whoo hoo pipevine caterpillars....

plantmaven(8b/9a TX)November 5, 2012

I have about 25 caterpillars on my dutchman's pipe vine.

Wish I could show you a picture. They are black with red/orange spines. They are 1 1/2 to 2 inches long. What happens next/ Can I protect them?

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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Kathy, I'm so glad to hear that you have Pipevine swallowtail cats. They are such pretty velvety smooth caterpillars. I planted lots of pipevines and haven't had a one for the last two summers.

Do you think you have enough vines to keep them going until they make a chrysalis? Not sure how long it takes, but my guess is about two weeks. If a freeze is predicted I'd throw a blanket over the plant to keep it alive for the cats.

Pipevine swallowtails overwinter in a chrysalis state so if you can keep them going until then they'll be fine. Except in Feb. 2011 it was so warm there were three that eclosed in my yard. Luckily I had a winter blooming honeysuckle bush that was in bloom so they had something to eat. They hung around it for almost a week and then it got a little cooler and I didn't see them anymore.

Keep us posted on how they do. I need some to fly over to my yard next summer to repopulate this area.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pipevine swallowtails in Feb. 2011

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 9:29PM
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very nice pics. i've never seen pipevine swallowtails before.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 1:13AM
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plantmaven(8b/9a TX)

I just checked and a lot are gone. I see 5 climbing up the fence. They have eaten a lot of the leaves. I hope they are leaving to make chrysalis. I have put 2 in a fruit jar that I feed.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 10:08AM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Whoo hoo is right! Kathy brought over a bunch of her caterpillars and we placed them around the garden on the several fully leafed vines here -- not fully leafed for long now. They started working on denuding them immediately :-)

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 2:12PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

I had more butterflies in my yard today than I've seen in the last two years. I think they came in honor of Kathy's visit.

Most were nectaring on Blue porterweed and Eupatorium. Among those I recognized Viceroys, Painted ladies (or American ladies), Gulf frits, Red Admirals, one tiger swallowtail and a lot of little yellows and other small ones; plus one tattered Pipevine swallowtail! I hope it was a she and she lays some eggs.

Thanks for coming Kathy. We really enjoyed visiting with you.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 8:40PM
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plantmaven(8b/9a TX)

I really enjoyed the visit, too. I have become such a stick in the mud.
I may need to bring the rest of the cats. There are few leaves left on my vine. Boy, they sure voracious eaters!

I forgot to get the name of the plant you gave me cuttings from.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 8:07AM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

In case anyone is following this little drama I picked up 10 more caterpillers from Kathy this morning. Her vines were eaten down to the stems. All the cats really came alive when their feet hit the fresh leaves over here and they started eating immediately.

I'll be saving seeds from my pipevines in case anyone wants some.

Happy butterfly gardening!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 11:11AM
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