It may be hard to make a food choice for Painted Lady larvae if you are blessed with an abundance of food plants and plenty of space and time. Each food source has its advantages. We use Stonefly Artificial Diet at our farm when we are not rearing with plant material. Due to the fact that many of our customers will raise the larvae we ship on artificial diet, we start a portion of our larvae on artificial diet to ship to these customers.
Painted Lady larvae may be raised in small 4 ounce cups up to larger 16 ounce cups. We prefer small cups, other farmers prefer larger cups. When rearing butterfly larvae, there is no one right method. Many methods will work well. Experiment to discover which method works best for you.
We vary slightly from the method recommended below by Stonefly. Perhaps their method is best! Again, try several methods to discover which method works best for you. We raise our hatchling larvae in tiny cups with solid lids for a few days. We then transfer three larvae to 4 ounce cups with tiny holes punched in the lids. They are fed and raised in these cups until they pupate. When they become pupae and have hardened (about 24 hours old) we transfer the pupae to the pupae laboratory to glue until they emerge (eclose) as adults.
Although other species may be raised on this diet, in one or more generations other species than Painted Lady butterflies may become sterile and lay infertile eggs.
When rearing Painted Lady larvae on plant material, we use either hollyhock (our favorite) or plantain. If we place both food plants in the same container, hollyhock will disappear before plantain.
Stonefly Painted Lady Artificial Diet Mix Recipe and Directions:
Mix 1 oz vinegar and 19 oz of water (19 – 1 ratio) before adding the required quantity of liquid to the dry premix and mix by hand. The final mix should be the consistency of a stiff cookie dough or dryer.
Place a small portion of the final mix in a plastic or styrofoam cup or other container.
Add your Painted Lady caterpillars to the cup. Place a piece of paper towel or a coffee filter over the cup and hold in place with a rubber band.
Add fresh food as needed and either clean the cup regularly or transfer to a clean cup when needed. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before handling the food, inside of a cup, or a caterpillar to keep their habitat clean.
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To order a large quantity of Stonefly's Artificial Diet for Painted Lady butterflies, contact:
1-800-962-2660. Their product number is 380600. They can be found on the web at www.wardsci.com.
We will be glad to ship smaller orders but the price is much higher if we ship from our farm. We purchase at the same price you would purchase from Ward's Scientific. To ship from our farm to you requires us to add shipping charges as well as repacking charges to the price. If you need enough diet for only a few caterpillars, we can supply small amounts of diet.