Monarch Butterflies - newly hatched cats keep disapearing?

1Lord Of Ants1

Arachnobaron
Joined
Sep 9, 2010
Messages
312
I've never had this problem last year, nor the year before. My yard is infested with tropical milkweed, which I consider a good thing. Not only do I get lots of other necter visitors, but the monarchs use it as a year-round breeding ground. Strangely, this year I've only had THREE known caterpillars that pupated and eclosed successfully. I've observed hundreds of eggs, but it seems that the newly hatched ones just disapear. I haven't seen a cat larger than an inch for months. So if there's any butterfly experts around, why am I having such a high death rate/why am I seeing so many eggs but very little to NONE caterpillars!?
 

bugmankeith

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
2,731
I had an issue with them that the caterpillars actually left the milkweed plant and went walking in the grass! I guess to find a different milkweed plant, but if it was occupied, it found it's way back to the original milkweed and started eating. I lost many because of this. If you dont have enough plants they wander off and starve to death.

plus you have to account predators and the elements outside. Wasps kill and eat monarch larvae.
 

1Lord Of Ants1

Arachnobaron
Joined
Sep 9, 2010
Messages
312
I don't think a crawl-off would be an issue, since that's usually with the larger ones. Storms, wind, etc. is possible....but I've never really noticed it with other times. Predators, most likely. I'll take a leaf with an egg in and see if it's some kind of disease...but I have been seeing wasps around the milkweed, not to mention lots of green magnolia jumping spiders. Not sure why it's such an issue this year?
 

Terry D

Arachnodemon
Old Timer
Joined
Nov 21, 2009
Messages
733
While I'm not sure this happens in Fla., we frequently get pop explosions of the orange and black milkweed assassins. You'll almost never find caterpillars when these occur on the same plants in nos- at least here in nw La.
 

1Lord Of Ants1

Arachnobaron
Joined
Sep 9, 2010
Messages
312
Aren't those just milkweed bugs? (Which feed off milkweed seeds and seed pods? I get those sometimes and have succesfully raised them off milkweed seeds, to the untrained eye they look like assasins) Other than that...I'll grab a couple leaves with eggs and see if this is something bigger, possibly a disease. (Like O.e.?)
 
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