Pipevine Swallowtail Eggs Already!

misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)March 22, 2014

I had about 65 PVS chrysalides that overwintered for me, and about ?15 have emerged so far this year, ALL females! There's one that emerged late this afternoon, and I've been frustrated that she's another female. Well, anyway, I didn't think I'd be seeing any eggs, since there were no males coming from my cages to mate with the girls. But this afternoon, I found three clusters of eggs on some pipevines in my garden! I had seen a female flitting around the house with that "I'm looking for aristolochia" look - she flitted around the new leaves on the cherry tree and the wax myrtle to see if they were right, they weren't, so she left.
Either she found a fella that came from elsewhere, or these eggs are infertile. The fact that they're so well stuck onto the vines makes me think they're fertile. The cold winter has delayed the new growth on the vines - usually they have much more new growth on them by now. It's been warm for the past several days, though, 81 degrees today, so their growth could take off.

Also, the first of my spicebush swallowtails emerged this afternoon - butterflies usually emerge in the morning - and it is a male. I'll release him tomorrow. There are a number of PVS chrysalides that look like they'll be emerging tomorrow, also.

I found another viceroy or red-spotted purple caterpillar on the willow, not surprising, because I knew there were more than three hibernacula.

Here's a picture of one of the egg clusters -

Sherry

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SouthCountryGuy Zone 4b-5 SE BC(Zone 4b-5 SE BC Canada)

Oh my you are so lucky. If I see a butterfly in 6 weeks I will be thrilled. Nice pic as well and congrats!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 10:11PM
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mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)

Sherry,

Congrats on the eggs! Your season has begun in earnest.

Would you please help me with a question regarding the pipevine vines. My largest vines grow on a very tall wooden trellis. I am nervous the trellis will break from the top weight as it is one that was purchased from a garden store and built with thin wood slats. I know I can easily cut the top off of the trellis but have you ever actually just cut off the top of the vines? They have twined in and out among themselves at the top of the trellis. There is so much growth up at the top that a dove built her nest in among the vines one summer!

I think cutting off this top growth will force new growth to the lower part of the vines but I don't want to do this until someone can confirm the vines can take a hard pruning like this.

I had so many pipevine swallowtails last season and enjoyed them so much. I hope this year is another good one.

My thanks for any advice as to how to proceed. If I trim, I think it would be good to do this before growth begins.

Mary

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 11:13AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Mary, about how tall is that trellis? And about how wide?
It looks like your vine or vines are happy, growing well, so you need a LOT of surface for them to grow on. Mine grow on the approximate 40'X25' fence around my garden that's just under 6' tall. I've tried to grow pole beans on a trellis, and wound up with vines all bunched up at the top like yours.

I cut my vines back to the top of the fence, which is just under 6' high, every year in the early winter. They come back faithfully every year, although the very cold winter has made them late to sprout this year. I've never done hard pruning, that is, cut them down to a foot high or less, so I don't know the answer to that. It certainly couldn't hurt to cut off all that old growth at the very top of your trellis - pipevine swallowtails won't lay eggs on old growth anyway, at least they don't here, so that old stuff is useless.

If you have the energy and the space, you could buy or build a much bigger structure for your vine or vines to grow on. When pipevines are happy, they can REALLY grow! If mine didn't have the long fence to grow on laterally, they would make a big wad at the top, and that wouldn't do.

It's definitely good to do this now, just before the new growth starts. And you should get a lot more new growth than you would had you left it as is.

Sherry

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 3:02PM
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mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)

My thanks, Sherry, for this most helpful advice. I'm going to trim it now before the new growth begins ... at least the top 2 ft or so of vine.

You are so right, Mama Pipevine ST does love to lay her eggs on the new growing tips. I have 5 Aristolochia serpentaria ⦠Virginia Snakeroot plants that were started from dorment roots of baby plants some years back and were finally beginning to look like little plants. Well, last year mama pipevine ST's would not leave those 5 little plants alone and before I could turn around, she would lay eggs on the tiny new sprouts, over and over. I'd snip off the growing tips and place the eggs over on the Aristolochia fimbriata (White Veined Hardy Dutchman's Pipevine) and the next time I checked, there were more eggs on those little snakeroot sprouts. Mind you, they are right down on the ground and 100 ft away from the large grouping of pipevines. The fimbriata were eaten to the ground, too, but they readily come back and if not, easy to start again from seed. The snakeroot plants are becoming more and more difficult to find.

You asked about the size of the trellis. It is 8' tall and I think about 3' wide. The back wall it is up against is 1.5 stories high, as my house is built on a slight slope. I used a piece of rebar last year along the edge close to the house to add some support. It blends in with the wood and I've secured it both top and bottom with heavy wire so I think it will help with support but the trellis needs to have about 2 ft removed from the top, along with a haircut for the vines. Currently, I have to get on a step ladder if I need to move eggs or little cats and one day I'm going to fool around, fall and be in big trouble. :-)

Thanks again, Sherry, for your help.

Mary

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 4:36PM
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mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)

Sherry,

Here is the photo of mama Dove, who built her nest in the top of the pipevines. Photo taken looking down from the deck. I took this to send to my grand daughter, who, while visiting me during spring break, was the first one to notice the little dove sitting on her nest. ... Mary

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 5:31PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Hehehe!!! Doves make scraggly looking nests, don't they?

I finally got my first male pipevine swallowtail today. It's cloudy (after a rain) and none of the many butterflies in the cages are making any motions like they want to leave. And I don't see any butterflies today or on any day this dreary, so they may as well stay in the cage until tomorrow. I'm really glad to FINALLY get a male!

