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OSIER A wonderful foodplant. Ten cuttings
Availability: NOW


Osier Willow cuttings S. viminalis

Years ago we planted a stick that was floating down a river in Wiltshire.  That was in 1954! It grew – rapidly – producing a wealth of leaves.  We tried it as a foodplant and discovered that not only did British species do well on it, but exotic silkmoth larvae as well.

This stick was the daddy of hosts of willow thickets that we have established in Dorset, Cornwall and in France.

Osier is Basket Willow, the flexible essential for basket weaving. It makes a wonderful woven hedge. It can form living sculptures. Winter or summer, Osier makes wonderful screens and windbreaks. Cover for wildlife and game. Osier is grown as a crop for energy production. In short it is a blessing to the environment, and very pleasant on the eye in landscaping schemes.

 We are offering a bunch of 10 cuttings for you to try not only as probably the most universal foodplant for larvae, but a great addition to your garden and grounds. 

 Probably the easiest cuttings to strike and grow. You simply push them into the ground, during autumn or spring. Leaves will appear within the first fortnight if planted in spring, roots quickly follow. In the first year they will more than double in size. Next year, in normal drought free conditions,  you will have a metre or more of growth and lots of foodplant. You may even be able to feed some in the first year.

You can store cuttings before planting, either in a polythene bag in the fridge, or standing in water. In water they often start to root. It is advisable to plant them before the roots actually burst out of the bark.

 

This plant is a complete success story – you will be pleased you tried it!

 

 

£12.95
Tiger Swallowtail glaucus 15 eggs or 10 larvae
Availability: June/July 2019



Tiger Swallowtail Papilio glaucus North America 15 eggs or 10 larvae according to availability

The Tiger Swallowtail is perhaps North America’s grandest swallowtail. As a curiosity, a small proportion of females emerge as melanics, not as beautiful as the typical female, but different! They can be bred in captivity and the larvae are as exotic as many of the tropical swallowtails, with the Papilio eye markings and bird dropping camouflage in the early instars. Try feeding them on Cherry or Lime, and they will probably take a wider variety of foodplants. These have been reported: Ash, Cherry, Tulip Tree Liriodendron, Magnolia, Birch, Poplar, Prunus, Apple, Willow, Alder.

£12.95
Papilio multicaudata North America 15 eggs or 10 larvae
Availability: June 2019


Papilio multicaudata North America 15 eggs or 10 larvae according to availability

This grand Swallowtail has only recently been offered by WWB. Allied to glaucus the Tiger Swallowtail, this species likewise has curious larvae with eye-like markings, in their later instars, that make predators wary. Recorded foodplants are Ash, Cherry, Choke Cherry and Ligustrum lucidum, so possibly Privet.

In warmer states there is more than one brood. These eggs and larvae will become pupae that can be hatched this season if they are raised under warm and light conditions.

 

£12.95
Green-veined White napi 10 larvae
Availability: Summer 2019


Green-veined White  Pieris napi

A delicate member of the White family, with variable markings and prominent underside veining.  The larvae feed on many Cruficerae with a particular liking for Jack by the Hedge Alliaria, Horseradish Armoracia rusticana, Cresses and Mustards.

Very easy to breed. Several generations are possible in a season. Hibernation is in the pupal stage. Keep the pupae cool or in the fridge until April. Lay them out to emerge in May and provide the adults with nectar flowers and stems of the foodplant on which to lay.

Harmless to garden plants (they prefer wild plants), this is a species you can breed to enhance the local countryside.

£10.95
Black-veined White crataegi 10 larvae
Availability: Spring 2019


Black-veined White Aporia crataegi 

 


Conservationists have recently announced that the climate in Britain is becoming more suited to the needs of this now extinct species and that it may yet become a re-established British species.

 

Larvae do well sleeved on Hawthorn (their preferred foodplant), Plum, Blackthorn, Apple. The larvae live in a cluster.  These will produce butterflies this spring.

Summer larvae spin a very small and concealed web on the branch, in which they hibernate. Leave the sleeve untouched for the winter. In spring they awake as soon as the buds burst, and begin to grow very quickly. They pupate often collectively, making very brightly coloured, angular pupae which are greenish white, with contrasting markings in black and yellow.

 

 

£15.95
Black-veined White crataegi Egg Batch
Availability: June 2019


Black-veined White Aporia crataegi 

 

Egg batches (at least 30 eggs) will be available in June. 

 

The larvae do well sleeved on Hawthorn (their preferred foodplant), Plum, Blackthorn, Plum or Apple. They live gregariously, spinning a very small and concealed web on the branch, in which they hibernate. Leave the sleeve untouched for the winter.

 

In spring they awake as soon as the buds burst, and begin to grow very quickly. They pupate often collectively, making very brightly coloured, angular pupae which are greenish white, with contrasting markings in black and yellow.

 


 

£12.95
Brimstone rhamni 10 larvae
Availability: June 2019


Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni

Both larvae and pupae are masters of camouflage. Quick growing, the larvae feed on Buckthorns Rhamnus catharticus or Frangula alnus. There are no substitutes, so locate some bushes in advance.

