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  1. Also In This Issue
  3. Understanding the Fear of Butterflies and Moths
  4. 30 Quotes to Inspire a Deeper Love of Nature

Next door is a redheaded vet back from Iraq. They keep the TV at top volume. I felt worse than terrible after this, because this man had gone to war , and here I was acting like a little noise was a big issue. And his mother kept calling from somewhere behind him, Who is it? Who is that at the door? We would look up at the black night sky and find a star or two and breathe. Just breathe in the black sky together and the stars and the faraway moon. Then I wanted us to make a snow fort together, like children, and crouch in that shelter, with the night sky framed in the little round doorway, and live there forever.

Where did that horrible expression come from, anyway? So terrible it might be interesting. I have some hesitations moving in heavy, like the barges I saw hauling coal down the river before I stepped into that convention center. Do you have some issues you should put on the proverbial table? You bipolar? I get that way, and then I think, Who was that individual? Have held down my X -ray-tech job for almost seven years.

Also In This Issue

I use the question mark because I distrust all explanations. To explain is to reduce, said somebody. Maybe I could tell you the story of all the road trips in my life before we get to the disaster that wrecked me. And you could tell me yours, if you have any. Let me get this on the table. My sister never really got over it, nor did anyone in my family, so I have been an outcast for years, though they still let me come to holiday dinners since my sister is a Christian who has to forgive me, but when she sees me, she crosses her arms while saying, How are you?

Never saying my name. No biggie. Cough it up, Gina. In all the gory details. Does the whole world hate you or just your whole extended family? And what about the road trip was so terrible? Did you kill someone? Are you a husband-stealing, murdering, crazy-poet type of individual? What kind of X -ray technicians are they employing out there in Pittsburgh?

Should I call the authorities? And my grandmother and I have to watch Family Feud now. Best show ever! Meanwhile next door the vet and his mother are watching what sounds like Fox News again at top volume, it is killing me. Just kidding. To me you were a magnet of kindness. Because you did that in my dream last night. Seriously, you did. I have the flu. Serious flu.

My grandmother has the flu, too. Even the parakeets in the kitchen seem to have the flu. But please keep writing me, it is helpful in some way. I am sorry you are all sick.

Toto 'paid more than munchkins'

Thank you for writing back anyway. I love parakeets.


Please read this only when you are feeling better. I noticed that the few black students in my high school were smart enough not to go to senior week and marry a boxer. The Italian boxer really did look like Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull , so, considering that, and my youth, and some serious alcohol which used to be a real problem with me , you might understand my stupidity.

I got impatient and ordered Saints in My Past , but it still has not come to my mailbox. What is up with that? So I drove cross-country with two dogs once — my Labs — when I was twenty-two, while listening to cassette tapes by a spiritual guru who believed correctly, I think that we are all mired in illusion and the only way out of pain is to abandon our attachments to our poor, sick minds, which long ago were programmed by the evil that is separating us from truth and joy.

Stop blocking the light, people! The light wants in, people! The dogs and I slept in the car, or in fields, for ten whole days. I loved my dogs and they protected me and I felt the light seeping in. So that was a good trip. Do you spend any time thinking about whatever it is that preceded the Big Bang?

I know a girl who used to pray to the Big Bang. You still there? I hope the flu is fading? A grown man cried on my X -ray table and told me the story of his life, and that he was dying and so afraid. I may go next door and ask the vet and his mother if I can watch TV with them. Being in hospital administration is often like being in hell. Maybe you are just mired or tired or wired or fired. I am sorry for my addictive personality. The final day, Oct. At around pages, the book will contain more than 1, photos, many that have never been published before, along with a poster and other inserts, [ Young M.

A has signed a worldwide publishing agreement with Reservoir. You will be redirected back to your article in seconds. Close Menu. Variety Intelligence Platform. Variety Mobile Logo. Premier Logo Created with Sketch. If the butterfly is weak it probably has OE parasites and it might be best to euthanize. Last year was my first year raising monarchs in Washington DC. I raised them on two potted swamp milkweed plants that I brought inside the cage.

