. I have tried every “natural” repellant available and even poured ground cloves all over my butterfly garden last year. We are trying to raise monarchs. This time I put lids on with a couple tiny poked holes for air. When I went out this morning, both plants (in potting bags) have been pushed over onto the ground, some of the leaves have come off the plants, suggesting some kind of struggle, and almost all the caterpillars are gone! Lady bugs eat aphids and some one told me if you don,t want the aphids to come back use ferterlizer. I don’t like killing any bugs or spiders and I also don’t like using pesticides but earwigs have really upset me this Spring so I need to figure out a way to keep them OFF my milkweed. Hi Amy, you will hear conflicting info about whether they need water but I believe it’s essential from what I’ve seen over the years…however, too much moisture and bad air circulation can promote disease. Would love to see more and when they hatch I will incarcerate the little boogers until they are able to survive on their own. I am so confused with all that I am reading on here ..cover with nets, put in container or jars .,no water or they will drown..? Hatched out 57 monarchs last year with a goal of 75 this year! The silky string connected from the chrysalis to the ground is the tell tale sign that the Tachinid fly has struck. California y. Hello Herlinda, during the summer months much of the population is further north where there is more fresh milkweed. They are mostly shaded for a good part of the day. Thanks!. The life cycle of the Monarch butterfly has four stages and four generations. I had this problem last year in June, but I hit the wasp with a newspaper and killed it after it ate a caterpillar. I believe this is a 2nd generation butterfly. ANY SUGGESTIONS? I’m in NE FL & our summer will last until mid November. Hi! Ants don’t like cinnamon. I happened upon one that was writhing and curling its head, as if it something were hurting it, or it had eaten something really nasty. It’s far more likely one (or a combination of) the other predators listed on this page. We have small lizards here. We live in Spring Texas, we discovered the plant we purchased had a small monarch caterpillar. My theory is that perhaps the earwig emitted something when the worm chanced upon it, though I can’t find any info online to confirm this possibility. (btw, central AZ here, 2 pupa, raised from eggs, in a cage, in a shed with opened windows.). Hi Bob, keep in mind that caterpillars crawl off the milkweed to form a chrysalis…I wouldn’t use any pesticides by your milkweed. Black Swallowtail caterpillars are commonly found in parsley, dill, or fennel plants. Only on this plant did the wasps/yellow jackets attack my caterpillars. If you raise monarchs, they need at least 3 hours to dry their wings before they are released. However, you can continue to monitor and hope for the best. Most alternatives have holes that baby monarch caterpillars can easily escape from. You should be able to knock down the nest with the handle of a long broom, but if you can’t, or they come back, you’ll have to consider more permanent solutions…. Their habitat also provides outdoor recreation opportunities, like hunting and wildlife observation. So far the 6 are in good shape. This has been an emotional roller coaster. A couple of us notice a few anole lizards/geckos in our gardens and have wondered if they are also eating caterpillars. Filed Under: Butterfly Garden Ideas, Monarch Predators, Organic Gardening Tagged With: ants, paper wasps, praying mantis, spiders, yellowjackets. I’m so happy I found this site, I’ve learned a lot! I just read about having spiders, not sure if I have any. If you buy plants there, read on the label. There is more info about them on this page: I planted milkweed this summer and have monarch caterpillars on the standard milkweed. Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on milkweed plants, and female...Check the milkweed every day during the spring and summer for eggs. 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. We want to help monarchs because they’re in decline, but … In my desperation I fed it a cucumber which I read you can do if it’s in the 5th instar and mine was big enough to look like it was. Would you suggest cutting down all the milkweed in late November or so. Hi Van, are these bird species that would feed on seed from a feeder? Hi Melissa, earwigs are not monarch predators as far as I know. If you want a few more to survive you can always cover a couple plants with netting or raise a few indoors. Could a hummingbird have eaten the 4 that disappeared? Thank you. Let us know if that makes a difference! Do they eat mint? I can’t imagine they would have been eaten by something. Ants gone and weed alive. THEN AGAIN WE HAD SO MANY CATERPILLARS THAT THEY HAD NO FOOD SO WE BOUGHT MORE PLANTS FROM A DIFFERENT PLACE AND WHEN WE TRANSFERRED THEM TO THE NEW PLANTS THEY WOULDN’T EAT THEM AND THEY DIED. 