what do monarch caterpillars eat besides milkweed
December 6, 2020
In NZ the natural food species of the monarch (Danaus plexippus) larvae is the Asclepiadiae family – milkweed which includes swan plant (Gomphocarpus fruticosus) and giant swan plant (G. physocarpus) as well as Asclepias species such as tropical milkweed/bloodflower (A. curassavica). They move fast too — they just pick a direction and start going very determinedly. Monarch caterpillars (11) just devoured our parsley plant. Apparently monarch eggs were laid on my parsley, dill, cilantro, and carrot plants because caterpillars are feeding on each of these plants (there are more caterpillars on the parsley than the other plants). I need food for cats!! I even have a tiny 1st – 2nd instar that has been feeding on it. It seems every website indicates that the monarch caterpillar will only eat milkweed. The frass, or butterfly poop, of pumpkin fed Monarch caterpillars reflects the food’s orange tint. I gave them some this morning and I’ll see if they like it. Technically you are not allowed to move any part of the plant, but if you are This is from southwestern PA. Those are likely black eastern swallowtail if they’re on dill. Can we invent something similar for monarchs? Why do monarch caterpillars eat milkweeds? Chop the leaves into fine bits. ovum Monarch populations are crashing and one reason is the lack of milkweed that Monarch caterpillars must eat to survive. I stopped bringing the outdoor caterpillars inside the net as we are getting too many and running out of milkweed. The outdoor caterpillars ate everything at the front of the house. Or do you put the kale, milkweed, squash out and they will just come to the food. One made a chrysalis last night and the other is happily munching on an organic persian cucumber. Any info on this? Grind dry bits into a powder. This rapid feeding is especially noticeable in small gardens but would be … Caterpillars on Milkweed by: Stephen This caterpillar is harmless. These are the type with kill the 7/31/2019 I just found two monarch caterpillars eating my dill! I’m I Houston, running out milk weed too, I have 41 hatched in house since early September, I keep them inside cause of wasps in my yard, now have 86 cats, but my small bush in yard has no more leaves, I went to UT picked some branches home Friday, and this morning I found 15 cats dead after eating that branches, I think they spray something poisonous on their bush. In the summer months I get plenty of phone calls and emails from monarch butterfly fanciers, all with a common problem: “My swan plants are almost stripped bare yet I have so many monarch butterfly caterpillars I really don’t know what to do. Related posts: Silk moth caterpillars are fed a “cake” made of mulberry leaves and some other ingredients. Is this normal? Monarch butterflies in North America make their way to Mexico each winter, a migration of some 2,000 miles. However, some tidy individuals will eat their old skins after they crawl out in their new ones. Right now I have 89 crystalis at last count and 30 plus caterpillars. imago needed urgently. I wish I had found it before I had to make emergency runs to the railroad tracks and prairie to feed our 44- 5th instars. I’m so curious. Monarch Caterpillar: Milkweeds (Asclepias) Butterfly: Milkweeds + Dogbane, Buddleia Monarchs and other caterpillars often leave the host plant to form their chrysalises. Manchaca, Tx. Six Monarch caterpillars have pretty much decimated this pot of milkweed seedlings planted in February. Nice site. See it with your own eyes. Monarch caterpillars do only eat plants in the Milkweed family ( Asclepias spp), so if we want to help them out in our wildlife gardens, we still need to add these plants to our gardens. Help! I have dedicated my 200 milkweed … Thank you for your information. So, if the monarch caterpillars only feed on milkweed, why are they doing very well on the parsley and other plants in my garden (I have only one milkweed plant and that has not been used by the monarchs)? larvae Monarch females will often lay eggs on them naturally as well. Some of the monarchs in my yard have moved from the milkweed to eating leaves on my Monterey Almond Tree. This is the only plant they eat. I’ll going to try the pumpkin and cucumber on the larger one’s. To control These include cucumber, pumpkin, and butternut squash. If I keep taking the milkweed from the yard, the outdoor caterpillars will run out. Photo courtesy Ellen Reid, Paul Addington tried feeding his Monarch caterpillars cucumbers. So excited as we don’t have much milkweed around here anymore. Do they eat anything else besides milkweed? The just eat the skin, btw. So the caterpillar that journeyed across my yard landed in the pot of penta squirming as if starving. I wonder if they are swallowtails… I bought a milkweed plant and placed it next to the bare parsley and they are all on the milkweed plant now munching away. A group of milkweed tussock caterpillars can rather quickly consume entire milkweed plants except for the stem. Leaf cuttings can be effective for keeping single common or swamp milkweed leaves fresh to hatch eggs or feed small caterpillars. I called