Out of about 10 caterpillars, I had five who successfully reached adulthood. This year I started with 12 under the same conditions. Three did not make it past 2nd or 3rd instar. The rest were all doing well until the two biggest ones successfully formed their chrysalides. I waited a good while to account for any molting.

One 4th instar dropped, but showed no signs of the common problems not deflated, black, or infested, etc. Tonight two others dropped to the floor of the mesh cash which has been cleaned of frass. At first the balled up in shock. But then after a while they seemed to writhe around as if in pain. I also spritzed all the plants. Bit since I have two seemingly healthy chrysalides, can you think of any other reason for these newly developed problems?

Using Cuttings to Feed Caterpillars. My husband and I have been raising monarch caterpillars here in Southern California for the past 4 years now. Though we have had great success, there have of course been times when caterpillars or monarchs have died. Each time, I have come your site — specifically this page — to figure out what the cause was, and have usually always been able to deduce the culprit. However, recently I have had two instances of caterpillar death that I am having a hard time figuring out the causes for. Perhaps you or my fellow monarch enthusiasts could help. The 1st — I had two caterpillars in my large mesh cage, both about 3 instars, and raised indoors since they were at 1 instar.

We had been in a heat wave all week, but it had finally cooled down enough on this particular day to be about in the high 80s down from So, I added some fresh milkweed leaves to the cage and placed it outside in the shade for about an hour and a half. I know that vomiting is usually a sign of tainted milkweed, but this all of my milkweed plants are those that I have grown myself from seed, and I have never used pesticides or chemicals on them. Plus, other caterpillars had eaten it several weeks earlier and were fine.

Did the caterpillars become too hot being outside? It is usually in the s here in the summertime, and have always raised a good crop of caterpillars. This morning I went looking for the chrysalises, but was shocked to find one of the cats laying dead on the walkway next to the milkweed plants. There was no sign of tachinid fly strings, vomit, punctures, or any other disturbance to the body. It appeared fully normal, except when I picked it up it felt slightly floppy and almost deflated but not shriveled.

Do you have any idea of what the cause could be for either of these? I would love to be able to avoid these results in the future. Have you ever had a caterpillar that keeps trying to eat but seems to have lost the ability to bite and chew milkweed leaves?

But then it started wandering all over the milkweed and the enclosure, stopping frequently to try biting into a leaf edge to no avail. This is the 3rd day like this. Is it possible that its mandibles have somehow been damaged or dulled? Is there any way I can make it possible for it to ingest food? Hi Maria, does it look like an old face cap is stuck from the last molt? I know someone was recently able to spray a caterpillar with a stuck face cap, then pry it off with a tweezers…not an easy task.

Otherwise, if this is not the case, not sure what else would cause this…. Tony, thanks for that suggestion. But I do not think this cat has molted since the last time I saw it eat. Is it possible that it got too much latex at some point and its mandibles stuck together? Recalling the last leaf I saw it eating, I remember that it did not first cut off the flow by chewing through the main vein near the stem of the milkweed cutting. In a desperate attempt to help it, I blended up some leaves with a little water and then soaked a wad of paper towel with the mush and put that in the container.

  • 12 Monarch Diseases, Parasites + Caterpillar Killers 🐛☠️!
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Maybe it can suck some up. I am just astounded that it can still be alive and crawling around after 5 days like this. Hello Maria, if its just growing thinner and still not eating, you could euthanize as the caterpillar is slowly starving. This caterpillar is still very much alive this morning.

It just does not get bigger or smaller and still crawls around gnawing at the edges of leaves. It actually looks completely normal. Is this typical? I have raised these little fellas from eggs found in my backyard on my A. Tuberosa in mid-August and have tried my best to follow all the tips on the website.

It appeared to injury itself from all the wriggling in the small hole at its head and soon started to drip its blood. I had to euthanize it after about half an hour of torment for me and the critter.

Happily though, three of its siblings have formed their chrysalides and there are four more looking very healthy so far. Appreciate your detailed website, it has been very helpful. Just a comment about spritzing with water. I always thought, just like many vegetarian animals, they get their liquid in their food. Hi Ann, one of the best times to see caterpillars in your garden is after it rains because the caterpillars come to the leave tops to drink water.

