Let's talk about Monarchs!
Moderator: Monarch Watch
Jim wrote:Raise 'em up and see what they turn into Those may be tussock moths, whose color changes dramatically over the course of their caterpillarhood (yeah, I just made that word up):
Lindabird wrote:I am so glad you took a picture of those little worms, or caterpillars, or whatever. I found a bunch of them on one of my plants today too. I had some last year but I pinched the leaves off that they were on and got rid of them. I was afraid they were maggots or something. I keep hearing about the tachnid fly so I was worried thats what they were.
Anyway, I was going to take a picture today and post it here to see what they were, but I got side tracked.
I haven't seen a Monarch for what seems like 6 weeks or so, and today I had two females at the same time. I couldn't believe my eyes. I didn't find any eggs, but I'm hoping they will come back tomorrow.
Whatever they are, they can sure do some damage to your milkweed quick.
Jim was right....like always! My little caterpillars/worms are indeed those of the Tussock Moth. I picked the leaf that they were on and through it on the ground. A day or two later I found them spread out on different plants. They now have the orange and black fur. They are eating away on my milkweed.
I'm just going to let them eat because I haven't seen any Monarch eggs on my milkweed since April. This year I have plenty of milkweed, and no eggs. Last year, I had tons of eggs and my son had to make trips to his fishing spot to get me more milkweed every couple of days.
Lindabird wrote:Momma....when I get a chance I'm going to go to a little milkweed patch by my house and see if there are any signs of cats/eggs there. I don't think it is just my garden that doesn't have any, I suspect they are slim to none around here. I'll let you know when I check it out.
GBMonarch wrote:Whenever I see the tiny monarch cats on my plants I can still see the stripes, unless they just came our of the egg. They are really, really small then.
That photo you mentioned is really blown up and unless you looked though a powerful magnifying glass, you don't see the tiny hairs on the newborn monarch cats.
Your photo looked like the cats were larger and definitely hairy. My guess is that they weren't Monarchs but perhaps the tussock moth.
Sorry you had a scare. Hope the Monarchs make it to your garden soon!
Jim wrote:The other clue is that you will never see that many monarch caterpillars on a milkweed plant in the wild (as shown in the original photo above), as a female will lay a single egg on a leaf and move on. OTOH, moths tend to lay eggs in clusters and so you may observe dozens of cats per plant.
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