our local co-op and asked about Bt, and they said that organic certification rules allow for some limited use of Bt, but that it would be applied on the exterior of the plant and fruit. larvae You mentioned squash and cucumbers. Of course the favourite is any one of the 'Swan Plants' or 'Milkweeds'. Do they then become unconfused, and remember how to migrate again? . Monarchs only eat milkweed. So it was amazing to see them on it. Mine where eating my kale in the garden I live in New York. What to feed starving caterpillars? Zealand like the Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) and Also, do they need water? At my house, I planted Tropical milkweed seeds in February and have several pots growing, including two filled with seedlings only two inches tall. Mine eat the thin skinned Persian cucumbers. © 2011, Helping you identify, encourage & conserve NZ's Butterflies. Sign up for email delivery, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter, @monikam. If you are looking for native milkweed to feed hungary caterpillars and live near Wimberley, I have discovered milkweed where none was last year. The cats like the butternut squash and cucumbers. U people need to try Fennel. They are still eating kale that I change regularly and butternut squash but I am trying to find some milkweed plants to grow in the house for them but the kale and squash seem to be working. It is I’d be 99.9% certain, they are swallowtails, feeding on Parsley. (The) Giant Swan Plant (Gomphocarpus physocarpus) and I read that cucumbers treated with Bt would be toxic to caterpillars. More than any other, the caterpillars of Monarch butterflies are most closely associated with eating milkweed–anything in the Asclepias family. Thanks. Just a thought. The most important thing to remember is that pumpkin and other alternative foods should only be fed to 5th instar Monarch caterpillars. This year I will hit the window releasing them precisely timed with when they migrate comes through on the highway south here in the northwest corner of Arkansas. – MM, Thank you so much for the tips! http://www.monarch.org.nz/monarch/ Check out our suggested milkweed stores to see if a vendor has plants they can ship quickly. ), and monarch butterflies need milkweed to lay their eggs About Us The Monarch Joint Venture (MJV) is a partnership of federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, businesses … That’s right, folks. Better then them all freezing in this cold. I do believe the are starting to adapt even when they don’t have to. to a new plant as this will show there is problems. “These were organic, but still felt like they were waxy, so [they were] heavily scrubbed first.” Addington said the caterpillars indeed preferred milkweed when given a choice. Good question—they just SEEM to know. They’re gone. The squash I had, acorn squash, did not work for my caterpillar. That will be around 40. butterfly Don’t use the food storage container lid so you can angle the floral pick in the container. larvae This is the first time I find a Monarch caterpillar in a plant other than a milkweed. To our monarch community: Let this be your wake up call to always ask questions when the methodology, conclusions, and media reports on monarch research don’t make sense. I frantically called both Lowes and Home Depot, they had no milkweed in stock. Photo by Monika Maeckle, No milkweed? What is all of this chemical trickery about? The recent news that the Monarch butterfly migration may soon become extinct because of a loss of milkweed habitat is driving the demand. I got my catapillars eating organic cucumbers. “These cats are eating the skin of the cucumber,” relayed Addington. Several years ago when Jacqui told us about this. How do they time it? Thanks for reply! Swan Plants are a variety if milkweed. Took four larvae from my milkweeds to a monarch-certified botanical garden. It’s obviously got to cold so I brought them in. fluffiness of the leaves. Just move them to another milkweed plant. I have raised 5 generations this year with the last emerging precisely when it is time to catch the ride south. Milkweed Tussock moth caterpillars appearance changes as they grow, but I don’t think they match your description. Tweedia will sustain a hungry You’re usually better off planting more milkweed patches, and more milkweed species instead of trying to get rid of pests. I may be soon running out of milkweed. They will eat and poop and eat and poop and eat and poop until they get to be about 2" long. Easy to cultivate and grows just about anywhere, although it is considered a noxious weed in many states. Hope they make it to Iowa as I will have a great milkweed crop. Dry powder can be stored. I have pictures of them finishing it up. Yes, and Here’s Tips On How to Handle Them With Care, Desperately Seeking Milkweed: Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars’ Voracious Appetites Create Milkweed Emergency, How to Get Texas Native Milkweed Seeds to Germinate, How to Raise Eastern Swallowtail Butterflies at Home. So if u are in a pinch u can try that. Ask for help to move your batch to someone local at. A harsh, dry winter preceded by drought and schizophrenic