If you ever spritz leaves with water, you will often see the caterpillars move their heads as they drink the water. Then he moved a short distance away before beginning what appears to be the groundwork for a second button! I left him alone for several hours, and when I came back, he was hanging in his J—from a few strands of silk in between his two partial buttons! He was just fine yesterday, if possibly a bit lethargic—but not to the point that would suggest anything out of the ordinary.

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Fifth instars can be quite stubborn, after all, when it comes to having to move when they would rather not…. Hi Kitt, nor sure what the issue could have been…hopefully your caterpillar was able to make the transformation! Thus far all seem healthy and are eating greedily, growing like crazy. It took so much longer in the spring! I took a fine pencil point and moved the tussock away from the monarch cat, so as to not harm the monarch, but squooshing the tussock. My question: do they hurt one another? The cat is now in the screened cage on our screened porch, along with the others, and is eating and growing.

Do I need to worry about it? The info about all the hazards possible to monarchs reads like a horror story. Thanks for all the great advice. Sincerely, Pam Selbert. My first monarch chrysalis is deformed as it was formed at the bottom of the case where it was slightly wet and now is flattened and 2 days later it started smelling badly. What am I to do? Hi Mohit, if the chrysalis has a foul smell, this means it turned dark correct? The butterfly did not survive, so I would discard and disinfect your cage…good luck!

Hi Tony This is my attempt to raise monarch. I brought in 2 large cats and 3 very small ones. Today I had 2 crysalis one turned black but did emerged a big beautiful, and look like healthy butterfly. They are all together in a big plastic bottle covered with plastic screen. I put some cotton balls dipped in honey and soaked in water. Also I cut a cone flower and Joe pie weed flower spritzed with water. It will be 66 tomorrow but temps drop at night. Should I still release the monarch? Is it sick from black crysalis? Please help. With regards to the anal prolapse, I know that a disease called flacherie in silkworms often yields anal prolapses as a result.

Flacherie is a disease caused by bacteria of multiple identities including Bacillus, Streptococcus, and Pseudomonas; viruses; and a combination of both. I believe that these infections are responsible for the anal prolapses. I hope this information was of interest to you. I just had 5 cats all die yesterday and they seemed to have been poisoned as they were vomiting and laying on their sides.

I euthanized them all. It was so sad my 5yr old is devastated. They were all doing fabulous and then the next morning all dying. My dad brought some milkweed cuttings he got from a plant growing on the side of the road- maybe it had something on it??! Thanks for your tips, they have been invaluable! I just started raising cats a few weeks ago and two have advanced to the pupal stage. One which I had quarantined because I brought it in on its fourth instar pupated last night. The chrysalis looks good, but the old skin did not fall off completely, looks like it may have been impaled by the cremaster.

Do I need to worry about this? Should I try manually removing it? Thanks for your advice! Hi Laura, if the chrysalis is fully formed and the skin is just stuck at the top, it should be ok…. After dealing with several of the issues mentioned in the article I made a decision to bring in eggs only, no caterpillars. Just following that rule has virtually eliminated disease and parasites.

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Me, either! But I have a low success rate when I do that. I live in coastal southern California so perhaps there are more nasties lurking outside because of our continous growing season. No frost here! Any seeds or bulbs that need cold have to live in my refrigerator for the fall and winter or I have to get established plants from a nursery. I toss the plants at the end of the season. I do try to grow semi-native i. You say to only bring in eggs.

I have been bringing in cats in various stages when I find them. I have only had one die that I am not sure whether or not it was injured. I live in PA. Should I not bring in the cats? I thought I was saving them from birds and other predators. I saw a praying mantis eating a moth on one of my butterfly weed plants.

Good luck. Hi Pam, we bring in lots of caterpillars over the season…just letting people know that there are more potential problems when you start with caterpillars compared to monarch eggs. I had no idea that they were Tachinid larvae until I read your post. Thank you so much for all of your invaluable advice!

It threw up green liquid. I put it in a separate container and it seems ok. Is it sick or just mad at me? Hi Vicky, sometimes they will spit out green fluid if they are stressed or squeezed to hard. If it stops right after, probably not a serious issue. I live in Florida and raise them year-round, so it is an ongoing issue. Any suggestions? In an unrelated question, my last batch of monarchs emerged with the normal patterns but were a brown color, not the normal orange.

