Butterfly but No Caterpillars

by Wayne
(Orlando Florida)

I have a very large butterfly garden shaped like a butterfly. We have several larval plants and several nectar plants. There are several kinds of butterflies that lay eggs but they do not get past the 2nd instar stage. I have found several eggs of monarchs and manage to raise them in a controlled environment. Besides wasp and ants is there anything else I should be looking for. I did use the plants from the garden for food when I raised in controlled area so it is not the plants. I have checked with some local growers and they could not help me.

Karen says:
When you say that they don't get past the 2nd instar stage do you mean they disappear or you find them dead?

If you mean they just disappear, they are probably being eaten by something, birds most likely. I know that monarchs are not suppose to taste good but the cardinals in my neighborhood love monarch caterpillars.

If you are finding the caterpillars dead, then they could have OE which is a virus that monarchs can get. Usually it spreads easily to other caterpillars. Here is information on Ophryocystis elektroscirrha.

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