how to get hornworm cocoons to hatch

natureboy86

New Member
Hey everyone. About 2 months ago I ordered a bunch of hornworms for my cham, many of which were too large. I researched a bit on how to get them to turn to moths. Following the direction of a few things I read, I placed them in a large container with soil, and left them alone. Weeks later, they all had buried as expected and turned into brown cocoons.

Here's the things, its been weeks, and no moths. Did i miss something on how to get them to hatch? I dug up about 5 cocoons right now, and the rip of the cocoons would actually wiggle like worms..like giant larvae if that makes sense? Weird Haha. Anyway, should I take than out of the soil? Should i place them near a heat source? I feel like the process is taking much longer than it should.

Thanks in advance
 

qdude46

Member
Well when I was a little kid I found one in my garden and tried to hatch it and after weeks of it in the cacoon I had learned that touching them kills them and my friend always moved it saying he was helping it but if you dug them up they are most likely dead but I would say wait until they are at least 2 months in the cacoon until you decide to give up or not.
 

natureboy86

New Member
What about the fact the bottom of the cocoons are wiggling when you grab them like larva? I thought that was weird..

Does anyone know if i should leave them buried in the soil or should I remove them and place them somewhere else?

Also, do the cocoons need heat to help the process?
 

carol5208

Chameleon Enthusiast
I don't think they need any type of heat. I have not hatched that many. But I had one that I set on a table behind something on my patio and it hatched.I forgot all about it! I have left some in a container of dirt and they hatched also. I think once they cocoon it doesn't matter where you put them. Just keep them at room temp. If anyone would like to correct me, please do as I am not too versed in this. I have six cocoons right now sitting in a container of dirt!
 

natureboy86

New Member
I don't think they need any type of heat. I have not hatched that many. But I had one that I set on a table behind something on my patio and it hatched.I forgot all about it! I have left some in a container of dirt and they hatched also. I think once they cocoon it doesn't matter where you put them. Just keep them at room temp. If anyone would like to correct me, please do as I am not too versed in this. I have six cocoons right now sitting in a container of dirt!
Thanks for your response. In your experience, do you leave them buried in the dirt or are they laying ontop? Also, have you picked one up and does it wiggle like a huge larvae? Lol I need someone to comment on this particular case because its weird i always thought a cocoon is a shell with something developing inside, not something that itself can wiggle
 

natureboy86

New Member
They do wiggle in the cocoon.
Ok thanks for clarifying. Any recommendations on what I should do from here. As of now, i habe probably 10 cocoons in a container with soil about 3-4 inches deep. They've been cocoons for about a month I'd say. Do I leave them be? Did i screw up by digging a few of them up to check on them?
 
The cocoons will hatch if they sense a photo period of 12+ hours. Make sure you place the container where they can sense the light change. I know they are buried and they are inside the cocoon but it works. Furthermore you can keep them in a tupperware container with pine shavings this will work good also.

If you are really interested in rearing them look at this page

http://insected.arizona.edu/manduca/

Good luck
 

pigglett79

Avid Member
Please read through my blog about breeding hornworms and let me know if you have more questions. I pretty much detail everything you need to know there. The manudca project page posted previously is helpful, but I felt that it lacked details I needed to be successful.

Also if the temps and lighting cycles are not right, they could go in to diapause and this could last for months. I had some that were in for about 6 months once, before I set up a light on top of their cage.
 

Brandin

Member
Hello so just reading, it could take up to 180 days and it doesn't matter if u touch them, but you don't want to fondle them. I dig mine up and place them in a tank with a stick something for them to hang from to strech their wings. I have never needed extra heat or read of that. Good luck
 

Chameleomom

Chameleon Enthusiast
I had some silkworms (5) that had cocooned.... so a I put them in the container they came in just to see what happened. I watched everyday and in about 4 weeks I woke up to 5 silk moths . I put them in with Blueberry and WHAM they were gone and he was wanting more
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
Well when I was a little kid I found one in my garden and tried to hatch it and after weeks of it in the cacoon I had learned that touching them kills them and my friend always moved it saying he was helping it but if you dug them up they are most likely dead but I would say wait until they are at least 2 months in the cacoon until you decide to give up or not.
They do not die if you touch them, if they were that fragile they would have gone extinct long ago.
 

Goose502

Chameleon Enthusiast
lol would just place the container you have them in inside your enclosure. I have them hatching all the time in my bioactive setup.
 

timw1

Chameleon Enthusiast
I had some silkworms (5) that had cocooned.... so a I put them in the container they came in just to see what happened. I watched everyday and in about 4 weeks I woke up to 5 silk moths . I put them in with Blueberry and WHAM they were gone and he was wanting more
Yup, I had the same happen. I just left them in the original container and did nothing. A few weeks later I had some big moths!
 
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