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. I don’t think they go through the migration to Mexico since we have warm weather most of the year. a mouse. So, I purchased habitats starting in 2016 and now raise all my monarch caterpillars in habitats from mid-June through September. I made a little house to raise some indoors, but these flies always find the way to get in, I dont know what else to do. The Monarch Butterfly in New Zealand I have netting ready to protect the caterpillars from birds and wasps. After work this evening — now — those three darker eggs look like flat silvery circles — sort of like marks where the eggs were. I planted swamp milkweed at my new house this spring. Monarch eggs and caterpillars on single milkweed plants often go undetected…so do plants in partial shade. The fly larvae eventually kill the Monarch caterpillar around the time it tries to pupate. Thanks. Grams used it in her flower beds and veggie garden. The aphids see mto destroy the Milkweed leaves by sucking the fluid out of them, and the leaves turn yellow and then brown. I clean every morning and night some spider webs and that has help keeping spiders away. I have been raising monarchs for two years. I move the chryslis into a similar cage to hatch & be released. I’m presently over 90% egg to released adult butterfly if I get my hands on the egg or the cats. I began a butter garden 1.5 months ago. Great way to raise many caterpillars at one time. 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. WE LIVE IN AN ALF AND WE ARE RAISING MONARCHS BY PUTTING THE POTTED PLANTS IN OUR LITTLE GARDEN BUT THE FROGS AND LIZARDS ARE EATNG THE CATERPILLARS. good luck! The bottom is open to the ground but the mesh is very small. I was able to save three. I had this problem with my milkweed to. I tie the bag over the milkweed leaf or branch of leaves and move the caterpillar as those leaves get eaten. My milkweed plants always attract aphids. Ants depend on their scent trail to survive and make it home, there’s something in coffee grounds that disrupts their trail or scent so they avoid coffee grounds. If so, I put a new leafy milkweed inside. While nature’s truth may not always be pretty, it must be told if monarch enthusiasts across North America want to effectively increase the struggling monarch population. Also, I’m bring every egg and caterpillar into my screened in porch that I see. Hi Mary, if the plants seem ok after removing the borax from around them, I would leave them. I'll tell you my experience. Hi Alison, I think we are going to be at those numbers or even more when they do the count this winter…let’s hope for good weather in Mexico, Dear Tony, do you happen to have a picture of the wasp egg carcass on a milkweed plant? A monarch caterpillar feeds on a milkweed plant in the Butterfly Pavilion at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont on Tuesday, July 10, 2019. Do you have any other suggestions? The material is tightly woven so nothing can get through it. Amazing how teeeeny tiny they are! They hatch eggs on top of the caterpillars and eventually kills it before they become chrysalis or even a couple days after. I removed them and realized they could fly so did some research and have found they are Chalcid Wasps. I tried clove oil at first as an organic solution, but no one could afford that much clove oil. Hi, I’m from Mexico. I knew nothing about tachinid fly predation before that and had had great seasons raising monarchs, but with the arrival of the tachinids, no more! yes Rachel, they will both eat monarch eggs but they do more good than harm in the butterfly garden. Thank you Tony. Hi Donna, monarch caterpillars don’t eat mint. Monarch caterpillars are fussy eaters. However, I grew up with sheep, a goat, rabbit, parrots, several dogs, chickens in a chicken pen, and now I have a cat. I have found several shell-like things on our milkweed plant and just wondered if that is what they are. !