Synthetic Host Plant Recipe
and a generic formula for Wessons salts, in percent:
The proportions below can vary. So, to simplify: we have
(B) the simple way and
(A) the Really simple way.
(A): The really simple way is made of:
(B): The simple way is like making smoothie-pops, it takes:
- 1 dozen
half pint jelly jars with lids (for canning)
- 12 x 24 inch piece of plastic bird netting,
or a bunch of toothpicks
or a package of bamboo
- 1 & 1/2 ounce of raw wheat germ,
- 1 ounce of agar flakes (a kind of seaweed),
- 2 tablespoons of Unsalted Skim Milk Cottage Cheese. An alternate source is skim milk and vinegar, This is for protein. Wash the curd through cheese cloth (or
a dish towel) to remove the milk or cream. Neutralize any acidity by adding small quantities of dissolved baking soda to the wash to raise the pH. This result
is sold commercially as Casein, it's also good for glue (Elmers).
- 37.80 g or 1& 1/3 ounce of sugar,
- 10.8 g Cell salts (Cell salts & minerals mix is
just below this list)
- About 4500 milligrams (that's abbreviated as: 'mg') of ground up vitamin C, (ascorbic acid also helps prevent fungus, and
it says on the bottle how many milligrams are in each pill),
- 2400 milligrams of veterinary aureomycin or tetracycline (anitbiotic for pet fish
- 1&1/3 pint of distilled water.
- 3300 milligrams of your favorite B complex vitamin. Adjust the dose to be nearest to
the required amounts. Quantities are listed on the side of the bottle.
If you don't want to buy a whole bottle of vit. B,
of brewers yeast will do, (but it's not a complete B complex). The pills need to be ground up in a mortar or blender, to a fine powder.
Inositol: 1100 milligrams (another B vit.)
Choline chloride in water (another B vit.
): 10.8 milliliter. The inclusion of Cholesterol, Choline and Inositol may total up to more than a minimum order for commercial larval diet. (see website links: Diets). A general purpose Vit. B complex (1 thru 12) pill will do about as well.
- 16.4 grams (2 - 3 tablespoons) of dried and finely ground host plant leaf, specific to your species of butterfly.
- 3 to 30 grams edible linseed oil. Moths that live on stored fat, or active butterflies, like more linseed oil.
First wash your hands thoroughly, if you have antibacterial-fungicidal soap, and a face mask, they help. A lot of contamination can be avoided here, or a lot of work and larvae can be easily wasted from a little grime picked up on a doorknob. Caterpillars kept close together in a damp environment are like preschool kids: When one gets sick, they all do. Do the same for utensils, jars, lids, netting, toothpicks, etc.
1000 milligrams (mg) = 1 gram = 0.035 ounce
1 mg = 0.001
28.35 grams = 1 ounce
0.473 liters = 1/2 quart = 1 pint
1 liter = 1.057 quarts
1/2 of the water and agar together and boil it for
10 minutes, and let cool. Use a thermometer to know when the temperature gets down to 150F. While it's cooling, mix the other ingredients together in a blender with the rest of the water, then stir it all together before the agar gels.
the mix 3/4th inch deep into half pint jelly jars. Put in some
toothpicks or about 1 foot long cut strips of plastic bird netting 2 inches wide, placed on edge so half sticks up out of the mix. After it cools, the agar
will get firm like hard Jello. Toothpicks or netting gives the caterpillars something to stand on while they're eating, and a place to hang their chrysalis.
Each jar can feed 3 to 15 caterpillars, depending on the size and species. When they're cool, screw on the lids and put them in the refrigerator till you need
them. With all the vitamin C in the mix, it probably won't spoil soon but may loose nutrients.
Some caterpillars can only eat the edge of a leaf and some
can gnaw anywhere. Edge eaters in a jar full of food with no edge might starve, so it won't hurt to carve some edges into the surface of the cooled mixture
with a fork.
When the caterpillars are placed in the jar, invert the jar (open end down, on a clean paper towel) so their fecies fall clear of the
food, the caterpillars will use the netting for a foothold. Keep the larvae out of direct sun, but still give them plenty of light.
Cell Salts (legit: Dr. Tony Thomas, Canadian Forest Service Research, Fredricton NB.)
Some individual Wessons Cell salts chemicals from insect rearing suppliers, require a $50
minimum order &/or permit to buy. The ones I can't find sources for are marked(*). Dr. Thomas Says: "Some of the ingredients in the incredibly small amounts
were essential for continuous rearing of the species. However, if eggs could be obtained from wild stock then the minor ingredients could be left out. One
should not use the offspring from these diets for inbreeding, however." (because successive generations will loose reproductive vigor)
The quantities shown below are not percentage of the total formula mixture.
Percentages shown are of the 10.8g portion required above.
Some of the minerals below are (obviously) not food grade, and may include impurities, so check the ingredients on the package labels carefully.
Slug and Snail Bait
(not listed in Meric index)
Morton's "Lite" salt
Fruit Mildew suppressant
comes with table salt
The Morton "Lite" salt source for Potassium chloride also contains table salt in the same ratio to each other as this recipe requires. So if Morton "Lite" is used, delete the sodium chloride from the recipe and increase the Morton "Lite" to 22.5%, and then double that weight because Morton "Lite" salt also contains 55% other stuff to make it flow & taste good (calcium silicate, magnesium carbonate, and dextrose), which we don't need but won't hurt. It also contains potassium iodide which we do need. Boil the oyster shell to kill bacteria.
Cornelius Enterprises, POBox 57, Albion CA 95410
email: billcor at mcn dot org