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Different types of cats dying

9 years ago

Last month I saw about 15 Eastern Swallowtail Cats on my dills. I decided to leave them be this time (I'd never tried to raise them inside before), but when I came home one day and all of them but two were missing, I freaked a little bit. They def. weren't old enough to begin the change (some still had spikes). I assumed something had eaten them (I saw yellow jackets swarming the dill, I'm not sure if they had anything to do with anything). I brought the two inside, and they did very well and molted three times, but before the fourth molt (I'm still trying to figure out instars), I saw one on the bottom of the container, wilted, spinning silk around itself. It ended up deflating and had its defense glands out, so I stuck it out in my garden on some fennel. The next day, I lost the other one (lost as in it died the same fate).

So, this month I found two Question Mark cats on my Elm, brought them in, and they lasted a couple of days before they both dried up.

I'm so tempted to grab the Spicebush babies I see in my garden currently, but I'm afraid I'm doing something wrong here... and I don't want to lose anymore.

I gave them fresh food everyday, and stick the stems in a glass of water (through a hole in plastic wrap, so they wouldn't fall in, or something horrible). I kept the glass clean of frass and dead stems and old skin, and made sure the moisture didn't get too high. I used a different cup with the QM's than I did with the EBS' and the house's temperature is 75F... Any thoughts?

P.S. Sorry if this has been asked a million times, and/or I seem a little ignorant.. I've been butterfly gardening for two years, and thought I would help nature out by raising them indoors (I've read that they usually have better survival rates when raised captive)..

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