Catts chewed up all the milkweed

sambac(z10fl)June 15, 2013

Picture of the caterpillar, they have completed chewed a few milk weed plants, no more leaves left in either of the clumps of plant I planted 4 weeks. Question is should I leave them(the caterpillars) alone to fend for themselves or should I transfer some of them to the passion flower plant( I hope that is an incarta) they both are a 5-6 feet away.
I have attached images of the catt and the passion flower( if some one can identify to see if it is the right host plant)
Please excuse the quality of pics- iphone stuff!!
TIA for all response.

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wifey2mikey(7a Tulsa, OK)

Passion flower is not a member of the milkweed family, so I would not transfer them. Do you have any wild milkweed available (in a nearby field for example?) that you could bring home to finish feeding the cats?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 10:17PM
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sandpapertongue(7a VA)

No, the Passion flower won't work. If you are willing to bring them inside, you could try feeding them pumpkin or cucumber if there is no milkweed to be found. This will only work for 4th or 5th instars.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 11:54PM
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Passion flower only works for GFs and Heliconiids.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 8:31AM
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Oh, I will try to bring them to the patio, or drops some cucumber peels and cucumber outside. Milk weed available at Lowes, but I was wondering how many plants are these guys going to make me buy, the way that they are eating them:).

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 8:37AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Drive out into a rural area and see if you can find milkweed growing along the road or in a field somewhere. Or find a park or nature center with milkweed. You could drop the cats off somewhere they would have access to more food. But, you need to be quick. Those babies are hungry.


    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 8:49AM
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mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)

There is Butterfly World in Margate/Ft. Lauderdale area. They might take them if you are close enough to drive there. How many little cats are you feeding? Maybe another milkweed plant or two will get them through to pupation.

Earlier suggestions are good.

I am so sorry you've run into this situation and only wish I lived close enough to share milkweed plants with you. Maybe a neighbor in your area can help by sharing milkweed with you.


    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 10:39AM
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Im heading out to Lowes to get them a couple of more plants for now. We are in a sculpted subdivision, so no wild area. Butterfly world is ways away, so will get them some food for now and figure out as how to avoid this situation, With some anticipation I planted a few plants together in clumps, but these ravenous critters took everything down lol.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 10:50AM
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Please avoid using a plant from Lowe's if at all possible; they may treat their plants c pesticides, some of which may be systemic. Here are some precautions for shopping @ big box stores:
Wash plants THOROUGHLY with tepid water and examine soil in pots for blue granules. (If present at store, do not buy plant.) This is a systemic neonicotinoid and will last for up to 90 days.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 2:49PM
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I hope they did not use systemic. Yes I hosed the plants down like crazy, I m going to plant them in my organic mix I make myself, so all the crap stuff will be take off. I was a little disheartened to see a lots of the guys have left the bare plants. A few still around hopefully will male it.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 3:48PM
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I personally would not feed milkweed from Lowes or any commercial greenhouse to monarch cats. The horticultural folks are raising huge quantities of plants, in crowded conditions, and they are using various toxic chemicals to achieve this, successfully. Unless the grower states that the plant is safe to eat, it should not be used.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 4:13PM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

The ones that left may be getting ready to pupate. Did these caterpillars come from eggs laid on the plants in your yard? I have found that the caterpillars will eat the plant stems and all if really hungry. To raise caterpillars, you need at least one 18 inch plant for each caterpillar. It takes a lot of food. It would be good to try to locate some wild milkweed. If you can contact the state or local lepidoptera/butterfly organization or even the local Audubon Society, someone might be able to provide you with information. Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 4:19PM
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Often the nursery people will say they haven't put pesticide on the plant. But it could have been applied before they got it from their suppliers. Truly safe plants are hard to find.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 4:33PM
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I know it is hard to find 'real organic' anything. In response to butterflymomok, yes these came from eggs laid by the random visitors.. I'm fairly new to butterfly gardening. Planted different varieties hoping some for larval feed and some for nectar and I think monarch and the sulphurs visit the garden. I will check with the gentleman who introduced me to this new addiction( besides orchids and roses, lol).
Thank you all for your kind generous responses. More questions may come as I get my feet deeper into this. Truly appreciate all your input.
Best regards and Happy Father's day to all dads!!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 5:56PM
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