platycryptus: nanonaturalist: nanonaturalist…




Ready for another caterpillar flavor? I found a Polyphemus moth laying eggs on the side of my house. Brought her inside, put her in an enclosure while I grabbed a paper bag (easier to collect eggs on paper!!!), and she laid FIVE eggs in the 10 seconds it took me to get back to her.

Last year, I struggled with keeping my Polyphemus babes fed, since the trees they eat were not abundant in my yard (they ate all the little saplings down to sticks!). But this year, I anticipated Good Moth Luck, and have let all the elm saplings get big and tall regardless of how inconveniently placed they are. And here we are! 😀

August 31, 2018

Guess who’s here?

Mama moth laid 90 eggs and thankfully I was able to give away most of them. I kept 20 eggs for myself, and they started hatching this morning. Exciting!!

September 8, 2018

You sure elm is the only good foodplant you have? Polys eat almost anything including oak, maple, birch, cherry, sassafras, hickory, grapevines etc. and I’ve even seen pine mentioned as a possible foodplant.

I have easy access to hackberry, elm, rose, and live oak. They don’t eat hackberry, and last year my crisis was that my rose and oak had been upwind from pesticide I had to spray on my house to deal with the tens of thousands of Crematogaster ants living in my walls. Normally, I would not use pesticides but I didn’t have a choice. I totally forgot about this until most of my caterpillars started dying horrible deaths.

You would think after a year, it would be fine, except the ants keep coming back and I had to spray again this year. I can feed the cats some oak from the side of the tree farthest from the house, but these things eat a LOT and if you trim a tree during its growing season, it becomes susceptible to disease. I don’t care about the elms, those are essentially weeds I grew specifically to supplement the poly babes, but the 12-year-old oak in the front yard is another story.