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Moth cocoon where do I keep it

Posted by jonijumpup z5, GR MI (My Page) on
Thu, Dec 12, 13 at 17:14

I picked this cocoon up in the yard a couple of weeks ago. It is 2 inches long. Should I keep it outdoors for the winter, or maybe in my unheated 8x10 garden barn, or in my attached garage, where the temps range normally in the 40s, but can get pretty warm when the weather is nice. I did not realize large moths were common here and do not know how they like to spend the winter.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Moth cocoon where do I keep it

That is incredible! You can keep it in the garage. I think I raised one that way once--bet there is someone else here who knows if they would need some kind of humidity. They'll probably know the kind of moth too!

In my garage there is always a lot of coming and going with snow getting stomped on the ground or from the cars and the resultant humidity. Another option is to keep it outside somewhere where you can observe it so that it experiences natural conditions. You could add another layer of leaves on it to approximate how you found it.

How did you find it by the way?

Can I have permission to use your picture--I have been on a mission here trying to let people know about keeping their leaves, and this is one of the exact reasons why! E-mail me your name so that you can get credit if it's ok. It would only be used for educational purposes or be used for a short blurb on the blog I started to keep for our local Wild Ones chapter.

People rake their leaves into the streets, and have been throwing next year's butterflies and moths into the compost (they compost the leaves).

Is that an oak leaf too? Hard to tell from the angle.

Thanks for sharing!

Here is a link that might be useful: What's in your leaf pile

RE: Moth cocoon where do I keep it

Just re-read your post; I'd probably keep it in the barn. The concern would be humidity, but if there is snow being tromped in and melting, I would think you'd be okay.

Hope someone with more experience will chime in.

RE: Moth cocoon where do I keep it

I agree with bernergrrl - keep it in the unheated barn. I used to raise lots of silkworm moths when I was young, and it's generally best to keep them in as close to natural outdoor conditions as possible. I would guess that you have a Luna moth cocoon there - could be a Polyphemus, but they generally stay attached to the tree, while the Lunas end up in the leaves on the ground. Hope you post pictures when it emerges in the spring!

RE: Moth cocoon where do I keep it

What is your goal with the moth--study, release?

The humidity should be fine in an outbuilding like that. The cocoons are best stored in a cardboard box with some screen on top and some nearly vertical sticks inside the box, and checked at least weekly.

Just placing it uncontained in the shed, it could emerge and disappear into a cranny, not to be found until long dead. In a garage it is more likely to be observed often.

This post was edited by larry_gene on Fri, Dec 13, 13 at 23:33

RE: Moth cocoon where do I keep it


Very good advice. I had a couple of butterfly chrysalis that emerged in late fall. In the garage, I did keep an eye on them and was able release them. At least they got to spend some time flying before it got too cold.

I'm keeping my Luna moth cocoons in the garage. Further advice that I can give is just be careful to make sure your container that you store them in is mouse proof.


Here is a link that might be useful: Photos of my Luna moths

RE: Moth cocoon where do I keep it

Larry, how do you get pictures like that? Are the moths easy to handle or what. Jack

RE: Moth cocoon where do I keep it

Perhaps Mona/runmede, who posted the link to her photos, will answer.

RE: Moth cocoon where do I keep it

These are captive reared. Photos are easy to take just prior to them finally drying their wing. They are less active at this stage.

RE: Moth cocoon where do I keep it

more than likely a polyphemus, maybe a luna. I raise moths and keep them in the garage. I bring the cocoons inside at the beginning of April to watch them hatch ( usually a couple of weeks after I bring them inside ).Works great ! Good luck. you will love the experience!

RE: Moth cocoon where do I keep it

thanks for your comments. I will plan to do the same. I set up a nice box with a screen over top. will the moth need a lot of space to dry out or is it okay to leave some branches etc in the box with it.

RE: Moth cocoon where do I keep it

There are many, many people who love to watch butterflies as they flit through the air slowly and gracefully. If you never have, you certainly should! Butterflies provide beauty in an often ugly world. They give us insight into the world of nature and how wonderful and complex it is. But the butterfly is much more than that.
Butterflies are some of the most beautiful and interesting creatures on Earth. A butterfly garden is an easy way to see more butterflies and to help them, since many natural butterfly habitats have been lost to human activities like building homes, roads and farms. It is easy to increase the number and variety of butterflies in your yard.
Creating a butterfly garden should start with some serious research to learn which kinds of butterflies are native to your area. You can learn that from this book “Attract Butterflies To Your Garden”.
Here are some points you should focus:
A. Make a list of all of the different kinds of butterflies you would like to attract, and then learn which flowers and plants they both feed on and lay eggs on.
B. Plant the “Butterfly Host Plants” to lay their eggs on.
C. You can add some butterfly garden accessories like a Butterfly House, which has slots the ideal size for keeping birds out while giving butterflies protection from the wind and weather, and are beautiful garden decorations. You could offer an additional nectar source close by to supplement your flowers.
D. Once you have designed and started your butterfly garden, you can be proud that you have made a habitat for butterflies in your own yard, which helps with the conservation of the many species of quickly disappearing butterflies today. You will certainly want to place your favorite outdoor furniture near so that you can enjoy all of your visitors day after day.

Here is a link that might be useful: Attract Butterflies To Your Garden

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