Sherry

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 6:31PM
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mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)

Oh, congrats on the little male. Now if some of those ladies take a liking to him, you're off and running for a good season! Of course, with the late spring you're experiencing there, do you have enough pipevine leaves to feed the little cats? I don't see any budding on my vines; so much here is late this year.

Mary

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 3:20PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I don't have nearly enough leaves on the pipevines to feed the caterpillars, Mary! :( I don't know what I'm going to do if the vines don't take off soon. We had another cold spell, and the temperature got down into the 30's night before last, but no damage was done to the new growth on the pipevines, so, I guess it didn't freeze, or, if it did, it didn't stay frozen long enough to nip anything. Hopefully, the cool weather we're still having will delay the eggs from hatching - temperature does make a difference. It's supposed to warm up again, and be in the 70's every day for a least the next week.

Two more males emerged, and I released them today. I got a picture of one -

Sherry

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 11:43AM
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Leafhead

Oh, what a Pipevine can do in 5 gloriously warm days...(The time it takes for the average PVS egg to hatch). I don't think you'll have anything to worry about foliage wise. As long as you don't get another cold snap.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 5:50PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

We got 4" of rain the other day, then it got cool one night, but the pipevines are growing anyway. Fortunately, the eggs haven't hatched, probably because of the cool weather, at least that's been my experience - PVS eggs hatch in 5 days or less in hot weather, but it can take nearly 2 weeks if the weather is cool enough. We've got nothing but 70's forecast for this week, so the growth should speed up. Also, fortunately, some of the eggs on one of the group were duds - unfortunately, I found another cluster. Normally, I'd be glad for more eggs! :/

Sherry

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 8:17PM
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bethpierce77

Mary, thanks again for the A. Frimbriata seeds that you mailed to me last year. I have planted them, and I think they are coming up. Did they come from the picture of the vine where the dove is nesting?

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 9:52PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

There are TWO female pipevine swallowtails out in the vines laying eggs now!

Anybody with pipevines or other aristolochia want any eggs?

Sherry

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 1:16PM
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bethpierce77

I do, Sherry!!! Beth Pierce. I have lots of pipevine!!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 1:36PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

That's wonderful if you have plenty of leaves for them to eat, Beth!
Aren't you in Mississippi? Last year, Rick in Alabama and I met half way between where we both live, and he gave me the eggs that have resulted in the many pipevine swallowtails I'm releasing this year. If you're in south Mississippi, that should work for us, too, and it's SO much better than mailing eggs.

Sherry

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 5:40PM
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bethpierce77

I just sent you an e-mail, Sherry! Beth

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 10:53PM
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zieglergarden(9B)

I have a question for you all-- Do PVS's prefer shaded areas or are they okay in full sun?
I ask this because I attempted to plant a passionvine for zebra longwings and they haven't come to it because they prefer shade.
However, if PVS butterflies are okay with the sun I might plant one of those in the area that my passionvine is in and move that to a shadier spot.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 12:48PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I think pipevines can indeed thrive in full sun, because somebody I know planted one in an open hay field, and it thrived and colonized. Mine are growing in part sun/shade, and do very well there. So yes, assuming you're talking about our native pipevines, Aristolochia tomentosa or A. macrophylla, I think they'll do fine. I can't say about the tropical types with those big flowers, that only polydamas/gold rim swallowtails of Florida use. Since you're in Zone 9B, I assume those are the types you're planting for? If so, maybe somebody like Mary in Florida can answer that one.

Sherry

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 1:13PM
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bethpierce77

Mary: The A fimbriata seeds that you mailed me last year are sprouting! Thanks again! Beth

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 10:14PM
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mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)

Hi Beth,

So happy the seeds are sprouting for you! The little seedling looks so healthy. The pipeline swallowtails will love them and they do recover nicely when eaten to the nubs.

I am sorry about slow response; have had a house fire. Smoke alarms woke me and was able to get pets and myself out safely. Attic fire. About 2-3 months to repair. All power shut off at home. Am replying from motel on my iPad. I have asked contractor if I can work in my garden and he said yes so I still have that to look forward to. I haven't seen any growth on my fimbriata vines but first leaves on A tomentosa vines are showing. I am ready for spring.

Mary

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 9:45AM
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bethpierce77

Mary: I am so sorry to hear of your ordeal! Hang in there!! Beth

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 3:10PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I'm sorry to hear about the fire, Mary! :(

Sherry

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 5:18PM
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mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)

Beth & Sherry,

Thank you for your kind words. We are safe and things can be repaired or replaced. My photos and family mementos are safe so I feel blessed. It could have been far worse. Firemen were amazing and so professional. Insurance company also extremely helpful and professional. Everyone test your smoke alarms; they save lives.

I have two pots of fimbriata in the greenhouse that are waiting for warm weather to be planted out. I also let most seeds fall in the patch so hoping for some new germination. Don't know, with such long freezes this winter, might have killed the seed and original plants. Will be interesting to see if anything survives of these little vines. We had long periods of below freezing conditions.

Noticed yesterday pipevines are putting out leaves! Spring has finally arrived in my area.

Mary

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 9:25AM
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napapen(ca 15)

All but 3 of the 75 pupas I overwintered have hatched. I do think tho that the butterflies are coming from all over. I have collected over 100 eggs and everytime I collect leaves for the cats in the house (60+) I find more eggs. They are really fertile this spring. I may run out of food is my fear.

Penny Napa Valley

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 1:35PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Whew! That sounds like my situation, Penny. There are still pipevine swallowtails in their chrysalis in my cages - they've been emerging a few at a time.

The eggs on the vines have started hatching. The vines are growing rapidly, which is good, but the weather has turned cloudy, rainy and cool, not good for hatchlings.

Sherry

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 3:37PM
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