Another Monster!

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Thanks for the new pic.

Thanks for the suggestion Mr Ants.  I was kind of thinking along the same lines.  

I decided to give the skirt idea a try today.  It took about 2 hours of time to build the monstrosity, but now it’s done and installed.  I happened to have some old #8 hardware cloth from previous bee experiments and scrap wood to make the skirt. The screen bottom will let any rain through but not any caterpillars.  

I filled the skirt assembly up with sawdust.  I’m guessing that once the earth pupators get their feet all covered with fine sawdust, they’re not going to be able to easily climb up and over the walls of the skirt very easily.  The skirt is about 7” tall.

After building the skirt thing, I think you’re right; going back to the bucket system may have been wiser!  Live and learn.  I do a lot of learning the hard way unfortunately…...

Interestingly I have a large green version of the Imperial Moth and a brown version on my birch tree.  They are both about 4.5” long and still eating.  They’re bigger than tomato worms.  They really seem to like my birch tree (Betula Nigra Fox Valley).  This form of birch is really more like a bush and it can be covered in tulle to protect the caterpillars from the wasps and birds.


I was amazed to find 3 large Imperial moth caterpillars got fooled by my earth pupator trap.  These pupae are kind of interesting, they have little spines on their surface.  When you hold them in your hand, they almost feel like sandpaper.  They’re kind of spiky.  On some moths you can tell their sex by the size of their antenna and/or the 4th segment down from their wings.  From what I’ve read, I think I have my photo marked properly.  I got a 50:50 chance of being right…..or wrong :)

I trapped these imperial moths caterpillars in a trap I set under the tree they were on.  Here’s a photo of a trap under a little walnut tree. 

The traps worked surprisingly well.  This one is just a plant pot that was sliced down a side, slipped around the walnut tree and about 1/3 filled with sawdust.  It turns out that most of the caterpillars’ have legs that are designed to grip tree stems, but not plastic container walls.  So they end up crawling down the tree, into the plastic container and since they can’t climb the container walls they give up and decide to pupate inside the container.  I then pull the bucket and collect the pupae.   

I'm glad to see this worked out so well.


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