Butterfly Eggs

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  • #52059


    I just wondered what do I do with the harvested eggs. As in, how do I keep them until they hatch and then what do I do with the tiny caterpillars.
    Up until now I have been covering swan plants that have eggs on them to keep paper wasps away, but do see the rotten beggars still accessing any little caterpillars that are resting on the inside of the shade cloth. They suck the daylights out of them through the shade cloth. So bringing the eggs inside would be a good idea, but just want to know how I keep them safe until hatched. I then transport the caterpillars from the shade cloth “cage” to my green house where I’ve grown about 80 large swan plants.. Thank you.

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  • #52084

    rob cooper

    ok jaqui you so cool you so help people now you have sent me video on how to roll eggs i would stuff that up lol right ive gone back to my old way of sorting eggs i cheak every day for new eggs i put a bit of tape on the end of the leaf then cheak on them twice a day to see there change yea purple colour with a little black head on them so now pick that leaf off bring it inside to hatch we geting so many away now yea every one has there ways cheers rob



    Hi Jacqui. Thank you so much for your in depth instructions on gathering and hatching the Monarch eggs. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my question. So far so good this year with the caterpillars and butterflies. Probably released about 200 so far. I gathered up the first lot of caterpillars from the host plants and put onto all new plants in the green house and initially about 12 turned black and smelled bad.. guess it was the virus disease, because I had previously scrubbed the walls and roof of the green house (it’s made from the fine green mesh) so knew the inside was all clean. I carefully removed all those that had gone black and rotten and from then on.. no problems,, just 2 butterflies with slightly deformed wings, but they flew off when released.,So I’m now getting ready for the next lot of caterpillars. I will try and gather as many eggs as I can and follow your instructions as above. I’m trying to keep on top of the yellow aphids and being very vigilant and squashing them as soon as I see any. I don’t want to lose all the plants like I did last year. Many thanks for all the work you do for the Butterflies…



    This is one method, what I do Poplar Park.

    I roll the eggs off the leaves, between my thumb and forefinger and put them onto an ever-so-slightly damp paper towel (plain paper, no perfume or “additives”) in a takeaway food container. I add a leaf (or any leaves that have 2+ eggs on them). Put the lid back on the container (no need for airholes) and then I check the container daily.

    Each day I spritz the paper towel so it’s just a tiny bit damp. Then I put the lid on, no holes necessary.

    Note: if there is condensation on the inside lid of the container, it is too wet. If you don’t transfer everything to a new (dry) container you run the risk of mould and disease.

    Each day or twice a day I check the container for little caterpillars. As soon as you see frass (caterpillar poo) you know that some have emerged. That’s when my old makeup (eye shadow with sable bristles) brush comes into its own. The bristles are very soft and I gently push the brush onto the caterpillar so the caterpillar is on the end of the bristles.

    With the caterpillar on the end of the brush I paste the brush onto a leaf or stem of a very small plant. Quite often the caterpillar “panics” and spins a long thread of silk and drops down on that. Easy! I just wrap the silk around the leaf or stem before pulling the brush away.

    Make sure there is always a new leaf in with the caterpillars but remember that their first meal is their egg shell. Repeat this process for a week and you will be sure to have got all of the eggs.

    You may want to put a date on each container and keep up to seven of them in rotation. By Day 7 for sure all eggs would have hatched.

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