i'm so excited!

wifey2mikey(7a Tulsa, OK)June 23, 2012

I think... stressing THINK... I have an early instar Giant Swallowtail caterpillar on my rue! I was taking cuttings for my BST's and just selecting a variety (dill, fennel, parsley and rue) and then later went to check on them to make sure they had all transferred to the new plants. I thought I had checked over the cuttings pretty closely to make sure I wasn't introducing any predators (ie spiders).... anyway while checking I see this early instar cat on the rue that I knew wasn't in my habitat before. So I look closely and notice it was slightly different color than a BST... look more closely and it has little spikes on it too! I'm going to try to take my macro lens out there and get a picture of it so you can help me confirm! Please cross your fingers for me - I've never even seen a GST in person - let alone one in my yard, and never ever dreamed they'd lay eggs on the rue!

Can you tell I'm about to explode with EXCITEMENT???!!! LOL

~Laura

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wifey2mikey(7a Tulsa, OK)

What do you think?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 1:19PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I can't recall a black swallowtail caterpillar ever being that color, so congratulations, Laura!!

They're so much fun to raise - comically lethargic. :/

Again, congrats, congrats!

Sherry

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 3:12PM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

Laura,

I think there's a strong possibility that you have a Giant Caterpillar. Congrats!! I have a question for you, where did you get your rue plant? Mine has succumbed to the gopher. :-(

Sandy

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 4:10PM
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wifey2mikey(7a Tulsa, OK)

Sandy, I'm sorry to say I can't remember where I got it. I shopped so many different places this spring. It may have been from Bustani Plant farm in Stillwater now that I think of it. I have never grown it before this year. I bought and planted two and they have grown nicely.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 4:56PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

A giant swallowtail Mama laid one lone egg on the rue in my front yard, Laura. I checked it out, and it's hatched - 'looks just like yours!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 7:33PM
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wifey2mikey(7a Tulsa, OK)

HURRAY!!! Fingers crossed that I'm able to raise it without any problems! :-D

~Laura

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 8:09PM
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caterwallin

Congrats, and best of luck raising the little guy! I love the GSTs!
Cathy

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 11:34PM
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christie_sw_mo(Z6)

Congrats! I've only found a GST cat on my rue once I think but lots of Black Swallowtail cats.
Warning - I handled rue many times with no problems but then did get a bad rash on my arms that I'm pretty sure was caused by rue so I still have it but I'm more careful now. It can cause a poison ivy type rash if you get it on your skin and then you're exposed to sun afterwards (phyto-something).

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 1:19PM
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caterwallin

I'll second what Christie just said...be careful of the rue unless you want to be itching for a week like I am. lol I don't think that I always was allergic to this but am now. I'm also allergic to my Aristolochia macrophylla and Asclepias currasavica. It's too hot this time of year to wear a long-sleeved shirt when I'm in the gardens, so I just go in bare-armed and hope that I remember to wash my arms afterwards.
Cathy

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 3:27PM
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wifey2mikey(7a Tulsa, OK)

He is still growing (SLOWLY) and has molted a few times and is definitely a Giant. I'll try to get pictures today after I charge my camera battery.

~Laura

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 11:26AM
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christie_sw_mo(Z6)

Well I didn't know a person could have an allergic reaction to arislochias. I need to watch those too. It hasn't bothered me so far but that doesn't mean it never will. I handled hellebore seeds several times before those caused a reaction. I was collecting seeds and the ends of my fingers started to burn like fire. Is your rue rash starting to get better now Cathy? That one got me good. I should've gone to the doctor but kept thinking it would go away soon. It seemed like it took forever to go away.

Laura - It will be fun for you to get an up-close view of your Giant Swallowtail when it emerges. They're just amazing!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 12:51PM
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caterwallin

Christie, I don't recall if anyone else on here ever said about being allergic to aristolochias, but I know that I am. I'm allergic to pretty many things, even grass and tomato plants. I've noticed that if the leaves are "hairy" (there's a word for it but can't think of it right now), chances are that I'll be allergic to it. I'm think I'm allergic to the Verbena bonariensis too. Of course, tropical milkweed isn't like that but I'm still allergic to it, but I hadn't noticed that I'm allergic to swamp milkweed.