weather have left the sought-after perennial a no-show in many Texas gardens–and on roadsides and ranch land. Hi Georganne, Monarch caterpillars really won't eat much besides milkweed. I went back and forth between the laptop and the caterpillar and unless the eastern black swallowtail has develop the sets of alternating yellow, white, black, white and yellow strips what I have there is a Monarch. I believe it was the 15 inches of rain and subsequent flooding that resulted in this treasure. The adults do not attack their prey by stinging. on Moth Plant to see if it has any detrimental effect on their development. Most generations of Monarch butterflies only live for two weeks, and in that time they feed on nectar from flowers, court by flying in upward spirals with their mate, and breed, then the females lay eggs on milkweed plants. I live in Minnesota and grow hundreds of milkweed plants of different kinds all through my 1/3 acre yard. There are organic cucumbers in my garden I could have used. larvae from ovum on Tweedia to see if it has any detrimental effect on their development. I had 15 but am down to 13 but that’s ok. THANKYOU soo, much my caterpillars r on the pumpkin,…, they have stripped all the swan plant leaves,….yesterday there were leaves, now none, the pumpkin peices r doing the trick. ovum Site designed by Robert Arter-Williamson with logos by We don’t really eat it anyway other then a few time in pasta I make. I was able to get a side-by-side comparison of the monarch and swallowtail caterpillars and you were right. Does this mean any organic cucumber that has been thoroughly scrubbed would be safe for the cats? Monarchs cannot survive without milkweed; their caterpillars only eat milkweed plants (Asclepias spp. Monarchs are thought to feed on a butterfly flower (Asclepias syriaca) which is also known as common milkweed or silky swallow-wort. They look similar but have different antenna. “All 52 of mine finished on cucumber, looked great and joined the wild,” he said, adding “UPDATE: must be fresh, crunchy cucumbers.…two-weeks-in-the-fridge cukes were rejected with enthusiasm….what an uproar!”. To the attention-seeking media: Stop making conclusions about things you obviously know nothing about. Monarch caterpillar on a Milkweed plant There are over 100 species of milkweeds in North America and not all of them are used by Monarchs. With their distinctive black, white and gold pin-striped suits and expressive dark tentacles reaching out into the universe, that’s no surprise. Caterpillar host plants are the most direct answer to the question What Do Caterpillars Eat? The plant supports an entire community of insects. Last year I planted dill, got quite tall. You could peel the cucumber. Leroy, those are a eastern black swallowtails. We figured out that the lizards were eating them. the Milkweed family (Asclepias spp) are eaten. In the fifth instar, Monarch caterpillars will eat a variety of pumpkins. I MHOP, global warming will screw up the timing as well as lack of habitat, pesticide, etc. What do monarch caterpillars eat? Where do you all get your monarch caterpillars? This is a garden escape that is now on the noxious weed list, so can't be grown, however you can Are they lost? Found three caterpillars today on potted milkweeds. A small excerpt from the article above: However they have I’ve now found two them hanging upside down on other plants ready to make a chrysalis so I think you’re right, that’s exactly what’s going on – thank you, and sorry for the panic!!! This plant has several names including Moth Plant, Cruel Plant, Kapok and Milkvine. http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-Bio12Tuat03-t1-body-d5.html If you feed earlier instars (larvae/caterpillars) they will not survive. When they’re ready to make their chrysalis, they often leave the plant. after it emerges from the Will the Monarch Migration Become Extinct? Another version with good pix, Your site is so informative and great to read. I wish there were a way to get some to those of you who live in a milkweed ” desert “. 5th year with this same experience with timing being consistently accurate. instar Of course other members of the Milkweed family (Asclepias spp) are eaten. Photo courtesy Paul Addington. Usually the frass is dark green or even brown, but “pumpkin frass” looks like the food that fueled it. The question everyone asks when their Swan Plant has only a few leaves left and no After eating their eggshells Monarch Butterfly caterpillars usually eat nothing but milkweed. My boys are hungry! Systemic sprays can't be washed off easily and the plant needs a minimum The other three I guess I will just have to wait and see in two weeks or so when they emerge… . They are most likely to feed on a range of different flowers. I am out of milkweed myself, but have resorted to using both butternut squash and cucumbers (both without any of the shell in case it had any pesticide) and it’s working so far. On page 4 of this study, you refer to home raisers as hobbyist breeders which is a completely misleading term which does not apply to the vast majority of us. “Decoy” crops: When planning your garden, you can choose to plant