Monday, August 12, 2013
update on caterpillars
Follow up photos. Nine days later. These guys are much bigger than they were. I probably should measure them so you can see how much they've grown but without having measured them at the start that seems a bit pointless. If you research raising monarchs, you will find many different methods for caring for them. What you read here is what works for us.
I like to change their food every day. Occasionally, I let them go two days but only when for some reason, I don't get out to pick a new plant. Don't pick much more than they can eat. You want to leave enough for monarch caterpillars in the wild, enough so that the plants can go to seed, and you certainly don't want to diminish you supply of food.
Always check for caterpillars on you new plants. You don't want to miss one and accidentally hurt it or brush it off to be hurt. Usually, we would have found more caterpillars by now just by getting food for our existing caterpillars. Unfortunately, this seems to be a bad caterpillar year and we still only have our first three larvae. The egg was a dud.
When you change the food, take the opportunity to wipe at all the waste from the bottom of your container. These guys produce a lot of waste. Even when they are tiny the amount they produce is quite remarkable. I usually wipe it out with a wet paper towel followed by a dry one. I have not had to deal with fungal problems but I know that for people who've had fungal problems, they use a bleach solution to prevent it from spreading.
Saturday, after I changed their food, I finally added a lid to the top of their jar. Because I am using a jar, I want to be careful to have good airflow, so I use a piece of plastic canvas that I cut to fit the top of my jar. I find when they are tiny, they don't move around much but as they get bigger they move a great deal more.