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Hummingbird and Butterfly Gardening: Where did they go?

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Forum: Hummingbird and Butterfly GardeningReplies: 15, Views: 226
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bigred
Ashdown, AR
(Zone 8a)

June 3, 2012
3:27 AM

Post #9149928

I've been watching and taking pictures of the progress of these 2 Black swallowtail cats on my dill plants but suddenly,I checked on them a couple days ago and they were gone. ~~~~~~$;>(

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vitrsna

vitrsna
Colima
Mexico
(Zone 11)

June 3, 2012
9:28 AM

Post #9150208

well, they look fairly large and i notice lots of pillar poops on the ground. possibly they are crawling around looking for just the right place to pupate. did they appear to be ready to pupate when you last saw them? they can go quite a distance looking for just the right spot. the other alternative is...well i don't think we want to think about that. sometimes you can track a direction they went by following a line of poops. they poop quite a lot just before they pupate. these are also beautiful caterpillars and these i do get here too.
bigred
Ashdown, AR
(Zone 8a)

June 4, 2012
2:13 AM

Post #9151161

the dill plants are in a large container so I HOPE they crawled out to some other area and not the other alternative.They stayed down inside the plant mostly so someone hungry would have had to look hard to find them. I wouldn't know what signs to look for to indecate they were about to pupate

Sheila_FW

Sheila_FW
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

June 4, 2012
9:22 AM

Post #9151598

Usually they will choose a place in morning sun that is protected like the under the eves of a house. They also like sturdy structures like trellis, railings, fences. It will take them about two weeks this time of year to emerge, so look for them flying about in about 10 days.

Sheila_FW

Sheila_FW
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

June 4, 2012
9:25 AM

Post #9151600

They will be most any color also.

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bigred
Ashdown, AR
(Zone 8a)

June 4, 2012
10:26 AM

Post #9151667

I'll have to check all hard surfaces that you mentioned

pollengarden

pollengarden
Pueblo, CO
(Zone 5b)

June 8, 2012
1:00 PM

Post #9157153

I had some go up under the eaves, tan chrysalis on tan brick surface - I planned on 2-3 weeks, but they planned on 5-6. I had some wonder off into the penstemon - green chrysalis that looked just like the seed pods, or a curled leaf. It seems like they pupated faster, 2-3 weeks.
bigred
Ashdown, AR
(Zone 8a)

June 9, 2012
3:10 AM

Post #9157806

Still haven't found those 2 but I looked on the dill again yesterday and there a bunch more on there...about 3-4 different sizes. I never even saw the eggs. Happy camper doing the happy-happy dance

Sheila_FW

Sheila_FW
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

June 11, 2012
4:46 AM

Post #9160143

Good news! I saw a wasp and three spiders hovering on my fennel where eggs were; so I snip snip and brought them inside. I have 8 happy BST cats now feeding.
Dogs_N_Petunias
Cleburne, TX
(Zone 8a)

June 19, 2012
5:18 AM

Post #9171235

We have had more BST cats on dill and fennel than we can count. They get huge and then disappear. Same with the GF cats on our passion vine. I have looked everywhere I can think of but never find a chrysalis. How far can they travel? Without putting them in cages, I'm wondering if only a very small percentage will survive?

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pollengarden

pollengarden
Pueblo, CO
(Zone 5b)

June 19, 2012
8:44 AM

Post #9171489

Well, that is nature's math. Any breeding pair of anything need to get two offspring to breeding age to maintain their population. Any more than two, their numbers increase and that is a lucky bonus.

As for the distance the caterpillars travel - I'm not sure, I usually don't find them either. The chrysalis on the wall was was 10 ft horizontal and another 7-8ft vertical. The chrysalis I found in the penstemon patch was 30-35 feet from the dill - quite a long ways for a critter with very short legs. The chrysalis are more likely to be green if attached to a smooth surface and more likely to be tan if attached to a rough surface - and they are well camouflaged either way.

I found a huge Sphinx moth caterpillar chugging (galloping?) along in the middle of a patch of grass - I never did figure out where it was coming from, and I didn't think to let keep going to see how far it got.

Sheila_FW

Sheila_FW
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

June 19, 2012
4:36 PM

Post #9171987

Glenna...I don't worry about the Gulf Frits as much because they hide in the vines and flowers; but the others are like sitting ducks for the parasites. They do crawl way off to pupate sometimes. Butterflies in the wild only have a 2-5% chance at making it to adults to mate. That is the reason so many of us do take them in to raise them as cats and protect them until they emerge.
It is a rewarding hobby for me most of the time. Then when I have problems I begin to doubt why I do it...but only have to see a paper wasp grab a caterpillar and I know it counts.

MsEd..(Marna) has an article that is great info. I will put a link here in a few minutes. Here goes:
http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/2358/

This message was edited Jun 19, 2012 5:38 PM

pollengarden

pollengarden
Pueblo, CO
(Zone 5b)

June 21, 2012
7:36 AM

Post #9174110

Birds seem to be the main predator of my caterpillars, but one summer I did have problems with wasps. I got a wasp trap - and an oriole feeder that doubles as a wasp trap.

I tried raising caterpillars as a kid, and the parasites were VERY upsetting. I couldn't find a screen fine enough to keep the parasites out - and my parents wouldn't let me bring my menagerie inside. I haven't tried raising caterpillars in captivity since (except for providing host plants for a program at the library).

Sheila_FW

Sheila_FW
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

June 21, 2012
10:14 PM

Post #9175315

I use glad containers and a piece of tricot (like in swim trunks). It streches and is very fine too.

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Sheila_FW

Sheila_FW
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

June 23, 2012
5:58 AM

Post #9176947

Here is a short, simple, but informative article. http://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/monarch/milkweed_ecology_answers.html
I hope the link works.
elle09
Jacksonville, FL
(Zone 8b)

July 25, 2012
2:16 PM

Post #9218437

After a few years of gardening, I've noticed that I have the most luck w/ seeing gulf fritillary caterpillars on my passion vine and monarch caterpillars on my milkweed in the late fall and early spring,, but once the late spring rolls around, I see lots of eggs and little holes in the leaves as evidence something's been eating away, but no cats, so I'm sure the wasps, which are prevalant in the summer here, are probably getting them, but at least I know they'll be some that make it in the fall!

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Other Hummingbird and Butterfly Gardening Threads you might be interested in:

SubjectThread StarterRepliesLast Post
save the butterflies!!!!!! eyesoftexas 1 Mar 19, 2010 10:18 PM
Gulf Frittilary Caterpillar busy_bee_or 8 Sep 21, 2007 6:11 PM
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What am I? konkreteblond 26 Jul 1, 2007 10:51 PM
What are these on my milkweed? margaran 31 May 1, 2009 7:26 PM


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