I'm losing the desire to rear BSTs...
I've had plenty of heartache this year, especially losing about 20 cats due to newly purchased/obviously treated plants back in August. Now I'm experiencing alot of parasitized chrysalids. I had 2 over the weekend and 1 last night. Those probably bring me up to 10 skunked chrysalids. I open the cage to check on my 9 caterpillars only to find those gnatty sob's exiting another chrysalid. Unfortunately I got to it too late and there were only a few left, as opposed to the hundred (it seems) that come out. Normally when I find one it's pretty early on and I'm able to pull the chrysalid off, get it into a baggy & freeze the sobs before they get to infect another caterpillar. My cage is pretty secure, but I've found that those parasitic gnats fit thru the screen (normal window screen; fiberglass if I'm not mistaken). Normally when I do find a gnatty sob on a cat that's getting ready to pupate I shoo it off by blowing it off and squishing it. It also helps to have the scotch tape handy so I can blot the gnat if it's too quick. Unless I can find something that'll allow good air circulation to cover the screen with, I just might give up and stick to monarchs, which are reared indoors in containers as opposed to outdoors in a cage. I can't imagine rearing them indoors; I had ALOT of cats this year and DH will throw me out if I dare bring them into the house too. I've had an nearly flawless monarch year, thankfully (only one 1st or 2nd instar just died and I nipped one with a scissor), with no black death or unexplained behaviors.
I guess what I needs is:
-ideas? Tulle circles (alot) might help?
-a stiff drink?
Thanks for letting me sob & vent.
I know I should be considering how many I successfully released, but it's tough when I think of how many parasites I also released :(