Tremendously helpful information from Tony and the commentators. So sorry to hear this Rita…either predators got to them or they crawled away to find more milkweed. When I tried to give it milkweed again it still would not eat. Off of the top of my head, a few fauna that my parents have that I do not have (or have to a lesser degree) in San Diego are the tree squirrel, scrub jay, Bewick’s wren, California towhee. A good way to deter wasps is by placing 5 Gallon Paint Strainers or Mosquito Netting over your milkweed. What is the point of doing anything for the environment or for nature if you are spraying poison? More info: Question about paint strainers to protect caterpillars. The powdered sugar attracts them, and the baking soda disrupts their digestive tracks, eventually killing them. If you raise monarch butterflies, there is a great lesson to be learned from this disturbing video: note: yellow jackets aren’t the only predatory wasp attacking monarchs. We did have some rain so I thought maybe that had something to do with it. It is a WOW experience! My question to you is, can I move the caterpillars across the driveway to the more lush vegetation? Join us in raising the migration this August: Did you try searching for them with a light at night? Help! Hi Pat, we use stem cuttings to raise our caterpillars, but if you don’t have an enclosure you could use jars and secure over the top with a coffee filter and rubber band for better air flow. About the width of one stripe. I have found several shell-like things on our milkweed plant and just wondered if that is what they are. He’s an instar 4, if that helps! Ok this is my first year to attract Monarch Butterfly’s and the Milkweed I purchased in the fall is almost 6 ft tall and I have at least 12 caterpillars crawling on them as of today. Let them eat! I planted mint from the shelf at Home Depot, here in FL. However, over time, many predators have adapted…, Do you still have questions about monarch predators in your garden? Also, I’m bring every egg and caterpillar into my screened in porch that I see. So, I purchased habitats starting in 2016 and now raise all my monarch caterpillars in habitats from mid-June through September. I need some tips on controlling Tachinid flies. California y. Hello Herlinda, during the summer months much of the population is further north where there is more fresh milkweed. Help ..tomorrow I will research to see if there are any local Monarch professionals to help me make my endeavor successful, I really want to help ! I was googling to see if anyone had this problem!! Food For Caterpillars. Planting several types of milkweed and spacing out your patches can help more monarchs avoid detection from predators. It is not necessary to bring the monarchs you find indoors to raise them. I cover the entire front of the bin with a screen & use a suitcase strap to secure it to the bin. However, yesterday we had 40+ caterpillars, all on the last two plants with leaves. It is on the native and balloon. I have never seen any predators such as wasps and my plants are on a raised balcony so no lizards or birds that I have ever seen. Unfortunately, the population took a huge loss when that freak winter snowstorm hit their wintering grounds in March. What should I do?! There is more info about them on this page: I planted milkweed this summer and have monarch caterpillars on the standard milkweed. Although I’ve seen monarch caterpillars I’ve yet to see one survive to chrysalis. Hi Sue, sorry to hear this. Hi Sheree, it could also be wasps, which are a big problem in NZ. Was looking to see if anyone sells those mesh bags so I could try them out, but haven’t found any other sites mentioning putting bags over the milkweed outside to protect the eggs and little cats. Home Depot sells many plants that have been treated with neonicotinoids (pesticides). They suck the life from milkweed like little orange vampires.. In March, I had 30 caterpillars and 25 of … I had a batch of about 25 butterflies in the winter 2015-2016. Handle Your Caterpillar Safely. There was no sign of disease on plant or cat. Although… we are collecting the eggs every day and hatching them (and feeding them) in the house, so if the coffee grounds don’t work insecticide might be okay if I’m *very* careful. However, if they were THAT large, it’s very possible they crawled off to form chrysalides: Where to look for a monarch chrysalis outside. Thanks again! I had 6 crystales hanging from plant pots. That worked great. Tony, Hi Ingrid, this sounds like NPV, a monarch virus. Hi Elizabeth, feisty monarch males often get into it with other butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, and even birds. Wasps, ants, spiders, lizards, etc….unfortunately, there’s a long list of monarch predators…raising a few indoors definitely helps. So, once I learned that this was the telltale sign, I now grab the dead caterpillar or dead chrysalis with toilet paper and flush it down the toilet before the maggots can mature. I love Monarchs, I hand reared and released over 250 from Eggs about 5 years ago but did not seen any At All for the last 2-3 years. . Hi Nancy, this sounds like tachinid fly parasites: Monarch Disease, Parasites, and Caterpillar Killers, They should not be exposed to to flea/tick medication either…. I do have small 12x12x12 cylindrical habitats, but