Ever seen that before?

Understanding the Fear of Butterflies and Moths

Hi Tony, thanks for all the very detailed and specific information on Monarch diseases and parasites — much appreciated. I have opted for the one sharp quick final death smoosh under a flat rock in the garden, and the whole thing is over in a quarter of a second after profusely apologizing to the poor little guy beforehand. My neighbor puts her malformed-and-will-never-make-it butterflies in the freezer, but the cold, dark, slowly numbing approach seems needlessly long and agonizing.

Any suggestions on the best way to perform this horrible, but occasionally necessary humane mercy killing of a failed butterfly? I had this same question for Tony regarding what is the best way. If it was a dog, we would go to the vet. This part of the raising monarchs certainly teaches us about the life cycle. Thanks for listening. I might do the freezer thing. Put them back in the garden? Hi Debbie, if they are diseased, I would not place them back in the garden.

You can always put the monarch in a plastic baggie in your freezer and then discard after 24 hours. Hi, I am in Monroe Township, N. We had healthy appearing caterpillars about 2 weeks ago. They were all present on one day and gone days later. There were 2 blackened, desiccated, cat remains on their respective leaves, and no signs of the others. Could these bugs have done that damage, are the desiccated remains what one might expect from their action? Is there another possible explanation? Hi Mitchell, there are many predators that patrol milkweed…wasps are an issue in many regions:.

This is my second year raising Monarchs. It seems like sometimes my chrysalides have shells that are too thin and break too easily. Can you think of any possible cause of this? Hi Daniel, sorry to hear about these problems. Chrysalides can also be deformed from OE, or at least show dark spots. If you are in Southern California, heavy OE infection is a common problem. Milkweed should be rinsed thoroughly before feeding caterpillars, habitats cleaned regularly, and some even use bleach to disinfect eggs:.

Info on using bleach for disinfecting monarch eggs. Like others, this is my first experience trying to raise monarchs. Next to them is the caterpillar mesh cage with about 15 caterpillars munching away inside. Most are third instar; one is a first and he has his own space away from the larger ones.

I learned that cats seem to prefer shade to attach their chrysalis, so I put a cloth on the top of one side of the mesh cage which is proving popular for pupating. Unfortunately, we had a strong gust of wind through the patio which caused a milkweed crash, crushing one of the cats. Now I have a brick placed inside the cage on each side, weighing the cage down in place. Things were getting back to normal I thought until a couple of the larger cats went into the J. We had a heat wave here in coastal California 90s at the same time as they were getting ready to pupate.

They were large, bright, healthy looking cats, but they only formed a partial chrysalis each. A dark liquid fell from one. I took everyone out and cleaned the cage just in case. The milkweed is pesticide-free. The cats looked and behaved healthy before their chrysalis attempt. Can heat cause a pupating cat to die? Hi Colleen, dying mid-pupation is a common symptom of growth regulators pesticides in plants. They can also die before pupating if they have tachinid fly parasites. If they are in a mesh cage and not getting too much direct sunlight, 90 degree temps are not the issue.

Hope you can figure out the issue…. I could have written the comment above. We had the same unusually hot weather the last few days, but the habitat was shaded. With a mesh cage in the shade, heat should not be a problem. Sorry and I hope you can figure out the issue…. I fond your site extremely helpful!

I have a question… I have an outdoor mesh covered cage consisting of two pots of milkweed. It is not yet hanging in the J formation but it appears to be sleeping. It was facing head up on the side of the cage but near the very top. I moved him to a new mesh cage hoping that he would form a chrysalis in the new cage. When I moved him I realized that he is still sleeping and has since curled up in a ball formation on the bottom of the new cage.

Will he wake up and eventually form the chrysalis at the top of the cage? Should I have left him alone? I just would like some advice on what to do next time. Otherwise, it should not be an issue. At this point, all you can do is leave the caterpillar on the cage floor and see what it does. It had liquid on it, not really all too green though, kinda was more of a murky clear for the most part with dark bits in parts. Curious what this could be, and if it would likely have affected the other nine that I have. Thanks in advance for your help. Whenever you start with caterpillars, you can never be sure what they were exposed to before you brought them in.

