This year my school ordered almost 60 caterpillars to work with. They came in healthy and started eating and growing like normal. Then within four days the majority had died. A few had gotten big by then, but they quit eating and lost weight. Many died hanging on the side of the cage, turned black and shriveled up overnight. No strings or parasites like I had seen before. At first we thought it was the heat, because our rooms were reaching up to 95 by the afternoon, but more died the next week when it cooled off. Finally this week, our very last "store bought" caterpillar died. It hadn't eaten for a while and at almost four weeks old was only 1cm long. WE got our milkweed from all different places and we always washed and dried it, so I don't think it was chemicals. WE gave them fresh milkweed everyday, but they hardly ate anything.
Anyone experience something similar?
I have washed all the cages with bleach incase it was a disease.
So sad for me and the kids!