Critter, I see you managed to follow us into our new monthly thread. See, not hard at all!
I've been mostly unconscious since Tuesday. Even for someone with chronic fatigue, I've somehow outdone myself. Don't know if I'm having a flare-up or if I'm a little sick. My throat has been scratchy and that's not generally one of my allergy symptoms.
Anyway, I'm awake and caterpillars are invading my life! I was just enjoying my Starbucks and reached for the front page when I noticed something green on it. Yup, I had one of those generic green caterpillars on my morning paper. It looked like ones I've seen in the grass so that's where I dumped it outside.
In sad news, I lost a Black ST cat that had gut purged and everything! And then I lost five Polydamas cats that were all in their final instar. What's up with that? I suspect that virus. Later generations tend to have it tougher since viruses, bacteria, and spores have had all year to reproduce. That's one reason Monarch Watch recommends cutting back your Tropical Milkweed in the winter if you live somewhere that it doesn't freeze. It reduces the population of the OE spores that infect the caterpillars and discourages Monarchs from breeding when they should be migrating. I think it's healthier for the plant, too. We do it a lot at MOSI to get rid of aphids.
As for the question posed as to what I raise my caterpillars in - I use either Gladware containers or Critter Keepers (bought at Petco) covered in cheesecloth. I tend to start eggs in the Gladware containers and then upgrade the caterpillars as they grow. The variety of host plant also determines what I use. Gladware is good for plants that dry out quickly, but Critter Keepers are better if you need good ventilation.