certain varieties of plants that will attract Japanese beetles. “Food of Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus [L.]) Larvae in New Zealand” by G. W. Ramsay to die. Just to clarify the study, this is Tony Gomez’s response: instar We’ll do this the next time we have several 5th stars at once. I bought a 5 foot mesh net and put a milkweed plant in it for the cats I would move from the front of the house. If your not in New Zealand, then the 'best' Milkweed is Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa). (this is about 1.75" or 40mm long). Ahhrrgg, now what? In 1976, Dr. Patrick J. Dailey and his relocate your starving I hope it was enough food. Monarch caterpillars in the fifth instar will eat cucumbers. Within 2 days it was gone. Thank you. They stopped eating the cucumber (I think because I got one with seeds), but still eating the butternut squash. Tropical Milkweed - Bloodflower (Asclepias curassavica). And no, these are not swallowtail caterpillars. Birds are important predators of many kinds of insects including caterpillars and butterflies. the undersides of leaves and stems. larvae, People report varying results and deformities using Pumpkin. There is no milkweed to be had. Instead, they repeatedly bite the caterpillars until they … I don’t know if it’s just the large ones, actually; the smaller ones are harder to see so I can’t keep track of them as well — but there are 5 that are in the 2″ range that are all wandering off in different directions. This species occurs throughout North America, and is frequently seen on a variety of species of Ascelpias , including swamp milkweed ( A. incarnata ). Monarch caterpillars ONLY eat milkweed. Photo courtesy Ellen Reid. taking strands to feed to your hungry They wouldn’t touch the cheap 99 cent ones. Of course other members of feeding on some varieties of Hoya, but I have not discovered which ones yet or its suitability to raise successfully Many of the larvae will not make these transitions successfully.”. If you want to watch every stage, you’ll need to put them in a cage or container. There are many large milkweed plants at Lanier Middle school (you will see many Monachs flying around) that the students have planted and I am taking any small cat I find there as I have read that the smaller one’s still need milkweed. instar Like what you’re reading? Good thing I have another one. While larvae feed almost exclusively on milkweeds adult monarchs feed on nectar bearing flowers. a successful brood on. You can’t really use foliar Today I found a Monarch caterpillar eating a mustard leaf and starting to prepare the silk in said leaf. Too late now, I have to release them all to my almost bold-headed milkweed bush, and let the nature take the pick. No problem. I also have a number of them on the parsley and dill plants. I have pumpkins and cucumbers in my garden; I’ll try that to see if they’ll eat it! How to Get Native Milkweed Seeds to Germinate, Persnickety Texas milkweeds, May Not Lend Themselves to Mass Production, Tropical Milkweed: To Plant it or Not is No Simple Question, Desperately seeking Milkweed: Be sure to buy pesticide free plants, Butterfly FAQ: Is it OK to Move a Chrysalis? Well, my monarchs are a bit more adventuresome. We would notice many cats and then the next day they would be gone. It’s a quandary. After several days ‘nary a one is lingering in the yard. I just planted milkweed two months ago and am fascinated following this process. larvae However they will happily eat the plant bare. Wash the leaves in cold water and remove any bugs, etc. If your not in New Zealand, then the 'best' larvae Swamp Milkweed Asclepias incarnata. If you want to read the actual research report it can be purchased for $10 or viewed at any local library with a subscription to PNAS.” Monarch caterpillars are uniquely designed to specifically feed on one plant, the milkweed. A big plus is that this year I have more Monarch caterpillars in my yard than ever before. larvae Well, my monarchs are a bit more adventuresome. Apparently monarch eggs were laid on my parsley, dill, cilantro, and carrot plants because Shape into little cakes. This will sate my caterpillars for a few days, at most. (Cynanchum laeve), it is abundant regardless of weather. But they have to be FRESH cucumbers! Many of us who raise butterflies at home, especially in a year like this, also seek alternatives, since local nurseries seem to be having a hard time getting milkweed and keeping it in stock. Monarch Caterpillars Eat Two Types of Milkweed Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is a showy, bright orange perennial that gardeners usually prefer for their flower beds. Jon Miller, Oklahoma City. pupa. I’m hoping that by the time the hungry cats finish up the tender seedlings, my garden milkweeds will have taken off. Such a certified garden may be an option for those without their own milkweed patch. Allow to dry. Harmful to Monarch caterpillars/eggs? The information on the most popular butterfly & caterpillar types. ”To the monarch science community: Stop blurring the lines between mass breeding and raising butterflies for release. Gather mulberry leaves. Photo by Ellen Reid. Thanks. I