Possible NPV on outdoor swan plants

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  • #47034



    One of the gardens I care for in Auckland’s North Shore had one of the four caterpillars turn half black. We are thinking it could possibly be NPV a.k.a ‘Black Death’. From an extensive google hunt I can only really find sources related to container care for caterpillars which have this disease, however the two swan plants are outdoors.
    The plants have not been treated with any pesticides, so we are not sure how we have gotten the virus.

    Should I be washing the leaves down with a bleach solution (95% water and 5% bleach) and then patting the leaves dry so the remaining caterpillars have a chance if it is in fact NPV?

    Thank you for any assistance that can be offered!

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  • #47042


    From my experience it could be OE that is caused by an infected monarch leaving the spores on the leaves. I would transfer the caterpillars to another plant and yes spray a weak bleach solution on the leaves, leave them to dry off and make sure the caterpillars don’t move to that plant for approx 2 weeks. Or do as Jacqui suggests. Let us know what happens to the existing caterpillars when they go into chrysalides. You would also visit this link which is very helpful.




    I wouldn’t do anything at all at present. As a farmer once said to me: “where you have livestock you will also have deal stock.”

    Not every human baby gets to become an adult.

    In this case it could be one of dozens of things not NPV. Be vigilant with the other caterpillars and enjoy the successes

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