Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How to: Raise Caterpillars

2 winners are drawn on Monday, August 8!

1. Find caterpillars in your garden. 

2. Be so impressed your husband took pictures of this event.

3. Admire your thriving garden -- melons, gourds, beans, peas, tomatoes, okra, peppers.

4.  Tell yourself that if Mandi can raise butterflies.....you can too!

5.  Google and find out you need a container with a breathable cover, sticks to dangle their cocoons and lots of the host plant for the caterpillars to eat.

6.  Convince your husband to sacrifice plenty of his precious peppers so his almost 3-year-old son can experience the joy of watching our garden's very own caterpillars metamorphosis into butterflies. 

7.  Learn that putting caterpillars into a smallish carafe and leaving them outside makes your caterpillars go crazy.  Seriously.  Crazy.

8.  Move your caterpillars inside and into a glass pitcher.

9.  Give them lots more peppers and pepper leaves and clean out their frass.  Frass=fancy word for caterpillar poop.  This is my husband's job.  I do small children poop.  Not caterpillar poop.

10.  Google some more and find out your caterpillars are never going to turn into beautiful butterflies.  They are going to become ugly brown moths.  But that's okay.  They are our ugly brown moths.

11.  Move your caterpillars to house #3.  Because they are ugly brown moths, they do not need sticks in their house to dangle their cocoons.  They need dirt to burrow.  House #3 is a garden pot with dirt to burrow and tulle on top trap in our moths when they hatch from the ground.

12.  Watch in wonder as Steve and John immediately burrow in to the dirt and admire how Lulu, Baby Lulu and Mark (pictured) devour hot peppers.

13. Wait for the ugly brown moths to appear!


Rebecca said...

that was a great post, made me smile:) needed that tonight!

Mandi @ Living the Good Life said...

Ha! Love it! It's a pretty darn cool process. We were all fascinated. Tripp even got to see the last one of the first batch (b/c oh yes, we have round 2 going now w/ double the catepillars) actually emerge from it's cocoon. He was stoked. I really like their names :)

Tricia said...

This post made me smile too, and laugh a little about your comment on not cleaning caterpillar poo.

I also feel smarter knowing what frass is. Keep on educating, haha!

Laura @ our messy messy life. said...

Rebecca, glad I can perk you up! I'm pretty sure Will needs some caterpillars of his own....

Mandi, I have a feeling we will both be raising every caterpillar we come across for many years to come. Could you tell the two Henry named himself?

Tricia, I like how you like all my information about poop and containing poop in cloth diapers :)