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    Murray McMillan

    Apologies. The need for caterpillars is is Christchurch South with phone 03 960 9356

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    Thanks for your help, I do appreciate your replies.I haven’t seen any more blackened corpses lately, or any stick insects or wasps, but I am watching & have my ( human ) spies out.I was feeling upset when the large c.pillars disappeared suddenly, but feel reassured.
    I am sure that as we, the monarchs & I, progress, I will need more guidance. Bye for now.Oh, I saw a red admiral up the river when swimming yesterday, that was a pleasure. I live in Nelson. Sweetpill



    Yes I agree with Jacqui, I find they do not like being moved when they are about to shed that skin. It can certainly upset them ehough to disorientate them somehow, from which they dont recover too well and in some cases die. I dont know for sure, but they seem to “wind down” and go into a semi hibernation mode type of thing. Also I might mention that sometimes they leave that skin on the leaf after shedding, and it does kinda look like a shrivelled up dead caterpillar a bit. Ive seen them eat this skin, but sometimes they dont.

    Oh yes they can easily go 30 metres. Some are “good” and will go where you put them and others are “rebellious” :D.

    Ive just “located” a few under the flap of the cardboard box along with others that seem to like it there. This box is housing (inside) my biggies in waiting to go into hockey sticks. Ive lost many chrysalis’ outside and so this is what I do. At the mo I have 28 inside with 1 escapee. The search and rescue has not been successful so far : mmm I wonder where the fat rascal has wriggled to!!!

    Swansong 🙂



    Funnily enough somewhere yesterday I read that earwigs will eat caterpillars. But certainly no-one has reported it on our website to any great extent. And I heard a neat way of trapping earwigs – leave a rolled up newspaper nearby overnight, and in the morning, discard of the newspaper as it will be filled with earwigs!

    The worst pests are definitely wasps and praying mantises. Shield beetles and those beetles with little “stingers” are also bad (assassin bugs). There’s a eall good site Landcare have so you can identify the bugs.

    Also, caterpillars will go as far as 30 metres!!! to find somewhere to make their chrysalis. Someone reported that he’d found a chrysalis 30 metres away from his nearest bush! We think that they do this to get away from predators.

    I used to help my caterpillars too, but then someone in the US told me that they will do just fine without our help. For instance, when they’re shedding their skins between instars, they will go away from the bush, and they think that’s to (once again) foil potential predators. I was told that they spin a silk pad so that they’re actually “glued” down to where they are going to make the change – so when I very kindly moved them back tot he bush I was probably more or less bringing about their death. Now I try and leave them more or less alone to do their own thing – unless they’re in a doorway where they’d get hurt etc.

    Hope this helps. Keep up the good work!




    Hi sweetpill, to my knowledge earwigs don’t eat caterpillars. I would first suspect praying mantis and check my plants thoroughly. I had the same experience a few days ago and removed the culprit! Also on another plant I found half a caterpillar and I’m sure it was bitten by a wasp I had seen earlier attacking another one. I had no idea they would take a bigger cat in two pieces. The cat would have been about 12mm before the bite. Be warned, there are nasties out there! It’s amazing how far a cat will travel to pupate – between 6-10 metres, and they don’t often appreciate a helping hand, but will wander off from where you put them. I generally mount a ‘search and rescue’ when I notice they’ve gone. Good luck. bcjenk.



    Hi,where do I start! I am new to having Monarchs in my garden. I have many swan plants in varying stages, & am having to remove eggs sometimes & also move caterpillars to a 2nd year plant I have. My question is, Do earwigs consume caterpillars,I have found blackened corpses small ones, & some earwigs too.Also, how far will the full sized caterpillars travel to find a secure place to crysalise,can I assist them? thanks sweetpill of Nelson.

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