Feeding Moth Larvae?

EAD063

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I am from New England, and this time every year we have infestations of Gypsy Moth larvae, Lymantria dispar. They run everything, and the nests are about 40 per 8 foot tree and each nest probaly yields 500-1000 young, they also make they're way into your cars, houses etc... they're a problem.

I was wondering if they can be put to some use and be fed? It's about the only thing I can figure out do to with them. For some reason I seem to recall being told they were toxic, the young 'pillars at least.

But if I can feed them, a few peices of leaf on the ground should keep them accessible to all of my scorpions. It would't be nice to feed them because I can take a nest down each time, feed and freeze the rest, they are terrible and I counted a few hundred without even walking around my few acre property.
 

bugmankeith

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I dont see many animals eating them because of the irratating hairs, and alot are infected with parasitic maggots inside, not something youd want to feed to your pet!
 
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EAD063

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Well I've read other insects such as beetles and wasps eat them.. also some mice and shrews, I agree the hairs seem they would be irritatiing but I could only imagine them affecting soft tissued animals that don't completely pull they're prey items apart...altthough I've also head birds eat them. :?
 

Mat

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I dont see many animals eating them because of the irratating hairs, and alot are infected with parasitic maggots inside, not something youd want to feed to your pet!
The parasitic maggots are almost certainly the larvae of either fly or ichneumon wasp parasites of the Gypsy Moth. They usually get ingested as eggs or are laid directly onto the host by the adult female.

Most of them are pretty specific to the Gypsy Moth - there is absolutely no (as in none at all) chance of them somehow infecting whatever you feed the caterpillars to. They will just get munched up same as the caterpillar host.

Matt
 

EAD063

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The parasitic maggots are almost certainly the larvae of either fly or ichneumon wasp parasites of the Gypsy Moth. They usually get ingested as eggs or are laid directly onto the host by the adult female.

Most of them are pretty specific to the Gypsy Moth - there is absolutely no (as in none at all) chance of them somehow infecting whatever you feed the caterpillars to. They will just get munched up same as the caterpillar host.

Matt
So you think feeding this guys isn't so bad of idea Mat? As I said before the hairs I don't think are a big deal for insects since there are few if any insects which don't liquify they're food..... but I have that old memory of being told they were toxic... but if other animals eat them, I think it should be fine.

I'm just a bit hesitant because of how slow scorpions/insects in general metabolize.... any ill effects would take longer to notice as opposed to a warm blooded creature or a repltile. I thikn I may try it though. BTW are these native over there Mat? I know they were introduced here by some french jerk in Massachusetts in the late 1800s, now they are a terrible problem.... 5 nests will leave a 5 foot tree completely bare in a month, the tree then dies the next season.
 

Mat

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I'm not a scorp or spider expert, so I will leave the advice on wether to feed these Gypsy Moth larvae to your collection to more knowledgeable people - it was really just a comment relating to the parasites I was making. The hairs on the larvae are certainly irritating to humans in some cases, hence the public health issues that go with large outbreaks, so handling them may not be ideal. I would assume that inverts would be able to deal with them. Most predatory inverts usually seem to have a built in mechanism for telling if prey is 'good' or 'bad', if it is not right then prey gets dropped pretty quickly.

We did used have a native population, possible a destinct subspecies, here in the UK but they disappeared from their eastern England localities about 100 years ago, possibly as a result of changes in the farming of the areas they used to be found in. We do get immigrants from Europe turning up occasionally, usually males, along the coasts of southern England some years. The last known occurance of breeding occured in the mid-1990 in London when it seems some larvae were imported on tree foliage and produced offspring. These were eradicated by the public health authorites so we currently don't have them, though we do find the odd uncommon parasitic fly in the UK whos only known host is the Gypsy Moth.

For those of you interested in parasitic flies, have a look at http://tachinidae.org.uk

Regards

Matt


So you think feeding this guys isn't so bad of idea Mat? As I said before the hairs I don't think are a big deal for insects since there are few if any insects which don't liquify they're food..... but I have that old memory of being told they were toxic... but if other animals eat them, I think it should be fine.

I'm just a bit hesitant because of how slow scorpions/insects in general metabolize.... any ill effects would take longer to notice as opposed to a warm blooded creature or a repltile. I thikn I may try it though. BTW are these native over there Mat? I know they were introduced here by some french jerk in Massachusetts in the late 1800s, now they are a terrible problem.... 5 nests will leave a 5 foot tree completely bare in a month, the tree then dies the next season.
 

Louise E. Rothstein

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Feeding Moth Larvae

Dear Moth Finders:

The Frenchman who imported gypsy moths was trying to cross them with silkworms...which did not work.
However,their "unusable" silk might very well "work" in handicraft items...if anybody can gather empty
(have holes in them) cocoons I want to barter for them.

"Wild" silks are tinted silks.
They are not white silk.
And they are not as soft...but they make lovely craft items.

Please let me know if you can assemble some.

Yours very truly,
Louise Esther Rothstein.
 

bugmankeith

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The silk is yellow from tent caterpillars.

I have actually raised gypsy moths before, they are easy to raise as long as you have enough food.
 
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