I can’t fit a pot inside and that requires me to continuously add fresh milkweed leaves several times a day. Below you will find a list of natural pest control methods that will not harm beneficial insects like monarchs. Hi Cyndy, they lay eggs on the soft chrysalis so they’ll wait for your caterpillars to form theirs. You can’t save them all, but even raising a few indoors can make a difference. The next day, all of the Monarch eggs were gone. I’m truly bewildered. What can I do about them? I decided to take some inside, but I’d never done this before. Hi Laura, if you take the time to read my blog, you’ll see how a monarch focused garden supports lots of other wildlife. So, any ideas and suggestions are hugely appreciated. Really works nice. We left town for three days and when we came back every single caterpillar was gone! . If you watched the video above, you might have have vowed to keep your garden wasp-free. My husband calls me the crazy ‘cat’ lady. I wish I had thought to take some cuttings earlier in the year, but now I am afraid it is too late. These pre-mixed baits are cheap, convenient…and they work! I’ve brought him inside and he looks rough. Wasps are an issue for monarchs across the globe, from the US to New Zealand. Usually when the cat is a instar 4-5 Extremely small, I cant tell if its a fly or ant. I guess i will be moving it. 12 Good Ideas for Keeping Milkweed Aphid-free…and 1 Bad One! Are they harmful to the milkweed, or should I just leave them alone? Filed Under: Butterfly Garden Ideas, Monarch Predators, Organic Gardening Tagged With: ants, paper wasps, praying mantis, spiders, yellowjackets. We live near the Delaware coast. good luck! hi Patricia, they are a serious problem in many regions. Should I bring in the monarch caterpillars I find to protect and raise them? Keeping Caterpillars Over the Winter . . The monarch butterfly is one of the most recognizable species in North America and its in trouble. I’m sure you already know where this is going, so I’ll cut to the chase. As caterpillars, Monarchs feed on the leaves of milkweed. WASP SOLUTIONS? I had 2 chrysalis that had formed on top, but last night something actually bit through the screen in 3 places and ate the chrysalis and a cat. They ship during the spring/summer months: I manage a Native Butterfly House in Maryland (30’x50′) The house is covered with mesh, but the holes in the mesh are large enough for the small Chalcid Wasp to get through, and we do not have it in our budget to replace the mesh at this time. The caterpillars are eating non-stop, so they generate quite a lot of droppings (frass). Is there any way to get them off the plate so the butterflies can eat in peace? So as I feared as soon as I put the mesh screens over the plants yesterday to protect them from whatever has been eating them, my cats left the plant and climbed to the top of the screen and haven’t moved or eaten since. They also had a chrysalis at one point which completely vanished off of its hanging location on the outside of their house. How can I get rid of them without hurting the monarch eggs, caterpillars, and milkweed? Also, I think I read somewhere that they may need protein right now, and juice later in the season. I use a stagger pot planting of various sizes and in a few areas around my home. Lizards, frogs, wasps, and birds are among the predators that prey on caterpillars. Please check out this post about protecting eggs: Thanks Tony. It’s far more likely one (or a combination of) the other predators listed on this page. Predators are a fine way to manage pests in the garden and a far better solution than using insecticides and fungicides, which can kill our favorite species, too. Bees and butterflies peacefully coexist in my experience. Do domestic and asian ladybugs eat the eggs of Monarch’s? I’ll try covering the outside plants with netting, as you suggest. Trying hard to understand. I have bugs that are red and black, mating like mad and are all over my milkweed. Hi Kate, please use the scientific names…they are many types of milkweed: Milkweed for north american Butterfly Gardens, This is my first year raising monarch caterpillars. We hope that the following handouts are helpful to you. This year I’m thinking I’ll mix borax and water and just poison them all, but considering this battle has been going on for years, I’m prepared for defeat. The nymphs eat aphids and leafhoppers, but the adults will go after larger prey: A prime example of why you should avoid biological pest control…there are usually unintended consequences! Hatched out 57 monarchs last year with a goal of 75 this year! Are aphids harmful to cats? Monarch Rearing Kit: Introduction Your Monarch Rearing Kit (available here) contains 14-16 first to third instar monarch larvae (caterpillars) that were started on an artificial diet.Upon arrival, these larvae should be transferred to larger containers and provided with milkweed leaves. I had four small plastic containers — each with one egg (one is likely newer than the others — it was still white/cream colored). Growing up, most of us were taught that monarchs are protected from predators by the toxins they absorb eating milkweed. The other day I was crushed to see my chrysalis is gone – the leaf is still there but something took the entire chrysalis. I am brand new to raising Monarch butterflies. I still have 11 monarch chrysillis and 4 gulf frittilary chrysillis that are looking healthily. Then I started to see new smaller ones. What is the best way to get rid of this. One of my habitats is large enough to put 3 one-gallon plants inside, or a large potted milkweed, etc. No idea what happened but I don’t see any predators on my balcony except hummingbirds. TIP 1: Place fresh paper towels in the bottom every day so you can clean out any frass (caterpillar poop) that falls on the bottom. They were growing rapidly.

