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Caterpillars

This is a discussion on Caterpillars within the The Jungle forums, part of the Land Plants category; These are caterpillars of the Giant Swallowtail butterfly that have made their home in my ...

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  1. #1
    BKirk783's Avatar
    BKirk783 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Caterpillars

    These are caterpillars of the Giant Swallowtail butterfly that have made their home in my blood orange trees. They like citrus and orange trees in particular. As you can see, they are doing quite a number on the new growths. I would like to move them to another location, but I'm not sure if they would survive. I really don't want to do anything to kill them because of the recent decline in butterfly populations. Anyone have any experience in this regard? I look forward to your thoughts.

    Incidentally, I think it's interesting that they disguise themselves by imitating bird droppings.

    Brandon
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  2. #2
    stefpix is offline Senior Member
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    hard to see almost. do you squish them or spray them?
    caterpillars are gross yet people like butterflies... what an irony

  3. #3
    Ron-NY is offline rothaholic
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    Brandon, you are correct in that unlike adults, the larva or caterpillars are very selective in their diet and will often eat only very specific plants. Your swallowtail needs a plant in the citrus family. You can transfer them to a Prickly ash. It's actually not an ash, but in the citrus family....If you don't have any, they do spread from suckers and would be able to collect a few young suckers to establish your own colony. They will grow in partial shade but do better in full sun.
    edit: I checked...the Southern Prickly Ash can be grown in your area and most likely is native in Alabama along streams

  4. #4
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    Thanks, Ron, I will look into finding a prickly ash.

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    Ron-NY is offline rothaholic
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    Your welcome Brandon...I can grow Northern Prickly Ash but wish I could grow Blood Oranges....lol

  6. #6
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    My husband squishes them...he's not especially a butterfly kinda guy I guess. We have three citrus trees.

  7. #7
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    They don't eat so many leaves that it actually effects the tree's growth or fruit production . We just let them be and are rewarded with beautiful flying flowers year round.
    Cin

  8. #8
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    They don't eat so many leaves that it actually effects the tree's growth or fruit production . We just let them be and are rewarded with beautiful flying flowers year round.
    Cin
    I agree...if they are eating too much in one spot you can relocate them to another area of the tree, but they will always go for the most tender growth. As Ron said their diet is very limited unlike many of the moth caterpillars. Those look so big they should be cocooning soon anyway...Then you will have beautiful butterflies to help pollinate your citrus and other plants!

    Shann~

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shannara View Post
    I agree...if they are eating too much in one spot you can relocate them to another area of the tree, but they will always go for the most tender growth. As Ron said their diet is very limited unlike many of the moth caterpillars. Those look so big they should be cocooning soon anyway...Then you will have beautiful butterflies to help pollinate your citrus and other plants!

    Shann~
    SO true! I like the way you look at it!

    Cheers,
    BD

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