Help with Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillars?

TabbyWhiteAugust 4, 2011

My mom found what look to be two large Eastern tiger swallowtail caterpillars on her young tulip tree. She doesn't want them eating the tree, and so was pretty adamant that they be moved. I don't know what they will eat that we have in our yard (aside from tulip tree), and so am not sure where to put them. Right now, they are in one of those Insect Lore butterfly garden containers, but I also have my five painted lady pupae in there and am very worried because the tigers are disturbing them.

If I put the tigers in the weeds, will they find sustenance on their own? (It sounds like a bad idea, but I thought I would ask.) I've read on different sites that they will eat willow, cottonwood, birch, or lilac bushes, all of which we have, but opinions seem to differ. Would it be safe to relocate them to any of those? In the meantime, will they hurt the painted ladies? I don't know anything about caterpillars, so I have no idea! :(

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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

They won't hurt the painted ladies unless the ladies are eating something they'll eat, and the ladies are much smaller than the tiger cats - they could accidentally eat them along with the leaf.
The favorite host plant for tiger swallowtails here is wild black cherry/Prunus serotina. Do you have a wooded area near you where there are tulip trees growing wild or wild black cherry? They'll also eat Ptelea trifoliata, but that's not too common, and they reportedly will eat sassafras.
The best thing to do would be to find some wild tulip trees and put them on them.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 8:39PM
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Thanks you for the response, Sherry. It's good to know that the painted ladies will be okay. I wasn't sure how they would interact. Unfortunately, I don't think we have any of those plants, not even wild tulip trees. My parents had to buy ours, which is why they don't want the tiger caterpillars munching on it and perhaps damaging it. I've been trying to give the tigers willow leaves and branches, and while they seem to like climbing on them, I haven't noticed them eating any. They're sticking to the tulip tree leaf. Isn't there anything else? If there isn't, my mom will probably let us put them back, but I'm hoping for an alternative.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 10:01PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

There is a long list of tiger host plants in one of my books.
They are:
Arizon ash
Carolina ash
Green ash
White ash
Black cherry
Common chokecherry
Common peach
Mexican plum
Common catalpa
American hornbeam
Eastern cottonwood
Mock orange
Sweet bay magnolia
Tulip tree
Common lilac
Hop tree

I hope you have some of these and one of them will do.


    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 10:22PM
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Thank you so much! We have many, many wild lilac bushes around our house, so hopefully they'll do fine there, no worse for the wear. I really appreciate your help. =)

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 10:58PM
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