…but, the caterpillars are dying just at the moment they try to become chrysalides, they starts to change their colour to black, and they make strange head movements, after that, they died…what do you think it is? If your garden pests are innocent until proven guilty, a healthy ecosystem should develop that can support both monarchs and their predators. note: yellow jackets aren’t the only predatory wasp attacking monarchs.Paper wasps are the worst monarch predator in our northern garden, on constant patrol for monarch caterpillars. Our milkweed is at least six feet+ high. I am so committed to raising monarchs in habitats that I acquired habitats from a supplier and now have them available in my website shop at https://tinyurl.com/MonarchProducts. I’m truly bewildered. I should have left them under cover. Hi Joyce, keep in mind predators also work at night. I actually found a solution but the caterpillar needs to be checked at least once if not twice daily. I plucked the earwig off, and now the worm is resting under a leaf. Apart from not spraying with water — and not covering with a full lid — I did everything “right.” And only on your site have I read that they should be sprayed. Everything was going well then this week I have found 5 dead monarch caterpillars. Hi Chelsea, many times ‘scarred’ caterpillars turn out to be fine and the scar does not transfer to the butterfly…all you can do at this point is separate and monitor. I wanted to take them all home but just settled on 4. It’s as if they sense there’s something trapping them and they are trying to escape even tho there’s still plenty of room in and up and around the plant even with the breathable mesh screen. These pre-mixed baits are cheap, convenient…and they work! I have never seen the level of predators in all the years I have been raising butterflies. I have successfully raised several monarchs, but my plants are covered with aphids on the underside of the leaves. Large mesh bags, some with clear plastic “windows”, are commercially available. Hi Amy, sorry to hear you lost your baby caterpillars. I have a natural milkweed patch, and have quite a few whoppers crawling about. This is quite an interesting way of protecting the butterflies tend to use. It might be nice to have artificial turf if you want a small putting green in your yard. yes, this is the time of season when the milkweed bugs are out in full force. I found out the hard way. Also, I think I read somewhere that they may need protein right now, and juice later in the season. 2 plants can only sustain about four caterpillars to the chrysalis stage. I didn’t realize earwigs bothered anything. No ants, no aphids. Most monarchs migrate to Mexico for the winter, but illegal logging in that … Usually when the cat is a instar 4-5 Extremely small, I cant tell if its a fly or ant. What could have happened.? Thanks!

We have enough of the small ones here, and I haven’t observed them doing anything “illegal” : ) . Like I said above few insects will have to be sacrificed first to teach the predators to stay away from similar kind of species. Hi Tony, I took a photo of it, but see no way to share it here. The Problem. I will put coffee grounds around today. I live in Los Angeles in a small apartment with a balcony so I can’t bring indoors due to space and I have a kitty cat that I wouldn’t trust with that. It may be just fine once it emerges but you could always move the chrysalis and place it in a more open space, we have an article here if your interested: How to Safely Move & Hang a Monarch Butterfly Chrysalis . Here’s some more info about monarch diseases and how to prevent them: I just read the blog and I think it is the tachinid fly…. Is there any way to get them off the plate so the butterflies can eat in peace? Once you’ve located a milkweed plant, check it...Cut down the entire stalk when you see eggs or larvae. (If you see an egg while you are in the process of turning the leaves over, you can save it. Find or plant milkweed somewhere near you. I am thrilled! I’m so sad (: (, So Sorry to hear this Cheryl. I know it’s the natural ecosystem but can you tell me what may have had my caterpillar for dinner? Yes, today I witnessed a wasp attack my monarch caterpillar. The monarch butterfly is one of the most recognizable species in North America and its in trouble. Hi Tony. Food For Caterpillars. Discover the system I use to raise monarchs with a 95% survival rate in the updated 2019 Raising Monarchs Guide. I have also kept him separate from all the other caterpillars I have just in case but if he forms a chrysalis can I put him with the others I have? My question to you is, can I move the caterpillars across the driveway to the more lush vegetation? My first experience in planting giant milkweed. Hi Pam, brushing off is a temporary solution but there are more effective short and long term strategies here: I can’t tell you how glad I am to have found this website. Well, it was a big worm, seems to have moved on, hopefully to pupate. . If you have a limited milkweed supply, consider removing any spider webs that have been formed on your milkweed plants. I have seen a large praying mantis on cage, of course I moved him, but ……… I am re-screening with