Make no attempt to judge the merits of this finding. I took the two largest home. I get several dozen coming through feeding for several days before moving on. It’s irresponsible at best, and potentially harmful to our continuing monarch conservation efforts. Guess they know what’s good. More likely a checkered white, which hosts on kale. Dr. Chip Taylor, founder of Monarch Watch, chimed in to the conversation, letting folks know that the alternatives have been known for a while. I just tried cucumber and they are at least giving it a try, but not devouring it like milkweed. https://monarchbutterflygarden.net/when-monarch-science-fails-to-take-flight/ Milkweed is a beautiful pink and white plant that attracts even more beautiful butterflies to your home! They demolished my kale but I let them. Technically, no, because they are herbaceous. ?still stuck Thanks for the tip. Take a look at the caterpillar here: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/veg/leaf/checkered_white.htm. They can help but won’t offer a lot of control. into a butterfly. larvae As far as I know Bt is not systemic; therefore, it would not be taken into the plant tissue. This plant has large leaves, which poses problems for the I have also recorded The one on the right was reared on milkweed,” Ellen Reid wrote via email all the way from St. Arnaud, Victoria, Australia. Others did not form their chrysalis completely. Thank you so much for this post. onto a vine. The caterpillars quickly began to feed. of 4 weeks to purge itself of these chemicals. But what do monarch butterflies eat? They can help but won’t offer a lot of control. I live in California near Pismo Beach and was so sad to find Monarch caterpillars on milkweed that was completely eaten up. I feed my Cats on; Milkweed Vine Ideally wash or hose the plant first, including emerges from the Reliable DPLEX correspondent Harlen Aschen wrote to the listserv that reaches hundreds of butterfly fans that on a 1000-mile trip from Port Lavaca, Texas, past San Antonio to near Abilene and back around Austin “we saw no blooming milkweed.”, Yet that hasn’t stopped a tenacious group of butterfly lovers from raising caterpillars and hatching butterflies on “alternative fuels.”. Dogbane and giant milkweed are two other varieties. I am cutting the branches and plant them in soil, hope to have more bush when spring comes. I would be interested to know if the adults from 5th instar larvae fed on pumpkins and/or cucumbers have as many poisonous cardiac glycosides that deter predation as those who feed exclusively on milkweeds. See this link:https://texasbutterflyranch.com/2013/04/05/how-to-raise-monarch-butterflies-at-home/ Good luck! Good luck! Well most people do a Internet search and find there is not any good single page on this topic. Should I leave pumpkin and cucumber about the yard, per some of the comments above? Searching the web I encountered your .com in search of food alternatives. Should I pick them up and bring them back to the milkweed? It’s been great to see them grow and has been a great experience for my kids. You will find that your caterpillar will all of a sudden stop eating and You can do a search on pumpkin on their website in the far upper right of the above webpage. But what happens if these confused creatures are flown to Mexico and released there? However, toads, moles, shrews, and skunks are known to eat beetles. In fact, the monarch butterfly is also known as the “milkweed butterfly.” The milkweed plant provides all the nourishment the monarch needs to transform the Monarch caterpillar into the adult butterfly. Thank you! “We couldn’t distinguish between them in any way.” Reid shared a photo of “pumpkin frass”–orange colored butterfly poop which is produced in volumes in the final stages of the caterpillars metamorphosis. Some ate, but died in the same spot. this will cause your The Monarch butterfly on the left was fed with pumpkin during its final instar. I never found any cats so I know it was not them. However watch that it is not sprayed by a landowner as Over on the DPLEX list, butterfly buffs–and the Monarch caterpillars–are getting resourceful. When ready to feed, Mix powder with some water. It worked. I have some good, healthy milkweed plants and found my very first cat this morning after 3 years of growing them. Instar 4-5 caterpillars (over a half-inch long) have been reported to eat pieces of butternut squash, delicata squash, pumpkin, crunchy cucumber, and watermelon slices. to die, sometimes within a few hours, but other times after the onwards, this is about 0.75" or 18mm long. South Florida- I checked my dozen or so Monarch Caterpillar only to find that their source of food had only a few milkweed leaves left. I have never reared larvae from I did some searching and did find some references: I will continue to raise monarchs from wild eggs for release. Are you sure they were monarchs? They seem to love it. Monarch caterpillars do not feed on tomato plants, despite what … So if you run out of milkweed and are looking for emergency food for a Monarch caterpillar, try feeding it a slice of butternut squash. I sliced several pieces of squash and placed it nearby.