So many caterpillars so little time!

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  • #12730

    Marie Hewson
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    Ah! I recently bought a little swan plant in the hope of getting butterflies!!! Little did i know that only a few days later the rather small plant was covered in many wee white eggs!! I was so happy i went out and bought two more plants and now that i have caterpillars i have been moving them across onto different plants so they have more room . . . but i am oh so worried that once my 15- 18 caterpillars get too big the little branches won?t support them and flop ! And they might never turn into butterflies! Will they be ok?? :(

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  • #15687

    Gilly
    Participant

    Hi Vanessa, if his wings don’t form in the first few hours, he probably won’t be able to fly 🙁 You may have a pet butterfly for a few weeks. If you scroll down this forum you will find that some of us have kept a injured butterfly alive for a few weeks.
    Sometimes they do fall as they emerge and sometimes it is possible to rehang them.

    #15686

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Just question about monarchs, I have 2 caterpillars in their crysallis’, another has hatched, he must have fallen off the plant when he came out. I noticed this tonight, so I picked him up to put him back on the plant but he fell off almost straight away. I spoke to a friend who said I could try soaking a cotton ball in sugar and water which I have done, he appears to be feeding of this but I wonder if his wings will still form properly because I dont know when he fell off the plant, his wings appeared to be dry, but hey I’ve never ‘grown’ monarchs before! Any advice appreciated.

    #15685

    Marie Smith
    Participant

    By the way Ivy, if you live in the Auckland area, I have a good stock of swan plants available at $7.50 each or 3 for $20 … they’re well over a metre high and excellent value as caterpiller fodder. 🙂

    #15683

    Marie Smith
    Participant

    I always say to people that raising any animal is like having a pet. Always provide the correct nutrition for best success. The Monarchs preferred nutrition is Swan Plant, so view swan plants not as plants, but as pet food. When you need more petfood, you go to the supermarket and buy it, or if you’re a farmer, you pop out and butcher a surplus animal. So you can either grow or buy more swan plants. By far the least troublesome solution. However, in the very last stages they will eat the things that Jacqui mentions, but it’s a bit like getting the children to eat their greens. :)))
    All the best.

    #15682

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Have just put a photo of them eating pumpkin on the site, go to:

    https://www.monarch.org.nz/pumpkin/

    #15536

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hello Ivy,

    The caterpillars go through four stages (instars) and each time they shed their skin. When they’re in the last instar you can actually put them onto Tweedia (plant), pumpkin or leaves of a vine (a noxious weed in Auckland and other places) called Moth Vine, Cruel Plant or Kapok Vine. Now the caterpillars don’t like these other foods so much so you have to keep them on the food – like building a moat around them – but once they’ve got the idea you’re onto a winner. They other thing is to look out for milkweed (Swan plant) growing in places it shouldn’t be… and take branches of it home with you.

    It’s a real balancing act, but you can raise more successfully – it’s a bit like farming, isn’t it!

    Jacqui

    #15530

    Gilly
    Participant

    Hello Ivy… have you got them inside or out? Can you pick more branches and put in vases? I also put a stick with twigs on it in the vase so the caterpillars can go on to this stick and hang there.

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