately want butterflies this summer.

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  • Author
  • #51341


    Great idea, Stefan!


    Stefan Olson

    I’m just south of you in Northcross. And I have plenty of eggs but no caterpillars. I haven’t seen many wasps around but since I’ve seen a tiny caterpillar there one day, but not the next, I’m assuming wasps are eating them.

    My solution is little mesh bags that you can get from a two dollar shop. I put them over the top of the end of the swan plant branch, moving caterpillars if necessary and it stops the wasps from getting in.

    I’ll be starting to do that again from tomorrow. I use really tiny bags for the eggs And then increase the bag size as they get bigger so I know at which stage I’m looking.




    Hello, thanks for that. I have spotted 3 eggs, with one looking as though it is ready to hatch (almost black) so will keep a close eye on them. I covered the plant last year with netting but still no chrysalis formed but will cover again shortly.



    No don’t pull it out. It is most likely to be ants or wasps.

    When you see the monarch on the plant, do you see it laying eggs – I mean actually with its ovipositor touching the leaf and an egg as a result?

    If so, then I suggest you mark one of the leaves where it has been laid and watch to see if the egg disappears. You could use a bit of coloured tape or a clothespeg perhaps.

    It should take 4-5 days before the caterpillar emerges so check the plant once or twice each day. Just before the caterpillar emerges the egg looks black.

    If this happens, then I suggest that you cover the plant with an old net curtain to foil the wasps.

    It is also a possibility that the eggs are infertile if they are still there after five days.

    Let us know please what happens

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