My very first cats!!!!

tepelus(6a SW MI)August 7, 2011

I found my very first cats today! Three Black Swallowtail babies munching away on my bronze fennel I started from seed this year, just for the little guys. I didn't even know there was one around to have laid any eggs. I hope there's enough for them to eat, I have about a dozen plants, each about a foot tall and still growing, but they're in little pots, so I don't think they'll get much bigger until I'm able to get them in the ground (long story on that). I'm just happy I have three cute little babies on my fennel. Pictures:

This one must be older than the other two. I got a little close with the camera and bumped him a bit, and he pushed out his little antennae looking things that look like a snake's tongue. Yes, I named them...lol!

These next two look to be younger. All three are so teeny tiny, and so cute! I'm sure once they all get bigger I won't be able to tell the difference between the three.

Karen

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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Hehehe!!
I love those three stooges!
Congrats, Karen!
Sherry

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 6:50PM
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tepelus(6a SW MI)

And I just found eight Monarch caterpillars on a little patch of Asclepias incarnata that got left behind when I dug out the main clump. I'll have to move them to the bigger plants I have in pots right now (again, long story) because that little clump won't sustain them all. Also, my A. incarnata is infested with orange aphids. I was going to spray them with insecticidal soap, but maybe I'll try dish soap first, then move the cats once I rinse off the plants. I'm excited! Even though the plants aren't all put together in a garden yet, the butterflies don't care. The plants are there, they will use them. :)

Karen

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 7:54PM
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wifey2mikey(7a Tulsa, OK)

Congratulations! Love the names! Sounds like you should have plenty to feed them. Have fun! It's addicting...

~Laura

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 9:26PM
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bev2009(6 IN)

Congrats on your new additions! They don't eat too much in the beginning, but by the 4th and 5th instar, they really go to town. My uneducated guess is that you will have enough food for them.

Is there any reason for the color differences? Mine have the green on them as well.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 11:27PM
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tepelus(6a SW MI)

I don't know, but I've seen pictures of them like that on the internet, so I thought it may be a normal thing.

Here are a few pictures of my monarchs:

This one is the largest of them all

This one was hanging out with the yellow aphids. Gross little critters! I have a bazillion of them on just my milkweed.

And the tee tiniest with my index finger in the pic. It was hiding under a leaf, so I turned it over to take the pic.

Karen

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 7:16AM
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tepelus(6a SW MI)

Larry and Curly molted today and now look like Moe. It's interesting that the three don't move from their own fennel plants. There are sixteen of them in a tray, all about a foot tall. Should be enough to sustain the cats. I accidentally bumped Moe and he stuck his 'tongue' out at me. LOL! Cute little guys.

I mixed up a bottle of soapy water and sprayed the milkweed my Monarch cats are not on, but will be moved to, for the aphids. It seemed to do the trick. They were all attached to the plants still, but none were moving, so I hosed the plants down pretty good and moved one cat to the milkweed. Tomorrow the rest will get relocated.

Karen

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 10:18PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Congrats on your cats, Tepelus! Veeerrrry exciting!

Your Black Swallowtail cats look like maybe 3rd and 4th instar?? They go through such interesting changes in appearance as they molt through the instars. You will probably have enough Bronze fennel, but they eat a bunch of other plants as well so it's not too difficult to scrounge up something else if you need to. You can even purchase parsley at the store, however you must be careful that they haven't used any sprays, organic or not.

As for the aphids, they are called Oleander aphids and are extremely common on Milkweed. When I'm scouring the milkweed for Monarch eggs, if I stumble across a few aphids, I just rub them off with my fingers. If you stay on top of them, they never really take hold. (I also happen to remove all other insects as well and mostly they get the big squish.)

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 10:58AM
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