Each year we are frequently contacted by a frantic butterfly gardener concerning not having enough host plant for their voraciously eating caterpillars. Finding safe, pesticide-free host plants can be a challenge. Our free Caterpillar Support program can help!
First, know that no matter how many host plants you have, it will never be enough because some species of butterflies lay a lot of eggs, and some caterpillars are voracious eaters, for example Monarchs. Even we run out of or run low on certain host plants by the end of the season!
Based upon how many people we have heard express their need for pesticide-free host plants, we decided to create a free support program to provide whole host plants or leaves, adoption or foster care, to butterfly gardeners who run out of food or are overwhelmed by an abundance of eggs or caterpillars.
We grow all of our host plants to be safe for caterpillars. That means no pesticides, even organic, are used.
We have hand raised 21 different species of Leps collected from our yard. We have identified over 25 different species of host plant within our backyard habitat. For educational and outreach purposes, we hand raise a variety of Swallowtail caterpillars. We also hand raise Monarchs to provide support to their declining population. All other species we typically allow them to go through their life cycle on their own or provide limited intervention as we’ve learned that they know exactly what to do.
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