Whenever there are problems, just separate and monitor. I collected a total of 12 caterpillars and only 5 have survived and formed a chrysalis. Last night, one emerged and looked healthy. The meconium, however was green. Today, another emerged and again, the meconium is not normal. There were caterpillars who were in guess sick because I kept seeing green spots on the paper towel so I separated them all.

One did have a fly larvae come out. So this batch has had a couple issues. Are the butterflies ok to release? They could be heavily infected with OE parasites. Otherwise, mosquito spraying can also cause problem cause serious problems, and has for many this season…. This is my 2nd year to raise monarchs inside. Now, some of the crysalis are turning black and I see some larva. I removed the black ones but I see a web forming between the other crysalis. I love your side. It is very informative. I already been protecting the Gulf Fritillary in my front yard, that only eats my Passion Fruit, But these Butterflies lay eggs like crazy, and I have tons of Passion fruit that wants to take over my yard.

I also planted plenty of Parsley for the Swallowtail. Then I heard about the Monarch Butterfly. I was touched by the fact, that these beautiful creatures, who only eat Milkweed are about to go extinct. I purchase 3 Milkweed plants I have no clue what kind.

30 Quotes to Inspire a Deeper Love of Nature

I should had purchase more! I had 3 Monarch Butterflies lay eggs like crazy. Our back yard has a very active wildlife, tons of lizards and birds, armadillos and opossums. I had big Swallowtail caterpillars on my parsley, and the next day I checked and they where all gone. Thats when I started to collect them and raise them. Now I had 90! Monarch eggs and small caterpillars.

When they are small I keep them in plastic containers, with netting material over the top. When they are big enough I transfer them to the Mesh hampers. I clean them out once a day, and replace the Milkweed. I added Pumpkin, because I am running short on Milkweed. I am growing more Milkweed on the side from seedlings I found in my yard, and also from Milkweed twigs. I did not know they start to root, when left in water. I noticed that a few caterpillars still prefer the Milkweed. But it takes some time to grow. But most of the caterpillars love the Pumpkin too.

So far 62 turn into beautiful green chrysalises, 10 still hanging in the j position. The rest still munching. So far I lost at least Including 4 chrysalis turning black. The Caterpillars just died deflated or turning black and died. I removed the black Chrysalis and of course the dead caterpillars. One chrysalis I could not remove totally without leaving some stuff from the Chrysalis, because other Chrysalis where hanging too close to the sick one. Now I see that some new caterpillars crawled around the area where the sick chrysalis was.

I was wondering, if they can get sick from the residue left from the sick chrysalis. Do you have any idea? Hi Adiema, bacteria and viruses can be spread to other monarchs. Caterpillar Cage Cleaning. I had one successful caterpillar to butterfly earlier this year. Any suggestions for next season on how to prevent this, and what is the best type of container to use to raise them indoors? Hi Carol, sorry you are dealing with those flies…I know how frustrating that can be! The best way to avoid them is by bringing in eggs or very small instar caterpillars.

I prefer raising them in side opening mesh cages and we just started offering them this season. My monarch butterflies are dying a few days after coming out of chrysalis. None of them have crippled wings or any visible problems. They have gaterade, oranges, and nectar water for food. I have sterilized the cage I have them in with bleach water but still have some dying.

Is there anything that would be causing this? This is the first year I have had this problem. Hi Treva, sorry this is happening. It seems odd that they appear completely normal and then die. I am aware that keeping cats and emerging adults separate is a must to avoid OE spore cross contamination, but will the remainder of the pupa hatching a few days later from the first have increased risk of OE infection from the newly emerged adults?

Hi Hannah, OE spores are ingested by caterpillars…nothing to worry about with your chrysalides. Hi Paul, sorry to hear this. I have been getting tons of monarch cats for 6 months now in sunny San Diego and as far as I can tell only one has formed a chrysalis and survived. The cats grow up into adults and seem to die when they are almost ready to form a chrysalis. Instead they venture away from the milkweed and find a place to rest until about hours later when I find them dying in the u-shape hanging from their middle legs, looking liquefied on the inside.

