Squishy caterpillars!

  • Creator
  • #56407


    I’m hoping someone can shed some light on what’s happening… I decided to get the kids some swan plants and that we would pop the plants inside once they had egs to watch the caterpillars grow and turn into Chrysalis. However, having returned from a week away, I noticed a huge amount of dead caterpillars on the ground, and on observation over the next few days, that my caterpillars are becoming lethargic and ” melting” away!!?? After a Google I could see that they can get bacterial infections and a viral infection? Which said the virus causes the cells to rupture and is highly contagious. I’ve set up ” wards” with the ones that were still active, popped the plants outside with the lethargic ones, and am feeding from a new plant, leaves to the sick- out of 50 caterpillars I have maybe 6 that may make it, and I’m not sure if there is anything I can do to help? Do I throw put the plants outside? Where did I get the bug from? Any advice would be welcome.

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  • Author
  • #56414


    I’m wondering if the plants got too dry being left for a week. I had probably the same thing happen to my chrysalides I had inside and I believe the air was too dry and I hadn’t misted them enough. Next season I am spraying all my plants in early September with a weak bleach solution or the recommended one from supermarkets. Caryl



    Thanks- no we are a chemical free house, although we were wondering if there were any pesticides from the neighbours spraying on the plants, although I would have expected them to all die at the same time/stage. For now I will keep the wards going and keep any new plants away from the old ones- and be wary of the soil.



    They are always pathogens around us – for example that is how we catch the flu – however how safe is your house ? Do you have plug-in insect controls or do you have a pet with a flea collar ?

    You could spend a fortune diagnosing the problem but probably you’re better to keep the sick caterpillars isolated and use a new plant to raise any more Wash the problem plant down well and leave it outside

    Others may have other ideas of course

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