We have enough of the small ones here, and I haven’t observed them doing anything “illegal” : ) . Hi June, check out the spider mites info on this page: We have a lot of large black ants on our milkweeds looking for aphids and taking caterpillars instead. Hi Renee, I typically don’t recommend foliar treatments because they might keep the monarchs from using the plants too. And as always, you always have the option of bringing in a few eggs or small caterpillars to save them from the surprisingly long list of monarch predators…. I have seen no evidence of any birds and never have seen a wasp either and the plant was undisturbed so it’s all a mystery. Monarch caterpillars increase their mass by 2,000 to 3,000 times their “birth weight” in just 9-14 days! good luck! I couldn’t remember which so my sweetheart tried it on ants and a weed. There are ideas on the two attachments below for removing the major species that affect your milkweed (e.g. After the caterpillar transforms into a chrysalis, it usually takes about 1 to 2 days to fully dry and harden. I dont see any on the plants just on the cats. Monarchs typically deposit one egg per leaf: Great blog and info Tony. The entire milkweed community, predators and all, are welcomed in my gardens. I bought a milkweed plant and amazingly found 5 very large caterpillars. Gathering the Eggs or Caterpillars 1. I removed them and realized they could fly so did some research and have found they are Chalcid Wasps. Thanks. 2 Days ago, May 1, 2017…I finally had monarch caterpillars on my milkweed after waiting and hoping for 2 years. I’ve seen a decrease in my ants since using this method the last several years. I couldn’t find anything on the internet that says that they are also a predator of Monarchs. I brought in several milkweed leaves with eggs. The more I try to get rid of their webs with a large bristled brush, the more I feel that I am spreading them around the garden. I found out the hard way. We’ll talk more about monarch predators in just a moment. I would try posting in a facebook group: Are Painted Lady butterflies a natural enemy of Monarchs? But this year it’s been a disaster. When a caterpillar hatches it’s less than 1/10″ long, and can slip through most makeshift cages. I suspect it was a lizard! LOL Could a hummingbird have eaten the 4 that disappeared? We sprayed early morning during a light rain, and I never saw another wasp emerge from the nest. Do you have any links or advice that would be helpful for the chalcid wasp and identifying the affected chrysalis? This area is somehow protected but it’s still an outdoor area. Most alternatives have holes that baby monarch caterpillars can easily escape from. Grams used it in her flower beds and veggie garden.”, You can also pour the grounds on their anthill to encourage them to move their base of operations…, Tip: rewet the grounds every few days to enhance the coffee smell. Only on this plant did the wasps/yellow jackets attack my caterpillars. Your sight has been amazing by the way! The Monarch caterpillar is a wonder to watch and learn about the metamorphosis process. Now I regret not getting the kits to save at least the last cat. The backlash generated by the recent paper revolved around the practice of bringing monarch caterpillars indoors to raise them. Thank you Roberta, I added your info to the ants section of the page! Thank you, I’m not familiar with all the wildlife in your region…you might want to check with your local monarch organization for some ideas: PS…I’ve never heard of a dog/cat eating dozens of caterpillars. Pesticide use can destroy the milkweed monarchs need to survive. How we can protect monarch butterflies. Is it possible that some parasite or bacteria got them? Hi Jim, lizards are a big problem in your region. I have one butterfly weed plant (tuberosa) which to my amazement this year had about 10 monarch caterpillars on it. If you raise monarchs, they need at least 3 hours to dry their wings before they are released. I installed a fly trap and it has helped but still is, once in a while impossible to control. good advice Rob…thank you for sharing your experience! Thanks for the many useful tips. That I just can’t see them? However, I have seen a few eggs that were laid on the Milkweed flowers. in the habitat. I have made a large butterfly house covered with screen that I keep a fresh milkweed plant in and transfer newborns/babies in as I find them around the yard. I have literally followed a monarch around and picking the eggs right after this year. I was wondering if you have any recommendations? I’d hate to have to cut the plants down, but I also don’t want a female to waste her eggs on something that will kill the cats. I’ve been using this cage for 3-4yrs, no problems. Large mesh bags, some with clear plastic “windows”, are commercially available. My home is quite clean and bug free. I just lost 2 cats today from that. Monarch butterfly caterpillars are fun to raise until they form chrysalises and ultimately emerge transformed as butterflies. are you sure what you saw on your plants wasn’t aphids? A healthy ecosystem in your garden contains both monarchs and their predators. I began a butter garden 1.5 months ago. Hi Ann, you need some aphids to attract aphid predators and maintain a healthy ecosystem. Yesterday 2 of them were getting dark and ready to open. Is it possible that they crawled away? If anyone knows of anyone who sells wasp and fly-proof bags, would someone please post their web address? Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on milkweed plants, and female...Check the milkweed every day during the spring and summer for eggs. We have many of both species of tree and superbly gorgeous swallowtails in both their yellow and dark forms. In the hatchery, I space eggs out so newborns won’t find unhatched siblings. Thank you very much!!. Are they also in danger. I also have many wasps on my plants. Alyce, Hi Alyce, you could always put some netting over plants after they have eggs or bring a few inside (as eggs) to raise…. Also, should I remove and destroy the chrysalis that appear to be infested? The Life Cycle Of The Monarch Butterfly. The silky string connected from the chrysalis to the ground is the tell tale sign that the Tachinid fly has struck. He applied at room temperature. I just read about having spiders, not sure if I have any. Moats are great but you have to constantly refill them I have found that filling the moat with cinnamon works and will last a very long time. It seems that a lot of well-meaning people do this in order to "protect them from predators", or to "give them a fighting chance", or whatever you wish to call it. Starting in 2015, I experienced the tachinid fly predator in my monarch butterfly garden. I had ten butterflies emerge on the same day so I had the door open so they could fly out. I have moved the cages closer to the house & lights, which has solved the problem for the time being. Unfortunately, milkweed is becoming harder for monarchs to find. yes, some species of lizards also eat caterpillars. There is really only one thing you can do to protect the caterpillars from predators. Monarch caterpillars have many possible disease issues, so especially if a caterpillar in your habitat dies, it must be disinfected. Thank you. Thanks Tony. What I have found is placing my smaller Milkweed plants (now in 16oz solo cups) on a table away from Milkweed with flowers and creating another area for the egg laying females to do their thing. It is relatively easy to raise Monarch butterflies at home as long as their area is kept warm, clean and they have enough of their preferred food, the swan plant. ANY SUGGESTIONS? Can you please give me some options for getting rid of the wasps all together. You can stagger cuttings so there’s always some milkweed available. Posted August 29th, 2020 by & filed under Uncategorized. A PL was chasing a Monarch aggressively away from our milkweed. Hi Paul, unfortunately no. It looked like he had a scar on his skin and he looked redish on his middle. Orange and black ones, too. Could be a disease?…I tried to raise them indoors and outdoors with same results. Plant placement can reduce predator traffic. Hi April, everything is innocent in our garden, until proven guilty…so if snails aren’t typically an issue and you have a good milkweed supply, I would let them stay. Use FSC-Certified Wood. I’m presently over 90% egg to released adult butterfly if I get my hands on the egg or the cats. I thought I had out smarted the wasps this year and now this. Hello Jackie, Monarch caterpillars find some tight spots to create their chrysalis. You could cut off a small piece of occupied plant, and carry the spider outside the milky way. When caterpillars hatch, move remaining eggs to other leaves. cages have been chewed by rats, who make holes in the screen and grab what they can reach. Please post a reply if you figure out a solution! Hi Tiffany, sorry to hear this…I would seal the chrysalis in a plastic bag, put it in the freezer, and then discard. If you offer them something more enticing, they might leave the caterpillars alone. Did TONS of online research. Monarch eggs and caterpillars on single milkweed plants often go undetected…so do plants in partial shade. I’ve been growing milkweed for 3 years. Grams used it in her flower beds and veggie garden. good luck! I was shocked and didn’t take a picture of it. Hi Chris, either variety grows well in partial shade. A community member suggested these non-toxic W.H.Y. You can’t save all monarchs, but you could always insure a few make it by raising indoors. Not big enough to pupate and had plenty of milkweed for them. (wasp, hornet, yellowjacket) traps that are supposed to be very effective for trapping these relentless predators without harming the environment: Non-Toxic Wasp, Hornet, Yellowjacket traps, The next solution is potentially more dangerous to the both the environment…and to you! Chrysalis at one point which completely vanished off of its hanging location on the how to protect monarch caterpillars... 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2020 how to protect monarch caterpillars