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Black swallowtail Caterpillars

Posted by Kvothe none (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 16, 13 at 18:03

I found some Black Swallowtail caterpillars in my vegetable garden (which I planted in my mother in law's house). She wanted to get rid of them so I brought them in my apartment. I did not even know what kind they were (never bread butterflies). Luckily earlier I got my son insect box with the netting so I placed them there and I keep feeding them my own grown parsley and dill. 2 are large and one is small. I am planning to go to my garden tomorrow and pot my dill and parsley plants to bring them here so I don't need to worry about food supply. The thing is its already 16th of September and we live in North France, it's getting chilly I don't know what to do after they crystallize, I guess it will be too cold to release them. I got a small garden in my apartment along with the shed, should I place the crystals there to overwinter? I don't have any confidence in refrigerating them. Any other info will be welcome as I am totally inexperienced and I don't want to harm them.
Thank you

This post was edited by Kvothe on Mon, Sep 16, 13 at 18:06


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Black swallowtail Caterpillars

I'd suggest putting them in a container and having a friend with an unheated building/shed hold it for you over the winter. Bring it home in the early spring.

Then put it in some type of enclosure where the butterfly will be able to climb up the sides if it falls to the floor of the enclosure. If you don't have something like that, provide lots of sticks so you can be pretty sure that the butterfly will be able to find one to climb on. Then wait for the big day.


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RE: Black swallowtail Caterpillars

These are my two Caterpillars, sadly third much smaller one died while I was moving them to their new home. I don't know how big they are and when they will start to crystallize, if anyone could tell me I would be really grateful.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.mediafire.com/view/tmpzjb38uypymi3/IMG_2781.JPG

This post was edited by Kvothe on Thu, Sep 19, 13 at 5:14


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RE: Black swallowtail Caterpillars

and this is the home I fashioned for them, using the parsley and dill taken from my garden and mosquito net. They spent first night there yesterday and seem fine. I keep checking to make sure they can't escape cause those two are real escape artists

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.mediafire.com/view/av5o7lblxetqvqv/IMG_2776.JPG


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RE: Black swallowtail Caterpillars

I hope that they do well for you, and you'll have to tell them to stop trying to escape. ;-)
Cathy


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RE: Black swallowtail Caterpillars

My first Caterpillar is in pre-pupa stage, he's been hanging in C shape position second day now! I wonder how long it will take him. He attached itself to the net itself not to the plant, will it cause any damage to it when I remove it in couple of weeks to get it ready for the winter?


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RE: Black swallowtail Caterpillars

Once the caterpillars purge their guts in preparation for pupation, they begin to wander earnestly in search of that perfect place to attach. They move pretty fast. You might provide some sticks inside the enclosure for them to attach to. Ultimately though, they will attach wherever they choose, and sometimes it's the netting or the plants. I tend to just leave them over the winter attached to whatever they attached to. If you must remove the chrysalis from the netting, be sure to also get the silk pad that is attached to the netting. You can then use tape to secure the chrysalis to a stick. Secure it in the upright position that they would naturally hang and pupate in. I had a bunch of them attach to the fennel and pupate this year. I just snipped away pieces of the fennel and used tape to attach them upright to plant stems and some thin metal rods. They will overwinter in the garage.
Oh, and there are 27 chrysalides in this pic. I think I will end up with a total of 43. All this from one little mama. She was the only one I saw all season.
Angie


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RE: Black swallowtail Caterpillars

ok so one has turned into a pupa, but it's not well attached, it was attached by head, body and tail, but now he is only attached by it's body and tail, if anyone saw my netting on a photos you will see it's quite tall and they both attached themselves to the roof. The thing is when we move about in the room, or when washing machine is on it shakes a lot, I am scared that pupa will fall and it will be damaged. I don't know what to do about the weather too, it was cold and now few days it's really nice and warm, I can't decide if I should move them in the shed for the winter or just let them develop into butterflies. What if I put them in the shed and they will develop anyway because it's not that cold? Please any advise would be welcome.
Thank you


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RE: Black swallowtail Caterpillars

Swallowtails tend to overwinter as chrysalides, but you can never tell what they will do. I will leave mine outside on the porch until winter sets in, and then they will go into the garage. There, it is cold enough to keep them from eclosing during the winter months. You don't want to keep them inside the heated house, because they may eclose during winter when they cannot survive outside. Once the chrysalides have hardened well, a soft fall won't damage them. But, they cannot remain on the ground. If you feel that you need to attach the chrysalid to something to secure it more, then do that. It just needs to be upright with some air space below so that when the butterfly ecloses, it has something to cling to and some space for drying its wings. HTH
Angie


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RE: Black swallowtail Caterpillars

Angie thank you so much! amazing photo! and to think of all these was done by one little Butterfly. You are doing amazing job, I wish I will be doing the same, I will post some photos of how they are attached.


