Help with hornworms

SteveFrench

New Member
Hey guys, I'm relatively new to the forums. I have been stalking for about 8 months, which ended up being about a month before I got my first chameleon. A veiled named Steve French. By now i'm about 7 months deep into an extreme addiction and at this point me and my partner keep 16 panthers, Steve, and another panther on the way.

Anyways, we have about 150 hornworms in the pupate stage at the moment, and I want to get as much information as I can concerning the care and breeding of the moths. I have read in a few places you have to feed them sugar water by hand and its extremely time consuming. On the other hand I have also read that if they are in an area big enough where they will fly you can use a hummingbird feeder and that can work. Right now there is a 7 foot by 4 foot by 4 foot enclosure for them for when they turn into moths. Is that big enough for 150 moths? Am I going to have to hand feed them all? If anyone with prior experience breeding them could share their knowledge with me it would be much appreciated. Thanks ahead of time.
 

SteveFrench

New Member
Thanks your guide is very informative. What are your thoughts on that many moths being in one enclosure, is it big enough for that many?
 

pigglett79

Avid Member
It will be OK. All moths won't emerge at once anyway. Some may be dying off as others come out. It will be a daunting task to keep up with collecting eggs though! That is a ton of moths. I usually pupate around 30 at a time.
 

SteveFrench

New Member
Yeah I know its a lot... about half of the worms were fed off, they grew about 100 times faster than expected which made it impossible to feed enough off. On average how many eggs do you think you have been collecting per each female?
 

pigglett79

Avid Member
If you have a really healthy female she can lay hundreds of eggs. One of my healthier batches was about 20 total moths and in one night I collected over 1800 eggs. Each night there were several hundred eggs until they died off. I don't know for sure how many females I had. Other times I get maybe a few hundred in a week.
 
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pigglett79

Avid Member
I try to collect eggs ever day or two to keep up with them. Worms start hatching in a few days. I go through a lot of tomato plants because I get tired of collecting eggs and just throw everything out LOL. I try to cycle them so that I have at least a couple weeks or more between moths.
 

SteveFrench

New Member
Awesome, I'm going to have way to many eggs to know what to deal with then. 7 thousand if i'm estimating from your amount right. Do you measure eggs by weight or is there a different system for finding output. Think about 4 hummingbird feeders is about right to feed that many?
 

pigglett79

Avid Member
I just count them by hand because I have a low volume. I think 4 humming bird feeders would be fine. I use 1 for my 15-20 moths.
 

SteveFrench

New Member
In your video you have on your blog their is a light above the enclosure for them. Which type of light do you use for them, and what are the Benifits?
 

pigglett79

Avid Member
In your video you have on your blog their is a light above the enclosure for them. Which type of light do you use for them, and what are the Benifits?

It is just a plant grow light. I learned that a long day cycle is necessary or they will go in to diapause which can last for months. So I have the lights on 14 hours a day to prevent the pupae from going in to diapause when the days get shorter. And science it is a plant grow light it helps keep the tomato plant healthy.

One winter I didn't have a light on them and the pupae went in to diapause and didn't emerge for 3 months. It was hard to get them to finally develop in to moths after that. I keep the adult worms and pupae under the lights.
 
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