Raising Imperial Moth cats - help

Catgirl18July 27, 2014

I have about 35 Imperial moth eggs. I found some info about how to raise them and am currently raising 10 monarch cats (about to go into pupal stage). I know what the host plants are but after reading a post here (about how her cats didn't eat any of the choices and died) am concerned that will happen to mine). anyone with experience raising Imperials? They should be hatching soon. They were laid on July 19th and should take about 2 weeks. I know they turn dark when getting ready to hatch.

I have never seen any of the larger moths and this year found a cecropia and then the imperial just weeks apart :)

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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I'm raising some lunas (which I've raised many times) and some hickory horned devils/regal moths now. I put their host plant stems through a hole in a leftovers container, filled with water, just like I do with butterfly caterpillars.

I do know that the big moths use a wide variety of host plants, with local moths having their favorite. That's why I'm using sweetgum for the lunas and persimmon for the regals - that's what I've found them on naturally. I think maybe the reason regals use persimmon may be because the old growth, which has been there for MONTHS, is still tender, not tough like many old leaves on many different types of trees. Hatchling cats in particular need tender leaves. Regal and imperial moths both only have one flight a year, so you have the same situation with your imperials. If there are any other moth raisers in your area, they may know what your local imperials use. If not, you could offer your caterpillars a wide variety and see which they prefer. Definitely include tree leaves that are still tender in late July.

Good luck!

Sherry

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 11:20AM
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alch21

Where are you located? Here in SC i have used sweet gum and oak with good sucess! Good luck

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 11:43AM
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Catgirl18

Sherry, I think your right about using tender leaves. Even my large monarch cats still prefer the tender shoots (wish they didn't, it's hard cutting of the flower buds!) I have three lace leaf Japanese maple trees I'm hoping they will eat. They have very soft leaves and maple is listed as a host plant.

Alch21, I'm located in PA. I don't have sweet gum but I do have plenty of oak and pine and Japanese maple. I was surprised to read that pine was a host plant, any variety in particular? I'm glad to hear that you had luck with oak. Will they eat that even as brand new cats? I'm worried I won't notice right away when they hatch, I read not to put leaves in with the eggs or you could suffocate them. Also, do you know if they have more then one generation a summer? Or will they definitely winter over as pupa? If they should all hatch and live I don't think I will keep all of them until spring. Anyway, please let me know if you have raised them until the moth stage and any tips you have. It would be amazing to see them emerge as huge moths. The female I collected the eggs from I found laying on the mulch of my flower bed. She had only about half of her wings left and deposited about 15 eggs right on the mulch. When I put her in a container she deposited about 15 more eggs, then died. It was both an exciting and depressing experience at the same time.

Thanks for the info ladies, Cathy

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 6:35PM
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