Hornworm moth care

Tleilaxu

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Ok I purchased several cups of hornworms and some are ready to pupate, I gave them soil to burrow in so everything is covered. My question is how do you care for the moths? Will they take an artificial diet? How soon will they lay eggs?

Here are some cool pics of the larva stage.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v322/Tleilaxu/000_2731.jpg
 
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JungleGuts

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mulberryfarms.com has info in their FAQ section. They also sell chow for em:)

just curious why do you want to keep the moths are care for them? Id feed the hornworm to one of my T's if i was you, lol
 

Tleilaxu

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The species is Maduca sexta And mulberry farms is out of chow for hornworms...
 

bugmankeith

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I currently have raised them (manduca sexta AKA Tobacco Hornworm)and am getting adults hatching.

After the larvae turn to brown pupae I CAREFULLY dug them up and put them on the floor of a large cage with screening so when they hatch they can crawl up and expand their wings. I misted the cage gently with water once a day, the extra moisture ensures the adults can properly emerge from the pupal case.

In case you were wondering, when the larvae burrow to pupate they make individual "cells", and in a clear, plastic tank you can see the pupa underground as long as the tank isnt massive in size. Usually is takes a little over a week to pupate if it's warm. At the top of the soil youll see the holes where they started to dig down, if you want to dig the pupae up dig near these holes and at the bottom of the cage you should find the pupae. I scoop out half the soil first then carefully start feeling for the pupal chambers, it's like dried out mud.


I feed the adults sugar water twice a day (12 noon, 10 PM) , about 5 minutes per feeding.

Trouble is in captivity they usually dont try to fly, so if they dont fly they wont hover to take food from flowers like in the wild unless you have a greenhouse for them to live in then they will probably try to fly.

So I mix sugar water in a small cup, gently place the moth on the cup's edge (not in the water!), and gently uncoil the probascis with a toothpick and direct it in the sugar water. (the moth may jump off when you do this, but eventually you will be able to get it) Once the probascis is in the water you will usually see the probascis uncoil and get really long and at the end it looks like a snake's tongue. Then the moths heads will move up and down, like it's slurping, thats how you know it's eating.

After 2 days they seem to start mating. And if the adults eat, the resulting eggs with be alot healthier than if the adults never eat at all.

I never raised eggs to larvae, I assume just keep them warm and have plenty of food ready!

If you want a pic of my setup just ask and i'll post.
 

Tleilaxu

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Ah just the man I was looking for. Yes post the pics! The adults will not eat on their own?
 

bugmankeith

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Here's a picture of my cage my grandfather built for me, you can see the live moths and pupae inside. It's been stained by all the waste excreted by the moths when they emerged but it wipes away with water.


And here's a video of me feeding a moth. Before doing the video this guy emerged from the cocoon 2 hours prior, so he wasnt that hungry yet and his probascis didnt uncurl fully, but even half uncurled they will drink the sugar water.


If you have any more questions send me a PM.
 

buglady

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I have raised hornworms before. You can feed the moths hummingbird nectar in a hummingbird feeder. The moths are fairly large having a wingspan of 4 inch's and they have a long proboscis so they need to hover over the feeder in order to feed. they will need a very large box or such cause they do fly. the hatchlings have to be fed alot or they will canabilize each other.you will have to feed the young commercial diet because feeding them on a wild diet will render them piosonous. you can order hornworm chow at mulberryfarms.com. they are cool moths to watch,they kind of sound like hummingbirds when they fly.

good luck
buglady
 

bugmankeith

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But if he cant get a big enough cage for them to fly around they need to be hand fed or fed like a previous poster showed with that sponge or whatever it was.

I agree though they will also drink hummingbird nectar.

If you arent going to feed the hornworms to anything and are raising them just for fun, they will eat tomato and bell pepper leaves, and raw, ripe tomatoes aswell as ripe green bell pepper. I've fed mine petunia leaves too.

Artificial diet works but fresh leaves are always better.
 
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jmhendric

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Rob at http://www.tkodragons.com/ sells hornworms and chow and cheaper than anyone else that I am aware of. He has a web page for his feeder sales
but I can't seem to find it. Just drop him an e-mail and he will be glad to help u with any questions you may have.
 

Tleilaxu

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Would a 24"x24"x24" enclosure be big enough for these guys?
 

Tleilaxu

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Ok I dug up my hornworm pupa things and was shocked to find after a week and a half for the oldest pupa that they had not even turned into moth looking things, they are just dull olive green harnworms, they move like pupa when touched but other than that are basically inactive horenworm,s and some one please answer the above question as well.

Edit here are the pics I took, the second pic I posed the hornworm so you can see the head, I have them all buried in a larger enclosure.
 
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Steven Gielis

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They are not yet pupated. Give it some time.
24x24x24 is fine but they won't fly that much in it. And they are certainly not able to eat in there. So you will have to feed them by hand.
 

Tleilaxu

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Oh the Irony...

Funny how I post about them not turing into pupas and the VERY next day...
 
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bugmankeith

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Funny how I post about them not turing into pupas and the VERY next day...

So now you know how long they take. :)

Good Luck with them I had fun raising mine my last one hatched 2 days ago.
 

Tleilaxu

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An update on my hornworms, All the large worms pupated with only three losses, not bad IMO, and ways I bought their cage which is a 24x24x24 and this should be MORE than adequite for them as these pics will prove. I am really proud of this cage already LOL one of the best purchases I have made in a long time!

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v322/Tleilaxu/Bugz/000_2956.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v322/Tleilaxu/Bugz/000_2961.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v322/Tleilaxu/Bugz/000_2957.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v322/Tleilaxu/Bugz/000_2958.jpg
 

bugmankeith

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Nice! Looks like your pupa are very healthy, it'll be fun once they all start hatching.
 

Tleilaxu

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http://www.mulberryfarms.com/monarch.htm

Scroll down and you will see it near the bottom. I LOVE it, its big enough for them to hover and I can mount a humming bird feeder for them!

I got the "Jumbo Castle" That is the only one that is worth buying IMO.
 
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