They never turn to liquid completely tho as far as I can see. We have sun all day long and no overcrowding. But they all make it to big plump beautiful monarch caterpillars before this sad death occurs. Same milkweed we have had for the entire 6 months. So many dead caterpillars. What do I do? Hi Kelly, it sounds like you are dealing with NPV…a monarch virus. Gardening with hydrogen Peroxide. Here is a sad picture of what happens to them. That looks similar to what has been happening to mine.

I may lose the rest of mine. Only 3 left from 12 starting. So sad!!! I better switch out my milkweed. Same thing has happened to mine. So sad…… Raise them from eggs and then this devastating result. All I know is that my success rate is in the 90th percentile…. So as hard as it is to lose a few, the end result is good. This has turned into such a great hobby.

Hi Tony, I live in Ohio and ordered some tropical milkweed plants. Last week we found 3 caterpillars. Our very first caterpillar made a beautiful chrysalis. It is now all black. Should I get rid of it? Can I still root cuttings from the plants? You have a lovely site. Thank you for your hard work and enthusiam! De Anna. Hi De Anna, sorry about the chrysalis. If it turned black prematurely it could have a disease or be parasitized by tachinid flies. I hope your other caterpillars make it…good luck!

I live on the west coast of Florida and have my milkweed plants outside. I have had a lot of Monarchs outside during this spring into summer and currently the eggs on my plants do not hatch. With the weather here several Monarchs are still around and lay eggs. Now the leaves are beginning to turn yellow on most plants and are dropping off which have had many eggs in the past months.

I am not sure of what to do to keep these guys going. I am rather new at this! Milkweed Diseases and Fungus. Been living in Minnesota and raising wild Monarchs through their different stages for about eight to nine years now. Before finding this delightful and insightful webpage I thought I was one of just a few who raised Monarchs I honestly had no idea of just how many people out there raised Monarchs.

I started raising them when I moved down to Minnesota because I found the little guys in all their stages quite delightful to watch I even bought a book about butterflies from my local book store. I have always had issues with parasites but never severe enough to act upon until today. In the past the good majority of my Monarchs have gone from eggs all the way into butterflies with no issues. Honestly I had no idea that Monarch parasites existed until today really. Anyways this wild Monarch Caterpillar ate plenty of the unwashed Milkweed I left it the Monarch Caterpillar seemed healthy enough.

It shed a few times, grew fat and plump, grew a nice size, then climbed up the bucket I kept it in and cacooned all the way up. A good few days in I could see the Monarch Butterfly taking shape inside the cacoon and got all exited because I thought it was ready to come out.

When checking on the cacoon I found four ugly yellow things sqiggling around at the bottom of the bucket a day later they where small dark brown cacoons. Hi Tiffany, sorry you have been introduced to the tachinid fly parasites. They can be avoided by brining in eggs or smaller caterpillars. I have been loosing my caterpillars due to Tachinid flies, how can I prevent them from getting on the milkweed plant?

Hi Robin, your best bet is to bring in monarch eggs and small caterpillars that are less likely to be parasitized…. I live in Arizona, and we have milkweed vine growing in our backyard. This vine attracts queen butterflies — I know they are not monarchs, but they are closely related. About a month ago I found a caterpillar on the vine, saved it in a ventilated jar, fed it every day, and it turned into a healthy, beautiful queen. Otherwise, it sounds like a potential problem with pesticide exposure. I have raised Monarchs for several years, and for this batch I have not washed the wild milkweed, only looked at it.

It appears there is a white, silky looking, little emptied cocoon like thing on one of the leaves. It does not look at all like a monarch chrysalis, it looks almost like a translucent, wrinkly, white sock. Also, I can see a hard clear shell on the bottom of the terrarium, resembling the face of a monarch cat, with the black stripes and all, but nothing seems to be wrong with the face of the believed to be diseased caterpillar.

As you recommend, should I separate the caterpillar immediately? Is this the black death? I have not seen this caterpillar eating. Does it have to do with the not clean leaves? Should I clean them now?