The Caterpillar Plantation


A quick glimpse at the caterpillars I'm raising in my pantry.  Typing isn't so easy, because I had a mishap with my brand new pruning saw. I gashed my finger impressively, and it needs time to heal.

I believe I have twenty-two caterpillars in all.  They are in various stages of development. Six have formed chrysalises, six have attached themselves to various surfaces with silken threads and are preparing to form chrysalises, and ten are still eating everything in sight.

We had friends over on the Fourth of July, and I forced everyone to gawk at my tank full of caterpillars. I think they're fascinating, and my friends were all too polite to tell me that I'm crazy for doing this.

How about you?  Have you ever raised caterpillars?  How did it go?

For more garden fun, check out the weekly garden party at Daphne's excellent blog.


Daphne Gould said…
No I've never raised caterpillars. Well not inside at any rate. I do grow a lot of dill and the swallowtail caterpillars really love it.
David Velten said…
Two years ago I found a caterpillar on my parsley and squished it. Found out is was a larvae for some nice butterfly I had photographed around the garden, and it prefers parsley. Now I just move them to the woods.
I suspect that the caterpillars won't find anything they can eat in the woods. They have remarkably specific diets.
Cristy said…
I don't raise caterpillars inside, but have a garden devoted to butterflies and hummingbirds, so I get lots of chrysalids all around the house in late summer. It's a great pastime.
Michelle said…
I found a couple of swallowtail caterpillars on my fennel recently, but they disappeared, I think something ate them. :( If I see them again I'm going to try to raise them indoors. I would have been thrilled to gawk at your caterpillars.
I've never raised them indoors, but I do grow fennel just for them. This year it didn't survive the winter, so I had to rely on volunteers and the plants are still tiny. Hopefully they will size up in time for the swallowtails.
Anonymous said…
We've raised several caterpillars, but only one at a time. Queen Ann's Lace is related to carrots & parsley, so makes a good home for black swallowtail caterpillars.

We once had a sphinx moth caterpillar that eventually emerged as an adult and proceeded to lay eggs all over the living room, even though it had never mated.
Wow. That's amazing.
Anonymous said…
I have raised many caterpillars in my life. My garden contains many plants just for the larva stage of butterflies and moths. My favorites are the silk Moths. Huge larva. I hunt monarch larva and bring them home. Only way to keep them from eating the milkweed in the local corn fields that have been sprayed. One farmer loves to tell me all about his great GMO corn. I have to work hard to smile and keep my mouth shut.


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