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Salmonsaladsandwich

It's silkmoth season!

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I understand! I am trying to feed a bunch of H. cecropia and S. ricini larvae. It's my first time with cecropia, but I did ricni last year.

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Wait, why would you have a bunch of larvae at this time of year?

Friends sent me ova...

H. cecropia...

I have four L1 from one friend

i had around 30 that are L4 or so from another friend (two unrelated pairings, I think). Most of these are sleeved on a red maple, so I can't count them, but I see them still alive in the sleeves.

I have more ova in the mail from two other friends

S. ricini...

I have L2-L4 - ova from 3 different friends. I wanted to try them on potted castor, but their hunger grows faster than my plants :-( So it's back to lilac for them.

So I have larvae because friends sent me ova... is this the wrong time of year? S. ricini are tropical and don't diapause, so there isn't a right time of year for them. I know multiple people with cecropia larvae right now...

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That's really weird... Any chance these friends live a bit farther south than you...?

By the way, in case you aren't aware, red maple is a poor food plant for cecropias... The lilac you're feeding to the ricinis would be preferable, or better yet wild cherry if you have it. Even though most silkmoths can survive on a wide variety of trees, they really only thrive on one or two and that's especially important for a delicate and disease prone species like H. cecropia.

Also, Samia Ricini isn't actually tropical. It's a domesticated strain of the temperate Ailanthus silkmoth, Samia Cynthia, that has the need for diapause bred out.

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That's really weird... Any chance these friends live a bit farther south than you...?

Virginia for the oldest ones

By the way, in case you aren't aware, red maple is a poor food plant for cecropias... The lilac you're feeding to the ricinis would be preferable, or better yet wild cherry if you have it. Even though most silkmoths can survive on a wide variety of trees, they really only thrive on one or two and that's especially important for a delicate and disease prone species like H. cecropia.

I understand... but all I have available in the yard is Red and Norway maple. I have to clip lilac from neighbors' hedges... and I can only take so much without attracting notice. I'm already taking more than I should, probably. I also have a few on boxelder - no one cares if I cut that weed-tree! I don't have access to cherry. Would flowering crabapple be better than the Acer spp. that I am using? There are a lot of flowering crabs up and down the road.

Also, Samia Ricini isn't actually tropical. It's a domesticated strain of the temperate Ailanthus silkmoth, Samia Cynthia, that has the need for diapause bred out.

My mistake.

Here's a photo of one of my little ones in a sleeve I made:

0899bed4-813e-4a4a-9964-e9dfbcfa091b.jpg

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Flowering crabapple would be excellent. Apple is the next best thing to cherry.

I have to clip lilac from neighbors' hedges... and I can only take so much without attracting notice. I'm already taking more than I should, probably.

I've been there before lol....

Here's a photo of one of my little ones in a sleeve I made:

0899bed4-813e-4a4a-9964-e9dfbcfa091b.jpg

Cute!

3rd instar?

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Flowering crabapple would be excellent. Apple is the next best thing to cherry.

OK, I will keep that in mind. They are too far from my yard to sleeve, but easy to collect the "sucker" branches at the base.

Cute!

3rd instar?

Something around that. I'm terrible at keeping track.

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I have lilac all over and wild cherry, but I never see silk moths. The trees are in my yard and we have lots of lights so it's odd I never find any.

Why not grow a host tree from seed or order a young tree if you want to raise them year after year and need leaves.

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I have lilac all over and wild cherry, but I never see silk moths. The trees are in my yard and we have lots of lights so it's odd I never find any.

Silk moths have been driven to near extinction in many areas by introduced tachinid flies intended for gypsy moths. They most likely exist in your area as an extremely low density population, which silk moths can get away with due to their ability to find mates over long distances.

Polyphemus moths are a species that is still fairly common in most areas. The other species can be rather rare or even nonexistent, in fact some species (including the royal walnut/hickory horned devil moth and the promethea's relative the Tulip- Tree Silkmoth) are completely extirpated from New England.

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Here we're actually talking about Giant Silkworms, family saturniidae, which in my opinion are too difficult to rear, beautiful, and in many cases too large and spiky to use as feeders.

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