HELP!!!!! S.O.S !!!! Caterpillar food has run out.

  • Creator
  • #43414


    We have got quite a few caterpillars but no food for them.

    What else can we feed them?

    Have got to be careful where walk out side they are every where

Viewing 7 replies - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
  • Author
  • #43463


    Hi Nola

    Despite my neighbours locating and getting rid of a large wasp nest last year, I have once again had a prolific wasp problem so there’s obviously nests in the neighbourhood.

    I have lovely big bushy swan plants in my garden with nothing on them! I have had my helpers collecting eggs each day and then we put them in the butterfly house. There’s no need for me to cull eggs.

    That’s how it is around here. If I had more time I would visit my neighbours and look for wasps and nests but I don’t have time. I guess if the wasps cull the eggs, that suits me!




    Jacqui, if you don’t cull eggs, don’t you run out of food? Or don’t you get enough caterpillars? I had hundreds of plants and I got so many caterpillars that I ran out of food as you know, which amazed me. I thought I had far too many plants to run out (20 x 2 and 3 year old plants, most 8ft high, about 150 last year’s plants, all at least 6ft high, and about 300 self-sown plants 3-4ft high, down to about another 100 up to 3ft high, and most of them very bushy) but my caterpillar season started at the beginning of February and ended very unhappily in the 3rd week of March.

    All the plants are starting to leaf up again and because I had so many chrysalises and butterflies still hatching daily, I am having many eggs laid on the pretty-bare (still) plants, so I have to cull eggs to let one or two caterpillars per plant survive. Takes a long time going around this jungle doing that, but I was very upset watching caterpillars run out of food and die, so to me it is worth doing. I also spent so much time shifting caterpillars from plant to plant as each plant ran out of leaves. I would spend sometimes hours per day doing that.

    Please understand I am not for a moment criticizing you, I am genuinely interested in your setup. I only started butterfly gardening in June 2013 after doing your butterfly course, and I am learning all the time, although this year’s lesson has been the one that slapped me the hardest. I already have over 100 giant swan plant seeds germinating in one of the greenhouses, and we will let every swan plant self seed that wants to, (and we had 2 seasons of seed pods so I’m expecting a lot!) the same thing isn’t happening again by golly.

    You can tell from this that I don’t believe the Monarch is in crisis at all, not after what has gone on in my garden, lol. By the way, I am in Waiotira, Northland (a little to the south of Whangarei.)



    I don’t cull eggs but each to their own. But it is advisable to have a long-term sustainability plan – rather than buying plants in each spring.

    It is in different in different parts of NZ – it would be good to hear from others further south – and in the far north too.



    Hi Smokey
    If they have run out of swans plants I may be able to take some off your hands.
    Regards Blair



    More plants available in Redwood Christchurch – please phone Denise on 352 8123 for address. The plants are $7 each and it would be great if you could have the correct change when paying.




    Sorry I forgot say that we live Belfast Christchurch.

    Thanks for help and advice Caryl.

    There are at least 50 odd caterpillars scattered all over the place.

    Will grab all the big ones and feed them pumpkin.

    So far we had about 50 odd butter flies hatch out.

    We have about 20 caterpillars hanging at the moment.



    We need to know where you are. You need to cull eggs so this doesn’t happen. Many of us need to do this even when we have hundreds of swan plants. With the older caterpillars you can feed them fresh pumpkin, not the smaller ones. They will all eat the flowers, stems and leaves. I hope someone comes forward who can help those caterpillars. Also check on Trade Me for plants as there may be some available in your area.
    Caryl in Wellington.

Viewing 7 replies - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.