aluminum screening material right now. I noticed small black bugs on my Monarch chrysalis and thought they were ants. Hi Meme, they will make due with the space they have. Sorry to hear this Carol, lizard is a definitely possbility! Watch these Monarch caterpillars grow from a tiny worm-like caterpillar to a large green chrysalis. I’m in Calif. and I need to know if blue bellied (western fence) lizards eat monarch butterfly caterpillars…… I may have a serious problem……, Hi Linda, I’m not familiar with this lizard species, but maybe someone else will know. Don’t let the delicate appearance of monarchs (or any butterfly) fool you – these are tough little creatures that use a number of clever strategies to protect themselves from all kinds of insults. I had 12 cats between 4 potted plants of different milkweed species. I witnessed a wasp sucking the juices out of a caterpillar as it hung from it’s mouth. Hi Jessica, so sorry to hear this. Remember, one monarch lays hundreds of eggs so predators are a necessary evil to maintain a healthy ecosystem in your garden…. How to Raise Monarch Butterflies. – can you help? Hi Shana, the ideas in the post are the only methods we utilize. Eye shapes on wings . Otherwise, raising indoors is a good way to help more monarchs survive: PS…look at the ‘predators’ page for more ant/wasp solutions, Are there to many predators for the monarch. Keep in mind, a healthy ecosystem is made up of both monarchs and their predators: How to stop Wasps in the butterfly garden. It may be that as soon as the caterpillars decide to climb down out of the planters to find a suitable place to metamorphose, the lizard gulps them down. Also, should I remove and destroy the chrysalis that appear to be infested? Thank you Roberta, I added your info to the ants section of the page! Cornmeal treated with Malathion or Diazinon? If you move it before then, you run the risk of breaking or damaging it, especially if you accidentally jostle it in the process. Both flew away as I got closer to try and release the Monarch. My best guess is that the first batch I lost crawled out through the holes in the screen. I am sick. I live in SW Florida. BTW, Japanese beetles are especially awful this year. Don’t Use Pesticides — Monarchs are insects, and so spraying insecticides will kill them. 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. You can find a wide assortment of food storage containers at most big box stores or get the 9 cup rubbermaid option we use here: Food Storage Containers for Hatching Eggs and Baby Caterpillars And you shouldn’t put it out anywhere that pets can get to it – it’s also fatally toxic to cats, dogs, and other animals. I live in Christchurch New Zealand and we have started trying to foster Monarchs in our garden this year. I’ve been growing milkweed for 3 years. If this happens again next year, should I move some of my caterpillars onto the plants next door? This is my first season raising monarchs and I’ve learned a lot from your site. Then I had 8 and no idea what happened to four. I noticed that there was an asian ladybug on the plant. Thanks! Last night I went to check on them, and again his morning. To add to your response. There is really only one thing you can do to protect the caterpillars from predators. I have one butterfly weed plant (tuberosa) which to my amazement this year had about 10 monarch caterpillars on it. Aphids will not Harm Monarch Cats However they do hurt the Milkweed that your cats are trying to feed from, my advise is to collect all of your monarch cats and use soap and water to kill the aphids on your plants it will suffer ate them and they will die and rinse it emit ly after you are done with soap and water. hi Sue, males need about four days before they can mate…it’s possible he wasn’t ready. To prevent cannabalism of small caterpillars, make sure you’re raising them in a large enough caterpillar cage, with plenty of milkweed available. I would try posting in a facebook group: Are Painted Lady butterflies a natural enemy of Monarchs? The "caterpillar castle" a mesh enclosure works quite well and will protect from other suituations as well. We use breathable mesh cages that keep caterpillars in, and deadly predators out. Are water and a full lid that critical? I’ll try the coffee grounds mentioned above. Did TONS of online research. Looks like the size of the hole would be just right for How do you protect caterpillars from predators? If you have wasps nest on your property, I would remove them…this helped lower our wasp numbers last season. 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. As I have one butterfly weed plant ( tuberosa ) which to my this. 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