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cresphontes

Wasps Eating Caterpillars

10 years ago

Hi, my name is Nicholas yesterday my Dad posted an introduction about me. Anyway I went out to look at some milkweed plants with wild caterpillars on them. What I found were some remains of dead monarch caterpillars and and a wasp eating one :( . So, has any body experienced this and knows how to discourage them from coming and eating the caterpillars? Every year I'll bring in about 10 caterpillars to rear but I don't have enough milkweed for so many caterpillars, so the rest unfortunately I have to leave out on the milkweed.

Thanks
Nicholas

Comments (12)

  • 10 years ago

    I'm so sorry to hear about the wasps eating your caterpillars, Nicholas! Other than bringing them in to a cage and raising them yourself, the only other caterpillar protection I know of is sleeving the milkweed, that is, to cover it with a mesh material that hopefully keeps the wasps out. I haven't been very successful at doing that for a variety of reasons. I've heard of some people standing out in the garden with a tennis racket and swatting them down. I once was cleaning out a sleeve over some milkweed, and a wasp came right up into the sleeve and attacked the poor monarch caterpillar! I got so mad I went to the storage box in my garden to get something to whack the wasp with, but the only thing that was in there was some WD40. So, I chased the wasp around the garden trying to spray it with WD40 - I'm sure I looked comical! :)

    Maybe others on this forum will have a better idea.

    We're so glad you posted!

    Sherry

  • 10 years ago

    Nicholas,

    Glad you posted on the Butterfly Forum. It's great that you are helping out the Monarchs. If your dad knows where there might be some wild-growing milkweed, maybe you could collect some and bring in more caterpillars. In the wild, not very many caterpillars grow up to become butterflies. They mostly provide food for all kinds of insects, including wasps, and birds, toads, frogs, and lizards. One time I set a Red Admiral caterpillar that I found on a potted host plant on a table on my patio. I wanted to show it to a friend that was coming over. Imagine my surprise when I went to show my friend the caterpillar and there was a little frog in the pot licking his lips! As you can see, we all have our stories. It's fun to raise caterpillars, but sometimes it can be sad when you lose one or more.

    Sandy

  • 10 years ago

    Thanks everyone,
    Sherry, I ordered some sleeves to put on my plants Hope they'll come soon enough. Sandy, my Dad and I go hiking often and I always look for milkweed but it's a 45 minute drive to the nearest place with any milkweed plus it's a wildlife preserve so it's not very accessible. Angie I've planted lots of milkweed for the following years.
    Thanks again
    Nicholas

  • 10 years ago

    I mnot sure if this is a ling term solution. My yellow jacket wasps, get attracted to the milk weed flowers as well. So when I had a whole load of cats on my milk weed, I knocked off all blooms, I saw the fat cats thriving and no dead remains on the plants. It is possible they moved on elsewhere to pupate or died. You can look for their(wasp) nests in the ground and destroy them at night. Some one suggested sugar drink for them to sip and die - I have only seen ants in my sugar bottle no wasp has tried, that. It is painful to see the cats die!!

  • 10 years ago

    Nicholas,

    It looks like you've analyzed your situation and come up with good solutions--growing more milkweed and sleeves! Cutting the flowers from the milkweed might help, as the wasps are drawn to the blooms. But, if you are wanting the plants to go to seed, that doesn't work. Let us know how the sleeves work for you.

    If you don't grow Tropical MW, it's great for the Monarchs. And you can cut it back and it will get thicker. Also, the cuttings can be rooted in water to make more plants.

    Keep us informed about your experiences!

    Sandy

  • 9 years ago

    I found this because I suspected wasps might be doing this. I feel like a mother hen with my monarch caterpillars. I'm going to make a mesh tent. I haven't read everything yet, but I'm wondering what I can provide for them when they need to spin their crysalis. I realize life is cruel, but I want them to morph into beautiful butterflies! Wasps, go somewhere else!

  • 9 years ago

    I bought a small tent for camping and put it in the shade with pots of Tropical milkweed in it so they could grow protected. It worked well, but they made their chrysalis on the sides of the tent and the butterflies apparently couldn't crawl on the sides as well. Several of them fell onto the ground with their wings only partly expanded. So, I would provide some towels or mesh material,for them to climb on to form their chrysalis.

    Martha

  • 5 years ago

    I found monarch caterpillars on a volunteer milkweed in my backyard, I was tying it the milkweed to the fence and when I looked down both my large and tiny cat were gone-vanished and there was a wasp flying around-I am heart broken-I did not find their bodies. I bought them 3 more milk weeds to eat from and now they are missing.

  • 5 years ago

    Good news that I have seen in the last couple of years - as I planted more natives and more the bee population has grown - have not seen much of the nasty wasps and hornet. I have all kinds of butterflies now. But can’t do anything about the eggs being eaten by the ants. I see a lot of pipe vine swallow tails eggs but only a handful of caterpillars.

  • 2 months ago

    My milkweed garden it too vast to cover with netting. i realize wasps are a part of the cycle but i still dislike them!! When I’m in the garden i swat them with a fly swatter and make sure they’re dead!! I would rather see monarchs flying around than wasps. Every wasp nest I eliminate and wasp I kill gives the monarch catepillars a little more chance. I’m okay with that.

  • 2 months ago



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