Yes, my rue rash is getting better now but my arm looks like it went through a war. I'm like a little kid when I get a rash...I just have to scratch it! :-O The rash still itches very slightly but it's nothing like when I first got it. Oh my, I had trouble sleeping at night! Gosh, so you're allergic to hellebore, huh? I don't have any or if I did I'd probably be itching from that too. You'd think that I'd stay out of these things that I'm allergic to, but I just have to feed the caterpillars, take off seed heads, weed, etc. It's kind of hard to just stay away from the plants. I could stay away from the pipevine totally because it's at a place away from the other gardens and doesn't really have to be weeded...but Pipevine Swallowtails are my favorite cats to raise. I also like the Giants a lot...and wouldn't you know it, I'm allergic to the of the host plants that I have for both of them. I also have gas plants for the GSTs but haven't found out yet if I'm allergic to those. You don't always have an allergy from the start but develop one. I know that I didn't use to be allergic to tomato plants but found out the other year that I was/am. Here I thought that I kept getting into poison ivy somehow until I put two and two together and figured out that it was the tomato plants, so now my husband does the weeding there and picks the tomatoes (although we don't have any this year yet).
Cathy

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 10:33PM
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wifey2mikey(7a Tulsa, OK)

Here is the same little guy from the first picture in this thread. He's growing - slowly - but definitely growing!

~Laura

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 3:35PM
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wifey2mikey(7a Tulsa, OK)

Camera settings were off - but here he is with his osmetrium poked out. :-) Plus you can see his size compared to my finger.

~Laura

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 3:40PM
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christie_sw_mo(Z6)

Cute photo!
I need to check my prickly ash again today. It hasn't been defoliated by beetles this year like last so I'm hoping it will be more appealing to the mama Giants. My wafer ash seedlings may be getting big enough to attract some attention too.

Glad you're doing better Cathy. As I would say to my kids - Quit Scratchin!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 7:40AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

That's what mine looks like, Laura.
I released my first giant swallowtail of the season yesterday. I had my camera with me, but he/she flew out of the cage too fast to get a picture. 'Sure was a big beauty!
Fortunately, giant swallowtails don't take as long as tiger swallowtails to emerge!

Sherry

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 11:23AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I don't know if mine is ready to purge/pupate or if it's just being still to molt. It's being still, though, that's for sure!
How's yours doing, Laura?

Sherry

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 1:25PM
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wifey2mikey(7a Tulsa, OK)

Sherry, just today I went outside to check on him and he's made his sling on the top of the mesh cage. I thought he looked a bit small to be doing this but I've kept plenty of fresh rue for him and he was eating so I guess it was just time. He still hasn't shed the skin and formed a chrysallis but I'll try to take a picture when he has.

I thought I'd gotten a rue rash or poison ivy late last week. But turns out I have a nasty case of shingles. So I've been laying low and staying inside mostly.

~Laura

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 1:19PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Oh, no! I've heard shingles are REAL painful! I don't know what you do to make it better, but do that, whatever it is!

My giant swallowtail made its chrysalis last night, so now I'll just wait for it to emerge. I've got many others that pupated several weeks ago, but only one has emerged so far.

Take care of yourself, Laura!

Sherry

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 3:18PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Laura,
Are you having much pain from your shingles? If so, there is a topical pain reliever that can be compounded by some pharmacies that can give excellent relief. I'm a hospice physician and we use it often for shingles. Call your physician and ask for topical ketamine in a 10% cream or spray (the sprays are much more expensive). It can be applied to the rash every 4 hours. If you can't get the ketamine, you certainly should have some strong oral pain medicine to use at night so you can get some decent rest. Shingles can be very painful, but you don't have to suffer. Keep in touch.

Martha

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 6:51AM
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wifey2mikey(7a Tulsa, OK)

Thanks for the suggestion Martha. Yes it's pretty painful, but overall I think I probably have higher pain tolerance than the average person. Not bragging, just saying. (I've been through several surgeries without needing any pain medications as well as had two babies without pain meds.) Anyway, it does hurt, but I'm taking acyclovir and I'm noticing today that both the rash and the pain is lessening a bit. ALSO - last night a friend had me over to her pool and hottub, and honestly, the cool then hot water made it feel INCREDIBLE. So much better. I finally got some pain meds - Ultram - yesterday (it would have been sooner but there was a pharmacy glitch) and I used it last night and I did get some decent rest. I slept 10 hours which is unheard of for me even on a good day! :-)

Thanks again to everyone! This too shall pass and hopefully never ever ever come back! :-)

~Laura

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 1:05PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I'm glad you're finding relief--and the rest will do you good.

Martha

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 9:08PM
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