SPRING and SUMMER EGGS and LARVAE Order now for supply in season

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KOKUSO 21 Mulberry A group of 5 robust cuttings.
Availability: Autumn


KOKUSO 21 Mulberry A rarity! A group of 5 robust cuttings.

This sericultural form of Mulberry has been developed in Asia for its large leaves with high nutrition as food for Silkworms. Not generally available for sale, we are offering a limited number of robust cuttings in groups of 5. 

The cuttings will develop roots and leaves if put into compost, preferably with manure. Never let the compost dry. Rooting may be assisted if dipped in hormone rooting powder. Mulberry cuttings take longer to root than Willows and Osiers, which are very rapid. Hard winter pruning is repaid with amazing growth, which can reach 1-2 metres on every branch in the following summer.

This is a rare shrub, seldom seen in Northern Europe.

£18.50
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,  if you winter prune very hard, you will have perhaps 2 metres of growth on every branch, providing masses 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
SILKWORMS Bombyx mori. 30 Established  Silkworms.
Availability: NOW


SILKWORMS Bombyx mori. 

Established Silkworms Bombyx mori available for the first time for years! These will spin their pure white silk cocoons within 2-3 weeks and emerge as moths after a similar period if kept at room temperature. These are sent feeding on artificial diet and if you wish to keep them like this, you can order a packet of powdered artificial diet that is used with water and heated in a microwave oven to produce a green cake on which the larvae live and feed.

Silkworms on diet are not only revolutionary for those who cannot get Mulberry leaves, but the daily care is also greatly reduced. You simply feed them by laying thin strips of food about once a day. On leaf, they need feeding several times a day, and spent food litter has to be removed. 

So you can rear Silkworms to cocoons now with the greatest of ease, and the least amount of daily care.

Please follow the instructions at the head of this section on Silkworm Eggs and Silkworms.

If you have access to a Mulberry tree, the silkworms can be reared on Mulberry leaves. Mulberry trees are sometimes found in the grounds of large country houses and old parsonage houses. You can buy Mulberry trees from a nursery and any Morus species can be used, but the silkworms eat a lot, so you will need to grow a tree on for some years before the leaves can be used. This is why the artificial diet is so useful!

Now anyone can rear Silkworms even if you don't have a Mulberry tree or live somewhere that has no access to trees for foodplant.

Keeping silkworms is very easy as long as some procedure is observed. They do not need a cage – just a tray, kept in a warm place (about 25 degrees C). 

£14.95
European Swallowtail P.machaon gorganus 15 eggs or 10 larvae according to availability
Availability: NOW


European Swallowtail Papilio machaon gorganus 

Eggs are best kept in a clear plastic box without fresh foodplant. Newly hatched larvae need to eat their egg-shells. When they are ready for green food and wander from the egg shells, using a soft artist's brush, transfer to fresh foodplant. They do best sleeved on growing food, and this is strongly recommended, but can be reared in plastic boxes as long as always kept clean and with fresh food daily. See advice on using Plastic Rearing Containers on this website.

Easy to rear on Fennel and other Umbelliferae, such as carrot tops, Parsnip and Wild Parsnip flowers and fresh leaves. Very attractive caterpillar, bright green, striped black and orange. Double or even triple brooded.

This species is not suitable for beginners and schools.

£12.95
American Black Swallowtail polyxenes asterias 15 eggs or 10 Larvae according to availability.
Availability: June/July


American Black Swallowtail Papilio polyxenes asterias 

We hardly ever have eggs available. There are some ready immediately.

It is immediately evident from looking at this striking black Swallowtail that it has a lot in common with the British and European Swallowtails and it is indeed so closely related that it will hybridise with either one.

The larvae feed on Fennel and may take Carrot leaves and those of other Umbelliferae. Keep the eggs in a plastic box as described in the introduction to Plastic Rearing Containers. Transfer young larvae with an artist's brush to fresh, high quality foodplant, preferably growing.

The pupae overwinter but may produce a partial second brood of butterflies in late summer.

£12.95
Tiger Swallowtail glaucus 15 eggs or 10 larvae
Availability: Please see text.



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

There is a small breeding stock to produce eggs this season. If there are some orders unable to be supplied, they will be held for priority supply next season.

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
Black-veined White crataegi Egg Batch
Availability: June 2021


Black-veined White Aporia crataegi 

 Egg batches (at least 30 eggs) can be attached to growing shoots in a sleeve. Let the larvae create their protective tent and allow them to hibernate there without disturbance, to re-appear in mid-March.

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. The webs appear to be dead leaves, but the larvae spin a very strong silken life-line which is an indication of life inside the apparently dead leaf! 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: Spring 2021


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. We recommend sleeving the larvae on growing bushes.

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.

£13.95
Citrus Swallowtail POT LUCK collection of 20 eggs
Availability: August


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: Later and new orders will be in late summer.


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 Peacock Butterfly Inachis io 10 larvae
Availability: Spring 2021


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: NOW until Sep 30


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