Dying caterpillars :(

  • Creator
  • #60860


    Hi, I’ve had 17 caterpillars reach full size ready to go to a chrysalis and then they just go black and die. I’m raising them inside in a large container and then transferring them outside to a greenhouse. I pick fresh milk weed for them daily and keep it in water. The only other plants in the greenhouse are tomatoes and an Avo tree. Any idea what might be the problem?

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  • Author
  • #60867


    Hi Lynnie

    There are various viruses and pathogens which are in the atmosphere and of course we can’t see them. One of the leading causes of caterpillars not becoming butterflies (apart from predators, parasites) is Oe (Ophryocystis elektroscirrha).

    You can spend hours researching on what is affecting them and not seeing a change – or you can undertake some of the steps to reduce/prevent Oe and have success without actually knowing if it was Oe or something else. I suggest you look at your methods and even incorporating one or two of these steps can see an improvement dramatically.

    These were covered in our magazines last year and I’m not sure if those magazines are freely available on our website yet. But there is information in the FAQ (tab above, far right) and also on a search of the forum these results appear.

    Posts about Oe

    Or you could also click on the hot tags for “disease”.

    Hope that’s helpful! Good luck!



    Hi Lynnie

    Intuition would tell me change in temperature, however, I am no expert and I don’t know what the conditions were of the indoor and outdoor environments.

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