out of swan plants, Dunedin

  • This topic is empty.
  • Creator
  • #14827


    I am completely overrun with caterpillars. The monachs had a field day at the beginning ogf April. I have about 50 nearly ready to pupate, another 50-100 a bit smaller and about 25 not into the last instar. I have about another 50-100 small hatchlings and goodness knows how many more eggs that are on branches I have cut and brought inside.

    Every spare plant has a few littlies on them however small the seedling is.

    I have dug up a midsized plant from someone else and parked 20 of the largest on that. I fed some of the largest yesterday on pumpkin marinated in swan plant mash (they loved it!)

    I dont want to feed them pumpkin for too long.

    In addition I have about 5 caterpillars which were laid and hatched on the swamp milkweed. It is only a small seedling about a metre high, luckily not yet become deciduous but that wont sustain 5 growing caterpillars

    Anyone down here got some branches they could spare?

    And anyone with some swamp milkweed down here?

Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • Author
  • #27372


    Great to hear, Jennifer. We’ve also had a report of an overwintering cluster forming in Dunedin… I hope someone can keep tabs on that one.



    I would like to thank Jacqui, her networking skills and all the wonderful people who have helped. One person gave me a big strong plant in a pot, another brought me the most massive branches you could imagine. He says the plant has plenty more and he took a couple of caterpillars away to experiment with raising them indoors. I have so much plant I have some spare large vases full sitting outide waiting for the small ones to grow.

    Another person is going to take some caterpillars to repopulate her swan plants after some predator took the whole lot, about 50 small catepillars. This might be wasps but it was only about 3 weeks ago I think, rather late? However another person said his recently hatched monarchs were being dived bombed by wasps when on his buddleia.

    Everyone I have spoken to reports the same pattern of no butterflys till late mar

    2 peoples swan plants had that orange aphid which none of them has seen before here. I havent had it up till now but I am now bound to do so!



    I have just found your email message Jacqui and lets hope that bears some fruit!



    Thanks both, will do re museum and perhaps botanic garden.

    Also will happily let out some for adoption or fostering with the proviso that adopters try to let me tag them! or they do it themselves!

    Our strange summer caused the problem and the butterflys, when they finally got going round here at the end of March/beginning of April, when we had our first real warm spell since Christmas, were fighting for laying space. They laid more eggs in April than we had the whole of last year. They must have been desparate.

    They must have been laying through last week as there were new eggs on my remaining uncut shortened stems.

    Someone else round the corner had a similar plague of eggs and he rang me and begged me to take branches of them. He had kept the newspaper article from last year. He is getting old (85) and has kept them inside at this time of year in previous years but felt he could not do it this year.

    I am going tomorrow morning to collect some material from him but his plant is only a small bush and there will only be enough material for a day I think.



    Jennifer I wish I could help you.
    We have tons and tons of food up here in Auckland left.
    I wish there was some way of getting it down to you super quick and cheap;-)




    Hi Jennifer – I’m reading this at Auckland airport and probably won’t be able to alert many Dndn people of your predicament is computer access is limited. However, you could contact Gordon and Janine Thompson at Owaka and see if they can help; they may know contacts in Dndn who would be able to help you.

    Also, what about contacting the Otago Museum too? They may know of someone…

    Those are my “first thoughts” but looks like I’ll be sitting at the airport for a while due to the fog so I’ll keep you in mind. 🙂

Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.