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Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
May 19, 2015 10:12 PM CST
I planted some fennel to attract them. They found it really early this year. I'm wondering if there is enough plant to sustain the number of caterpillars. I just don't think the acreage here is enough to feed the herd I'm seeing. The food supply is disappearing a lot faster than it's growing. Anyone else think I should reduce the numbers?
Donald
Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Salvias Herbs Bluebonnets Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Forum moderator Purslane Hummingbirder Cat Lover Butterflies Birds
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LindaTX8
May 20, 2015 1:10 AM CST
Are you sure you don't have any Parsley, Dill or Rue for them to use? On occasion, I do away with some butterfly eggs because there's not enough host plants, but I don't usually eliminate butterfly caterpillars unless they're really sick or something. Right now, I'm hoping no more Common Buckeyes lay eggs on what's left of the small Agalinis plants because there's still caterpillars that need what little foliage is left. I've never been able to spot the eggs for that species. Guess they must be really small or something.
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
May 20, 2015 9:06 AM CST
I don't have those, Linda. There must be a native plant somewhere they use, but I don't know what it would be. The adults that deposit the eggs must know, but I don't. They lay those tiny eggs one at time rather than in clusters. They are hard to see, but I have rubbed some off. Obviously not nearly enough. I'm going to have to move the container to a less visible location. It's already looking ratty. I like it until it's eaten to shreds. I plant it for the butterflies and then complain because they eat the plant! Go figure. I saw another adult fluttering around it, so it probably has a new crop of eggs. The foliage is disappearing so fast now that I wonder if the caterpillars don't consume some of the eggs.
Donald
Name: Danita
GA (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Forum moderator Hummingbirder Salvias Butterflies Birds
Plant Identifier Vegetable Grower Container Gardener Seed Starter Cat Lover Region: Georgia
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Danita
May 20, 2015 3:23 PM CST
Do you have any Queen Anne's Lace that's weeded itself on your property? They'll use that and a lot of carrot family plants. Smiling It might be getting too warm in Texas, but you could always sow a new batch of fennel seeds, or dill, etc.
Name: Meredith
Atlanta (Zone 8a)
Region: Georgia Butterflies Hummingbirder Seed Starter
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memays
May 20, 2015 4:37 PM CST
The native host plant around here is golden zizia.
I love butterfly gardening & am active in NABA. Please visit our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/nabageorgia/ & website nabageorgia.weebly.com.
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
May 20, 2015 7:39 PM CST
Danita said:Do you have any Queen Anne's Lace that's weeded itself on your property? They'll use that and a lot of carrot family plants. Smiling It might be getting too warm in Texas, but you could always sow a new batch of fennel seeds, or dill, etc.


No. It's too late to grow anything from seeds. The caterpillars are already actively growing. By the time a seed got large enough to feed them, they'd have already starved. I'll just have to keep the plants I have growing somehow. They aren't eating the center where it keeps putting up growth. Not yet, anyway. I may check back where I got these plants and see if they still have some.
Donald
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
May 20, 2015 7:44 PM CST
memays said:The native host plant around here is golden zizia.


I don't recognize that plant as something growing around here. It may, but I don't recall seeing anything like that. Still, they must have some kind of native host plant. I'm way out in the country and the butterflies are here. They surely aren't coming from someone's garden. The nearest one of those would still be quite a distance from me. I suspect the nearest garden is 4 miles or more and no guarantee that it grows dill, parsley or fennel. Doesn't seem too likely to me.

Donald
Name: Meredith
Atlanta (Zone 8a)
Region: Georgia Butterflies Hummingbirder Seed Starter
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memays
May 20, 2015 8:24 PM CST
http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=ZIAU

This shows pictures...
I love butterfly gardening & am active in NABA. Please visit our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/nabageorgia/ & website nabageorgia.weebly.com.
Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Salvias Herbs Bluebonnets Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Forum moderator Purslane Hummingbirder Cat Lover Butterflies Birds
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LindaTX8
May 21, 2015 11:26 PM CST
Wish you lived closer to me! I have plenty host plants for those! The other day, I noticed two fairly large Black Swallowtail caterpillars on some bronze fennel. How they got that big without me noticing, I'm not sure. I also have Rue, as well as both native and Italian parsley.
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
Image
needrain
May 22, 2015 8:39 PM CST
The fennel is definitely overgrazed. I have to get into town and see if they still have some fennel, but it's certain they won't have enough foliage to get the current crop of caterpillars to maturity. I don't know if they have a predator around here or not, but they are fully exposed on bare stalks today and only a few look large enough to make a chrysalis. Not a promising scenario. Bummer.
Donald
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
May 25, 2015 1:57 PM CST
The pasture simply didn't support the livestock. The idea was okay, but I should have been peeling off eggs and caterpillars. There are now only 16 caterpillars, but there is no cover and only stems. They are fighting with each other as well as being exposed. If the fennel survives to grow again, and it should, I'll just have to pay more attention when I see the butterflies fluttering around it. You can see here.
Thumb of 2015-05-25/needrain/c966d4

Donald
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
Image
needrain
Jul 1, 2015 10:00 AM CST
Sort of an update. I think the first go round was a bust. If any of the caterpillars survived to produce a new butterfly, I don't know it. The fennel did begin to grow back and before it was very large it was again covered in little caterpillars. Waaaay too many on a plant that size. I hadn't noticed a butterfly, so I was caught off guard on seeing so many. This time I removed all but two caterpillars which ended up being three since I had overlooked one. The fennel did support those three, but barely. They have survived and one new butterfly emerged. They liked the daylily scapes to hang on. The fennel is growing again, and if there's another repeat there is enough foliage this time to support 5-6. If they'll wait and let it grow a bit, it will support more.
Donald
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
Image
needrain
Jul 3, 2015 8:20 AM CST
Success! The chrysalis shell is in the lower right corner of the photo.
Thumb of 2015-07-03/needrain/7bd803

Donald

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