Resulting pupae produce butterflies this summer. They hibernate amongst ivy (when closed, the wings resemble ivy leaf undersides). They are difficult to hibernate in captivity so, by releasing the butterflies in summer sunshine, you may help to perpetuate the species each spring in your area.

£15.95
Citrus Swallowtail POT LUCK collection of 20 eggs
Availability: Spring 2019


Citrus Swallowtail POT LUCK collection of 20 eggs

This is great fun! You get 20 unidentified eggs that have been laid on Citrus plants in the butterfly house. They might be just one species but are much more likely to be mixed species.  Examples could include demoleus, polytes, bianor, rumanzovia,  memnon and other related species.

To rear these ideally you need potted Citrus trees in a greenhouse or somewhere you can keep warm and moist. The larvae are likely to accept substitutes such as Choisya and Skimmia.

The larvae develop fast in warm conditions, usually taking no more than 4 weeks from egg to adult, though some of the larger ones need a little longer.

Citrus larvae undergo a number of colour changes through the different instars, starting camouflaged as a bird dropping, but later taking on startling pattern with prominent eye-spots, in shades of green, with beautiful markings.

Don’t miss these – they are real fun!

£12.95
Clouded Yellow Crocea 10 Larvae
Availability: NOW


Clouded Yellow Butterfly Colias crocea 

 

 

A great favourite with entomologists and easy to rear on potted Clover. The easy way is to enclose the whole pot in a sleeve size 3. The larvae grow fast and will produce butterflies very quickly, particularly in warm conditions.

 
 

£12.95
EARLY Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae 10 larvae
Availability: May 2019


EARLY Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae
 

 

One of the best species for young people and beginners. Larvae are sent in April/May. The best way to keep the young caterpillars is on potted nettles which should be prepared in early spring , regularly watered, and kept out of doors to make stocky growth. Prepare more than one pot of nettle. When the young larvae are received, bring the potted nettle indoors and place the young larvae on the foodplant, where they will look after themselves until they finish the food and are large enough to be kept in a cage on cut nettle in a jar of water. In a matter of weeks the pupae are formed hanging from the cage top, and the butterflies emerge in a little over a fortnight.

The butterflies can be kept in a cage for a few days, with plenty of flowers for nectar, and then released to help the wild populations. 

 

Keeping two species of larvae together on the same foodplant?  It is sometimes possible, but their way of life may differ and we recommend keeping them separately. 

 

 


£16.95
EARLY Peacock Butterfly Inachis io 10 larvae
Availability: May 2019


EARLY Peacock Butterfly (Inachis io)
 

Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell populations are seriously depleted recently, due to the butterflies waking in the mild winter and dying of starvation. This is a a chance to help local Peacock populations.

The larvae live in tight clusters on the tips of nettle. Young larvae do best on potted nettle.  Keep the pots outside until needed indoors for the first larvae. When the larvae are larger, keep them caged on cut stems of nettle in a jar of water. Pupae are formed in a matter of weeks, hanging from the cage top. Butterflies emerge in about 3 weeks.  They can be kept for a few days in a cage with flowers for nectar, then released into the wild.

Keeping two species of larvae together on the same foodplant?  It is sometimes possible, but their way of life may differ and we recommend keeping them separately. 

£19.95
Painted Lady cardui  5 larvae in Pot on Diet
Availability: Mar/Apr 2019


Five Painted Lady larvae in Total Environment Pot

The five Painted Lady caterpillars live their whole life inside the see-through pot which contains all they need from birth to pupating. You need add no food. You don’t even clean them out and they look after themselves over weekends!

The larvae grow quite quickly in summer indoor conditions (never keep them in direct sunshine).  The container is easily passed round a group without disturbance to the larvae.
During skin change the larvae do not move or eat This may last a day or two.

Don't be alarmed by this: it is a natural stage in their development.

When the larvae have finished eating, they suspend themselves from a silk pad spun on special absorbent paper in the lid. Here they cast their caterpillar skin.  If you are lucky and look at the right moment you can see the actual moment of change from caterpillar to chrysalis.

Let the chrysalis harden for a couple of days, then hang the paper pinned inside a cage for the butterflies to emerge.

You can keep the butterflies for a few days in a cage with nectar flowers. Then, except in the colder months October to March, release them into the wild where they may breed naturally in your area. Please keep the larvae and pupae in an even room temperature (around 18-22º) day and night. Keep away from direct sunlight or a direct heat source such as a radiator.

The instructions are printed above - please note them for the arrival of the larvae which are not sent with further instructions. If you are sending larvae as a present, please remember the recipient will not have these instructions, unless you copy them to the recipient.

 

Can be ordered in advance. During the season there may be a delay of a couple of weeks or more if larvae are not currently at the size for sending. 


One pot of 5 Painted Lady caterpillars £13.95         Six pots of 5 Painted Lady caterpillars for group study (one supplied free!) for only £69.75