Ask a Question forum: What type caterpillar

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Name: Chenoa Frazer
Jacksonville Florida (Zone 8b)
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chenoa0125
Jun 5, 2015 6:01 AM CST
just in my garden and notice these 2 caterpillars and was wondering if anyone can tell me for sure what they may be. From the internet they look like monarchs, but I am not sure. I've read people will take caterpillars in to take care of them, any advice on leaving them alone or doing the inside thing? I'm just starting out so I'm thrilled to have these already
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Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
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Dutchlady1
Jun 5, 2015 6:35 AM CST
Welcome! chenoa0125. They sure look like Monarch caterpillars to me!
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jun 5, 2015 7:00 AM CST
I agree Looks like Monarch.

My experience with the Monarch caterpillar was very short. I admired and photographed the caterpillar. Soon after a bird swooped down and said, "Thanks for the snack!" So if you want to watch the life cycle as it progresses, my advice would be to either provide a 'habitat' inside the house or create a protective enclosure to exclude birds and other predators. Here is a "Butterfly Pavillion" that can be purchased in a store for educators; it's about 24 inches tall.
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Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
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Zencat
Jun 5, 2015 7:08 AM CST
Curious, I thought birds wouldn't eat monarch cats. Maybe your bird didn't know that or I'm wrong? Shrug!

Very cool about having those. I keep trying to draw them in but without success.
Name: Chenoa Frazer
Jacksonville Florida (Zone 8b)
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chenoa0125
Jun 5, 2015 7:10 AM CST
My husband just put our 3 milkweed in the garden last night. So to my surprise this morning to find them. There are 4 on this one plant
Coatesville IN (Zone 5b)
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Claudia
Jun 5, 2015 7:21 AM CST
You can also use a plastic container to keep cats inside. Shoe box size works well. Line the bottom with paper towels. You must clean every day. Monarchs require fresh milkweed. So you must keep the milkweed moist. The best way to do that is is to stick it in florist foam. Do not use a shallow dish with water. The cats will drown.

There is lots of information online about raising different types of cats. I found monarchs to be difficult. I raised Black Swallowtail for a number of years.
Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them. ~Eeyore
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jun 5, 2015 7:36 AM CST
If you don't have the Oasis floral foam to keep the Milkweed watered, you can use a plastic drink up (like from a fast food place). Push the Milkweed stem though the straw hole in the cover of the cup.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Jun 5, 2015 8:16 AM CST
@mellielong might be able to offer advice on raising those caterpillars so they can become beautiful Monarch's!
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Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
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mellielong
Jun 5, 2015 4:35 PM CST
Yup, those are Monarchs. And yes, some birds will try to eat them, but usually learn the lesson the hard way that they do not taste good. I don't bother with trying to keep the leaves moist or any of that. Monarchs eat so fast I never have a problem with the leaves drying out. I just try to give them as much as they can eat in a day or so and make sure to keep the container clean and give them fresh food once or twice a day. Or you can leave them on the plant, if you want. Monarchs tend to have better rates of survival, but are still at risk for OE spores, viruses, bacteria, spiders, lizards, and other predators.
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daylilylady12
Jun 7, 2015 9:47 AM CST
I found a zebra swallowtail whose wings were crumpled. I think it just hatched. I put it in a butterfly mesh container. Does it need nectar, is it dying, or does it need time to pump up its wings? If it needs nectar, what type of plant would it need in the mesh monarch house?
Thanks,
Lisa
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daylilylady12
Jun 7, 2015 10:00 AM CST
I have two caterpillars that started on my dill and I moved them to my monarch butterfly mesh bag. They needed more food, so I placed a parsley plant in it. One is now missing---hopefully crysalising. I have attached a photo of the other one. I think it is a type of swallowtail, but not sure which one. Can anyone help?
Thank You,
Lisa
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Name: Jolana
Mountain City, Tx (Zone 8b)
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froggardener
Jun 7, 2015 10:11 AM CST
Hi, it looks like a black swallow tail and that is one of their host plants. Nature is amazing, isn't it?
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Helen Mirren
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Jun 7, 2015 10:40 AM CST
daylilylady12 said:I found a zebra swallowtail whose wings were crumpled. I think it just hatched. I put it in a butterfly mesh container. Does it need nectar, is it dying, or does it need time to pump up its wings? If it needs nectar, what type of plant would it need in the mesh monarch house?
Thanks,
Lisa
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I think? they need sun on their wings to warm them.
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
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mellielong
Jun 7, 2015 11:07 AM CST
Okay, first the Zebra ST. They just need a little time to pump their wings. They do not need to eat for a while. They are way more interested in mating. I've had them come out in the evening and spend the night in my house and then I release them in the morning and they're fine. You don't need to feed them. If they don't fly away when you release them, put them on a plant in a sunny area. Butterflies are cold-blooded and use solar energy to warm themselves. If you found it that way and it doesn't look "normal" within half an hour it's wings are damaged and it will not be able to fly right. The best thing to do in that case would be to euthanize it.

Yup, those are Black STs, also known as the "Parsley Worm". When they get big enough, they will gut purge (looks like caterpillar diarrhea) and then go into a "wandering phase" to find the perfect spot to pupate. You may find them quite a distance from where they started.
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Coatesville IN (Zone 5b)
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Claudia
Jun 7, 2015 6:56 PM CST
BST will attach some where (I always place a twig/branch in the container for them). If you can get to see them make the chrysalis it is a very cool process!

It is not advisable to go give them store bought dill or parsley or plants bought at box stores. There can be chemicals on it that will kill them. Use what you have in your garden. Host plants for BST are dill, parsley, & fennel. I have grown Bronze fennel for years for them to lay there eggs on.
Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them. ~Eeyore
[Last edited by Claudia - Jun 8, 2015 9:32 AM (+)]
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springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Jun 7, 2015 9:24 PM CST
so if you grow these type of plants will they come?
I don't mind having them in my yard, but do the caterpillars only eat those plants or do they eat hostas and daylilies and roses? If that is the case I do not want to purposely plant anything to lure them around because I don't want the cats to eat my other plants!

Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
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mellielong
Jun 7, 2015 11:34 PM CST
Butterfly caterpillars have specific host plants. They will starve to death before they will eat anything else. Black Swallowtails will eat Rue, Fennel, Dill, Parsley, Queen Anne's Lace and other members of the Apiaceae family. And they make a sling, not a J when they pupate.
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Jun 8, 2015 9:53 AM CST
ok, so what happens if I plant only 1 thing, say a fennel (because that is what I plan to do) and there are more caterpillars than it can support? does that happen? Then I would feel bad luring them in, knowing they won't have enough food supply.


Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
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mellielong
Jun 8, 2015 9:55 AM CST
Yes, that happens. Here's a thread about that very thing: The thread "Host for black swallowtails" in Gardening for Butterflies, Birds and Bees forum
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Jun 8, 2015 9:56 AM CST
Thank you!

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