My plants are stripped already!!

  • Creator
    Topic
  • #51427

    Nelly
    Participant

    Last year my 4 plants, that I got around Christmas time, survived the caterpillars and we had at least 8 monarchs fly away, all happiness filled! The plants recovered, or I should say, were recovering, when we got an early monarch arrived to lay eggs about a month ago. Now I have 9 pupa, and 2 stripped bear plants, and 2 plants that will no doubt be stripped in the next few days. Some caterpillars are going to miss out unless I go and get new plants, which I will, but then more eggs will come and I can this is going to be a never ending cycle until I have about 100 plants by the end of the season….most of them completely bear!!!

    I didn’t foresee this happening…..

Viewing 8 replies - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
    Replies
  • #51599

    Nelly
    Participant

    Hi there Jacqui,

    I’m in Palmerston North. I haven’t seen any wasps so far this summer, they usually are easy to spot as they come to get water from the fish pond or bird bath. I was hoping that the winter was cold enough to slash the wasp population, but I don’t think so. Time will tell. They don’t come to the location of the swan plants…..they just come and get water and go back to their next in a never ending line.

    It’s really nice to see the Monarchs in the garden, it just means that I have to go on an egg hunt every night!! The plants are recovering well, so I think a few caterpillars will be ok….like you say, we’re never going to keep them away!!

    #51598

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hi Nelly

    Whereabouts are you? I have been letting the wasps run rampant in my garden as I just didn’t have time to do anything else. In fact, all the monarchs that emerged (in caterpillar castles) I released out at the NZ Flower and Garden Show in Henderson – mainly so that I wouldn’t have too many visiting here. But I think doing that is a bit like pouring water into a field and expecting it to stay in place, LOL.

    #51597

    Nelly
    Participant

    I did as you suggested and my plants are now looking much better. Not yet able to support another onslaught of caterpillars, so I’m on a daily egg hunt to try and give the plants a chance. I dodn’t think I’ll get all the eggs every day, but 3 or 4 caterpillars would be ok.

    The results from the last invasion was 14 butterflies flew away!! 🙂
    One died, and one never hatched from the pupa, but all in all, a good result.

    Thanks so much for your help 🙂

    #51441

    Nelly
    Participant

    Thanks for the picture and info Jacqui. I have looked for the eggs but probably not knowing what I’m looking for isn’t conducive to good egg hunting!!

    When the caterpillars were about 80% grown, they looked like and infestation of the plants, and in the next couple of days, they stripped the plants completely. My last two plants are going to the same way I’m sure, because there are many caterpillars and not too many branches left. If I keep replacing the plants, the same thing will happen…it’s a ‘chicken and egg’ thing, except that I can’t keep buying more and more plants!!

    I noticed this year too (like every year I guess, but this is just my 2nd year), that they choose the strangest places to pupate. Under the garden chairs….under the eaves….on other plants……on the lips of the flower pots as well as on the swan plants themselves. It’s all very interesting if I can just provide enough food without more eggs coming and the cycle repeating!!

    #51440

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Here’s a picture of an egg:

    Monarch egg

    They’re laid individually on the underside of the leaves, usually on the bright green new growth. They’re about the size of the head of a pin. You’ll get the hang of finding them when you look.

    Some people remove them – I leave it all to Nature, as a hungry caterpillar will eat an egg if they find it in front of them. It seems like time wasted to remove the eggs when wasps might come along and eat them – or a caterpillar might eat them – or they could even be infertile. Who knows! But everyone does things differently.

    Jacqui

    #51439

    Nelly
    Participant

    Pardon my ignorance, but what do the eggs look like? I’ve seen the white butterfly eggs on my broccoli plants in mid Feb, but I haven’t noticed this type of thing on the swan plants. I have noticed some hard black balls in a few places….is this the eggs?

    I will but more plants because as has been said, we don’t want the caterpillars to starve. I tried them on pumpkin, but they’re not very keen….

    #51438

    Caryl
    Moderator

    I think you will need to cull some eggs rather than have caterpillars starve to death. No one likes to do this I know.

    #51432

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Feed the plants well, prune off any dead bits, keep them well watered and hopefully they’ll provide more growth to help the next lot of caterpillars.

    Monarchs certainly teach us good “management” skills.

    Jacqui

Viewing 8 replies - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.