Peat moss or no for spinning Dubernardi caterpillars?

  • What is would you recommend for spinning caterpillars? The few batches I have raised before I would let them spin in the pine branches but recently I have seen many people say moss is the best option. I have seen cases where caterpillars in the moss have not spun a cocoon and would just pupate instead. What issues have you had either way, I have some L5s the should be due by this weekend.

  • I have used sphagnum moss, dried, for spinning of dubernardi, they all made nice cocoons,

    I used some small animal containers, like you get at the pet shop,

    filled them full of the sphagnum moss, and once a larva would turn brown or purge, I'd toss it in

    the box, depending on the size of the box, you could out in a dozen larva easily. Any box or bucket

    would work, as long as the larva can't escape, later the cocoons were easy to peel off the sides, and remove

    the excess moss. You just need to catch them before they start spinning, removing a larva that's in the middle of

    spinning will result in no cocoon at all, and that's a problem.

  • Alright thanks I'll try it. I am always scared messing with pre pupal caterpillars and don't want to stress them. I had 4 Euryalus caterpillars not too long ago not spin because I moved their branch to another cage. Have you tried adding the moss tho the bottom of the cage?

  • Sorry about losing your euryalus, once a larva picks a spot to spin, that's what you have to work with. The problem with the

    cage bottom, is frass, and unless you clean the bottom every day, it adds up fast, even when I use sleeves, it's almost

    easier with sleeves, because I can open one end, and pour out the waste. I would guess that you could cover the cage bottom

    with moss, you'd probably want 3 or 4 inches deep. Every larva is different, even within the group, some will go wander for a spot,

    others will just nestle in the food plant and spin there. I'll usually give a larva 7 to 10 days before I try moving a fresh cocoon.

    If the larva is simply wandering around, looking for a spot, it's safe to pick it up and put it in a separate area for spinning, it

    makes more space for the remaining larva, and you can keep track of the date you put the last larva in.

    My last big effort was 160 dubernardi raised indoors, and it went well, a little busy at times.

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