Caterpillars - Yikes!

granburyflowergirl(7)August 22, 2010

This is my first year with passionflowers and until last week I was fine with the idea that I would be sharing the leaves with caterpillars. Almost overnight the darn things wiped out every single leaf on my 10' vine! Will they kill the plant completely if I don't do anything? I hate to harm future butterflies but I don't want my vine to die - Help! What should I do?


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The cats normally won't harm an established vine even if they defoliate it but a new vine........??? How come everyone but me gets Gulf Fritts? I have loads of passies and many that they prefer as a host plant : (

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 6:01PM
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I think spraying the vine with Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis, a bacterium) will kill the caterpillars. It should be available in nurseries, although you may want to call first--not all carry it.

However it sounds like you don't want to kill them. So you could always pick them off by hand and send them to Karyn...

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 6:22PM
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I'd be thrilled but doubt they'd survive the trip. You might want to post on the butterfly forum and see if anyone has extra passion vines or maybe there's someone that lives near you that wants them.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 8:14PM
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Perhaps they would travel best as eggs? I don't have enough of a population, or I'd offer some.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 9:10PM
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egnilk66(9 - Southern California)

Feed 'em to your chickens!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 12:12PM
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Well, I don't know why my message never went through but I was going to offer to send you all of the little buggers Karyn, but I too doubt they'd survive the trip ;-). If I could figure out how to identify the eggs, I'd be happy to try sending them...there isn't much left to lay eggs on though!

I do see the same orange butterflies around my zinnias, maybe I should relocate the cats to the zinnias?

I really don't mind leaving them alone if I know the plant can recover once they are done.

I don't know how new this vine is, it was 4' tall when I bought it in March or April and quickly grew to 10 feet but now it looks really pathetic and the cats are still all over it just waiting for a new leaf to try budding!

I don't want to kill the cats, I just want my Passionflower to survive. Has anyone tried fish emulsion spray to deter them? There are a lot of folks on the Citrus forum swearing by FE to keep bugs off their citrus

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 1:26PM
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egnilk66(9 - Southern California)

Maybe relocate the caterpillars to a less valuable plant...

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 10:36AM
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I did not get any caterpillars this year. I am very disappointed. I only plant passionflowers for the cats!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 9:18PM
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Let the cats eat and your vine should be fine. The life of the vine doesn't come from the vine, it comes from the root. Relax and enjoy the show they are putting on for you!!

The passion flower is the only food the zebra longwing and Gulf Fritillary eat, so I wouldn't suggest moving them.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 7:31PM
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