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RE: Black swallowtail Caterpillars

They are not attached in upright position, both of them attached themselves to the roof of the netting in horizontal position, like a smile. After they harden I will move them with their net to my shed. I did not know if I could reattach them again. I am so clueless this is why I want to do this properly and not hurt them in any way.


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RE: Black swallowtail Caterpillars

ok guys this is important!
I would like an answer from experienced breeders, what kind of container do you place the chrysalises for winter? to protect them from mice and such? can you recommend any online store that sells them? right now they are in netting and I am sure this will not protect them. Also will the pupa stick somewhere again? since I have to transfer them to the containers in couple of weeks. When do you actually decide to put them in the shed for winter?

Also do you buy your eggs or caterpillars anywhere? or just try to attract them? I am trying to think for the next year.

P.S. I got another 2 babies caterpillars!


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RE: Black swallowtail Caterpillars

Hot Dog!! 43 is a lot of pupae:-D I just released about 9 out an original 15 to pupate in the garden along c a little prayer and some hope that some make it to Spring.
It is better and easier to attract butterflies to your garden and collect the eggs and raise the cats.
You can move the pupae by GENTLY detaching the button at the tail and silk girdle around its middle. They will not reattach, but if you keep them near a stick or piece of wood they can climb up and stretch their wings when they eclose in the Spring. I just let mine loose in the garden at their mid 5th instar and let them do their thing.


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RE: Black swallowtail Caterpillars

Kvothe,
I think you're more worried about this than you need to be. Chrysalises do not put out a smell that tell mice dinner is ready. Mice just eat them if they come happen to find the chrysalis. Any container that does not give mice easy entry would be fine. Plastic critter keepers will work.

If the high temps for the week are topping out around 11 degrees Celsius, it is time to put them outside for the winter.

Most of the people here live in the US. We are not up to speed on the Lepidoptera market in France. Also, black swallowtails are common in gardens so I see no need for purchasing some.


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RE: Black swallowtail Caterpillars

Thanks John! I saw only one BST in my yard this season, and I stood and watched her lay the eggs. So, I was able to collect them right away after she laid them. I sent about 20 of the small cats down the street with a neighbor who enjoys raising them. So, it was my 43+ her 20= 63 potential BST adults.

Kvothe, I either use my butterfly rearing tents or else cheap Sterilite containers from Walmart to overwinter the chrysalides in.

Here is an example of my Sterilite containers:
http://www.plumbersurplus.com/images/prod/5/Sterilite-18920606-rw-162587-373825.jpg


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RE: Black swallowtail Caterpillars

Thank you guys so much!
I am worried because it's my first time, also because I just moved in a new apartment where I do have a private garden and a shed, but I don't know if there are any vermin. As for the BST I have never laid my eyes on them in live, only saw them on google. I was staying few months with my MIL and she lives in country side and has a huge garden, so she gave me a little part to do my vegetable garden. Since I am crazy about herbs (I gome from Republic of Georgia, where we cook with tons of herbs) I planted all sorts and few weeks ago when I went to clean up my garden I found those. Neighbour told me they made white butterflies, but after googling I found out what they were. As a kid in Georgia I used to have silkworms and since then I always wanted to breed butterflies, never really got to it since we have been moving all around Europe. I just got lucky and I want to carry on.
I was planning to get some butterfly kits and nets online, but when I saw their prices I made the netting myself as I am sure many of you do.
Now when I picked my Dill and Parsley there seemed to be another egg and it's hatched now, I am going to visit my MIL and check my plants if I find some more.
Thanks everyone for helping and sorry to be a pain.
BTW I am having problems uploading photos directly from my PC, gonna figure that out so I can share some photos too,

Another question, container does nod need to have air holes?


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RE: Black swallowtail Caterpillars

Yes, the container should have air holes. You are asking all the right questions. Your precious butterflies will be just fine. It is nerve racking the first time you raise them. And the overwintering part is probably even more nerve racking. I always decided they would be better off out in the garden or forest. I fact, the one time I carefully arranged some sticks with chrysalises on them on the window sill of our back porch, my husband decided to clean the porch for the first time since we've lived here, and he threw them outside. I was able to rescue them, but now they are in a pile of wood outside.

Martha


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RE: Black swallowtail Caterpillars

Martha thank you very much for understanding! I am glad you rescued them


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