Immature monarch caterpillar migration

  • Creator
    Topic
  • #51369

    Helenf
    Participant

    We live in Northland N.Z. We have a large 7ft tall healthy swan plant, plenty of lovely growth on it. This morning we discovered most of the caterpillars, all from 5mm to 30mm have abandoned the plant. They have travelled down the trunk and were in the grass type plants beneath. We have rescued 65 of them and shifted them to another large plant but they appear to be doing the same thing. We have been registered organic growers for 20 years. We now have a 1 acre property and I know that none of our neighbours or us have used any sort of sprays.
    What causes this behaviour? What can we do about it?
    We usually have very successful monarch breeding with caterpillare thriving and hatching everywhere

Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
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  • #51384

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Great to hear, Helen. Onwards and upwards! (That’s probably what the caterpillars say, too, as they get nearer making their chrysalis, haha.)

    #51381

    Helenf
    Participant

    Hi Jacqui,
    Sorry I haven’t replied earlier but have been very busy. I think we lost some of the ones we shifted but still have some happy feeding ones. We also have many Monarchs in our garden which are busy laying eggs. We have had about 25mm of rain today so will check again tomorrow and let you know how they are going. I also have a smaller plant which has orange flowers and darker leaves. I put only 4 caterpillars on this and they are happily munching away. Hopefully the rain will make the bigger plants taste better. Hard to figure though as they are covered in new growth.
    Regards,
    Helen

    #51378

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    And how’s it going, now, Helen? Have they started behaving themselves?

    Such a cold, bleak day down here in Auckland. When is Spring coming?

    #51373

    Helenf
    Participant

    Thanks for that Jacqui,
    I went straight out and ran the hose on both trees for half an hour and they do seem to be eating the leaves of one of them now so here’s hoping.
    It has been quite hot up here today but still nothing like it gets in the summer.
    I will let you know how they go.

    #51371

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hello Helen

    That is strange behaviour indeed.

    Is it very hot up there today? It has been unusually cold so far this spring, but today is beginning to get hotter. Can you water the plant well and see if that makes a difference – possibly if hte plant is dry, the toxins in the sap are too strong, and the leaves have become unpalatable.

    I will ask other people what their thoughts are.

    Do keep us posted on what they are doing, please.

    Jacqui

Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)

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