Found my first Pipevine babies : )

christie_sw_mo(Z6)June 18, 2012

I almost ignored a little brown blob on a pipevine leaf this morning when I was watering but when I looked closer, I discovered that it was seven little pipevine cats clustered close together. Yay! I looked around some more and found another cluster of five, then three more close-by and then one little cat off by itself. 16 altogether! I bought them all in with some leaves.

They were all on the a. macrophylla plants that I grew from seed last year. Eight out of nine of my plants wintered over and have put out a lot of new growth this year so I have plenty to feed those 16. I'm glad there weren't more than that though. I think I would be worried.

I haven't fertilized my pipevine plants at all but I think I may need to since they're all in containers on my patio rather than in the ground. Is it ok to use something like Miracle Grow as long as I don't spray it on the leaves? Do I need to go buy something organic? I need them to GROW so they'll be ready for the next flock.

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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I use chicken manure mostly, Christie, but sometimes I add chemical fertilizer to the manure. I'm overrun with caterpillars, so it must not hurt! As long as you don't put anything on the leaves, it sounds good to me!

Congrats on your babies - they'll keep you busy!


    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 12:58PM
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I had some Osmocote granules that I bought almost five years ago and it was still sealed. lol I'm a lazy gardener. I put some of that around my pipevines and found one more cat while I was out there, the same size as the others. It must've been hiding.

It's kinda cool how they gather together rather than spreading out. They were on at least four different leaves when I put them in the container because I had taken them from different plants. I also added a few extra leaves. When I looked in there yesterday evening, there were 15 on one leaf having a little family reunion and one off by itself. They're all the same size so probably all came from the same mama. They were spread out more this morning.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 12:55PM
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I found one more little cat and four that were slightly larger, 21 altogether. Hope the Osmocote makes my pipevine grow faster. I'm starting to get a bit concerned about having enough.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 1:57PM
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Christie, Congrats on your PVST cats! Aren't they the cutest! They're my favorite cat to raise. I sure hope that your pipevine will be enough for the cats. I wish that I could send you some of mine, but I don't think it would hold up well. I have tons of it and no cats yet. Best of luck!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 2:28PM
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Just looking back to see when I found my cats because they're getting big and I HOPE they're almost finished eating. They must be 10 days old or more. I've been trying to find how many days they're in the larval stage. Does anyone know?
My plants are not completely out of leaves but I've snipped so many off to bring in for the cats, I'm afraid I'll kill them.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 7:00PM
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Christie, I used to keep track of butterflies that I raise and now that it's multiple kinds, I haven't been keeping records. So I went back to my records for 2009 and see that they are probably in the larval stage for roughly two weeks. That year the first group that I found on the pipevine was on Aug. 15, and they started pupating on Aug. 30. Now, they were probably a day or two old when I found them, so I'd say a good two weeks for the larval stage.

I don't know what kind of pipevine you have but if it's like my A. macrophylla, I'd say that it would take a bulldozer to destroy it. lol I have lots of pipevine and am hardly finding any cats. Right now I'm only raising four. I hope that your pipevine is enough to feed all of your cats. I really wouldn't worry about it dying from taking so many leaves off to feed the cats. Good luck with all of them.


    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 9:16PM
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Thanks Cathy. I have a. macrophylla too. It's good to know that it can take some abuse. There are eight that I started from seed last year and keep in containers but two are runts and haven't grown well so I haven't taken any leaves from those yet.
I'm very relieved. When I looked in the containers this morning there were four that were attached to sticks and ready to make a chrysalis, so now I'll have 17 to feed instead of 21. There were four caterpillars that were slightly bigger than the others when I found them but judging from their size, I think not more than two or three days and I have enough leaves to make it that long.

I'm glad no more eggs have appeared since I've been feeding the others. Macrophylla seems to grow pretty fast and I think if it had two or three weeks to recover before the next batch comes along it would be very helpful.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 11:21AM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

Christie, I wish I was closer. I have pipevine! Not a lot, mine have been in the ground a year to a couple of years, but I keep hoping if I grow it they will come!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 12:38AM
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Lisa - I looked at the map for Pipevine Swallowtails at the site and it does show them over a large part of Oklahoma but it didn't show any recent sightings. It only takes one though to leave a bunch of eggs so hopefully your pipevine will eventually be found and eaten. I wonder if I start finding dozens of eggs, if I could send them to you. : )

As of this morning, I only had 9 that were still eating. This afternoon it was down to 7. So it looks like my a. macrophyllas are going to get a break for awhile.

I only have one a. fibriata plant and it's very small. I bought two a. tomentosas this week but I'm afraid to try to put them in the ground with it being so hot and dry right now. And I'm undecided on where to plant them. I'm not sure whether to put them in our yard or back along the treeline at the edge of our field. Mobot says it's "intolerant of dry soil". I'd like to plant it where it could climb into a tree but that's where the soil is dryest.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 5:41PM
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I was hoping my pipevines would have more time to recover but I released my first two Pipevine Swallowtails today, one male and one female. What a treat to get to see them up close. It's always disappointing when a newly released butterfly flies out of sight instead of sticking around my garden but I've got to admit, this time I'm hoping they don't stick around. I still have 19 more to go.
I can't tell that my pipevines have grown much since I quit robbing them of leaves 10 days ago.

I'm curious how long it will take that female to mate and start laying eggs. Does anyone know? ... Then a few days for the eggs to hatch. Rain would help. That always makes things grow faster than water from the hose.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 3:22PM
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cecropia(z5 Oh)

I planted a small macrophylla about ten years ago and it just sat there for two years with very little new growth.After that it grew faster each year,eventually sending up new shoots a few feet away.Now there are pipevines everywhere!!! Even though I cut them back almost to the ground in early spring,they are climbing all over the trees and shrubs,and are even growing into the attic! And my neighbor's drought-stricken lawn is covered with new pipevine sprouts because he hasn't mowed it for at least a month.Anyway,it would seem this species is rather invasive so be careful where you plant it.

No doubt I could feed hundreds of cats,but alas...there are no pipevine swallowtails in northern Ohio :(

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 11:31PM
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hmmm I thought a. macrophylla was only hardy to zone 7 or 8. I kept mine in containers so they can be brought into the garage. I guess I shouldn't be so worried about them freezing in the winter then. If they're that hardy, I just need larger containers and will keep them outside all year.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 8:25AM
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Christie, I think that they're hardy to zone 6, which is the zone that I'm in, so yours should be fine if you leave them out over the winter. I have mine planted right into the right and they've grown tremendously in the past few years. Too bad that the Pipevine Swallowtails aren't here in the numbers that they've been other years. There are thousands of leaves on all of those vines and nobody to eat them.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 11:01PM
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Hope some swallowtails show up for you Cathy. Maybe mine are on their way there. They haven't stayed around here. I've had more females than males and was worried that they'd all lay hundreds of eggs on my pipevines but not a single egg so far. It's been a week since I released the first one.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 8:05PM
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