Pieris caterpillars

galeogirl

Arachnoprince
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Today my daughter and I found some type of Pieris caterpillars on the mustard spinach plants outside. We gathered them into her bug jar with some crucifer leaves. We're hoping to get them through the pupa stage and I'm personally hoping that they're native whites instead of european cabbage whites, but that remains to be seen upon hatching since I don't know my butterflies well enough to tell one from the other at the larval stage.
 

luna

Arachnoknight
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caterpillar field guide

The Petterson First Field Guide series has one for caterpillars. It is written by Amy Bartlett Wright. It is really good. My copy is old but was only $4.95 when I purchased it. With a curious daughter, I would definitely recommend picking it up.

Cheri
 

galeogirl

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You know, I saw that a few weeks ago at the library and almost picked it up but I already had an armful of books. I'll see if it's in when I return books this week.
 

galeogirl

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Well, we're now the proud owners of 12 adult cabbage whites. They hatched while we were out today.

Any advice for a first-time butterfly keeper?
 

luna

Arachnoknight
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A home for butterflies

Wow, that is really exciting! I usually release as soon as possible because unless you have a large cage they beat themselves up pretty quickly but for the sake of letting the little one have some fun learning time you can make an easy home for them with two large embroidery hoops and some netting. It’s much cheaper to make your own than to purchase anything from someplace like insect lore or the biological supply companies. Plus you can get the stuff at any fabric store.

My husband has my camera today so I cannot take a picture right now but I think you are pretty crafty.

Materials:
• two of the biggest embroidery hoops you can get
• netting similar to what is used for bridal veils or shower favors ~ I think it comes in 36 or 48” width. I would get about 2 yards… it’s inexpensive and the more you get the longer the tube you will make.
• 2 rubber bands, string or ribbon


1. The short ends of the fabric gets glued around the hoops. The fabric is going to be glued around the outside of the inside hoop (sounds confusing but if you’ve used a hoop you know what I mean) You are going to slide the outside hoop back on too.. the glue just makes it more secure. You need to leave enough excess on each end so that you can gather it together and tie it – you want to create a closed tube before we finish.

2. Back to that gluing…when you are doing that gluing around the hoop, you will want to overlap the fabric at least 6 – 8” (even more if you have enough fabric).

3. Repeat the gluing fabric on the second hoop for the other end.

4. To close the tube, I use some type of rubber band, usually a covered hair-band. You could also just tie it with a string.

5. When you are done you will have a fabric tube that has an opening you can slide your hand in (and the butterflies through) but they will have a very hard time figuring out.

6. Tie a ribbon around one of the ends and it is light weight enough to hang up.

7. I put a paper plate in the bottom for something solid to catch waste (I usually let them pupate in here), to hold light weight sticks, and a food dish.

8. You can mix sugar water for them but they don’t always accept it. I find a piece a ripe fruit works just as well or better. Something juicy like watermelon is good for many hungry butterflies in captivity.


I will take a picture of the one I still have tonight but it won’t be until after 7. I have made lots of cages this way … you guys can turn it into a fun craft project and even make it pretty.

Cheri
 

galeogirl

Arachnoprince
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I'll have to see if they like organic plums when I get home.

I'm trying to talk her into letting them go after a day or two (they're in the biggest kritter keeper I could find with plastic plants to rest on) but she's doing that four year old "but I love them" thing and that's hard to counter in any way that isn't going to break her little heart.

I embroider so I'm sure I have some spare hoops. No netting, but I could add a third hoop to the middle of an old nylon stocking to stretch it out.
 

luna

Arachnoknight
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That will get you some more space... plus give you a good idea of how the cage works so that the next time... you know she will be raising caterpillars again... you can be prepared with a bigger home.

They are invasive aliens... since she loves them... they will only live for a little over a week at the most anyway. Just let her keep them until they need to go and "make more babies".

Does she know the boys from the girls? If I remember correctly, boys have one black spot on each forewing and girls have two. Its been so long since I was totally into butterflies but that is rattling around in my brain.
 

luna

Arachnoknight
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Don't peel the plums... just poke holes in it. That should be enough.

If you are going to do the sugar water later I forgot to mention how to deal with that!

We use to use those plastic scrubbers that looked like round brillo pads... put it in a shallow dish. Don't fill it up; you don't want the butterfly to get sticky feet! You want the butterfly to be able to land on the plastic and stick its proboscis through the spaces to reach the sugary water.

To mix the sugar water, the recipe is more dilute than for humming birds. You can use regular white granulated sugar at an 8 to 1 ratio. It is recommended that you boil the water like you do for hummingbirds to kill the bacteria but... Let it cool before you give to the butterflies. You can make a lot at one time and store it in the refrigerator
 
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luna

Arachnoknight
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Nov 5, 2005
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my home made butterfly enclosure

Here is my entire butterfly enclosure.


This is the bottom.


The side with my hand going through the overlap opening.


Just the top


An as usual, if I get out something invert related, Ziggy goes where he does not belong. He knows I should have butterflies if this thing if it is out. I'm just teasing him taking pictures of an empty enclosure.


Hope your cabbage whites are eating,

Cheri
 
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