The only thing that helped was a mixture of water and Stop n Shop organic plant based dish detergent. Could I have maybe just beat them up a bit too much when I was washing them? I had about 20 healthy butterflies emerge this spring, but the next 10-12 were all diseased. I recommend wearing rubber gloves to keep your hands away from your eyes, and showering immediately thereafter if you are tending a large number of plants. What can I do to save the plant? PS…I don’t think it would be toxic to future eggs/caterpillars, but you could always rinse off the plants with water if you are concerned. It’s been all day now and they’re slow to munch. Would aphids cause leaves to turn yellow? I have been wondering what the heck is wrong with my plant! All it takes is about five to ten caterpillars to demolish your plant. Its been damp lately but the plants have been protected from being rained on directly and I have only been watering them minimally. When spraying plants, make sure you get all sections and under the leaves too…, Well, I found more spots today, removed the leaves, and sprayed the plants and sprayed the dirt with an almost 50-50 solution of 3% hydrogen peroxide. Is it a light dusting or a drench? Lots of foliage since I trimmed it back. Everything I've read has a 50/50 split of people that are super anti-bud washing and those that swear by it. But as spring arrived, the leaves started looking sickly. Hi Pat, I’m not familiar with the issue. When they are soon going to molt, they generally crawl away from the milkweed and sit still for hours (even up to a full day). I’ve brought them in and have them in their own cage. I thought of cutting down the plant totally just in case I missed something. I figure assassin bugs kill lots of caterpillars, like cutworms and loopers, in addition to the occasional monarch or other desirable insect they get. hi Meg, if it’s not planted in well drained soil, root rot is a possibility, although i haven’t seen this with tropical milkweed in our northern region. 3. Is there a way to send you an electronic picture. Prepare a cup of soapy water or half-alcohol and half-water mixture. Is there anything else I can do? 3) Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Kill Fungus Gnats. Hi Debbie, this sounds similar to the weevil damage on swamp milkweed, but i have not heard of them on tropical milkweed before. Does that affect the caterpillars negatively if later, eggs are laid on the plants and caterpillars eat the leaves? I put it in a large glass spaghetti jar filled with water and just the leftover loose soil that was on the roots. Tony, I’ve been concerned about my milkweed leaves turning purple and dropping off. This is happening on both our ground-planted swamp milkweed and also on our potted tropical milkweed plants. I didn’t see anywhere that talked about how often you can spray. When leaves turn yellow, or start getting spotting/discoloration, try one or more of the following: If you’ve successfully conquered milkweed diseases by using other techniques not listed, please share your experience and help a gardener out…, Valentine Gift Ideas for a Butterfly Lover, Start or Improve your Monarch Butterfly Garden, Butterfly Garden Book for Monarchs- Instant Download, Top Tools, Supplies, and Resources for Raising Monarch Butterflies, Monarch Butterfly Kits to Raise Caterpillars into Butterflies, 25 Milkweed Plant Ideas for North American Butterfly Gardens, Winter Sowing Milkweed Seeds Part 1: Supply Checklist. The nurseries don’t seem to be any help. If an infected butterfly lays eggs, they will be infected and can spread the OE to other healthy cats who crawl over the same plants. I was going to dig up most of their milkweed and transplant it. Some are more red in color than green. In continuous growing regions, tropical milkweed should be cut back periodically so fresh growth can emerge: I started several tropical milkweed from cuttings, and they were doing well until a couple of days, the leaves have tiny white spots and the leaf color is lighter green. Any suggestions? I tried the peroxide, but this is really bad and it did not help at all. Would the hydrogen peroxide possibly work? This article mentions using a hydrogen peroxide mix to kill fungus. The tachnid fly has been covered. Could it possibly be water related—not enough or too much? The plants are only about 2′ tall and bloom pods are just beginning to appear. These shelters can be bought online. 2. If you cut back the burnt foliage, new growth should appear healthier…good luck! Another advantage of the Peroxide breaking down is that it releases free Oxygen into the area. I checked for spiders/mites etc but can’t seem to figure out what has happened. This sounds like it would be a good idea for you next season. Two different nurseries for my 5 gallon mildweed (tropical) plants. Yeah, I'm kinda scared to see what comes out of my buds. I am learning that the Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) contains a protozan parasite Ophryocystis elektroscirrha that kills off the monarchs and the caterpillars. A: You definitely should not use any toxic insecticide, since that could kill the caterpillars as well. If you want to attract butterflies and pollinators, an “organic” approach is essential to your success. Hi Donna, in Minnesota I used the treatment preventatively in the soil before milkweed returns. ), I notice one of my milkweed plants is growing yellow leaves at the bottom. This way you can find caterpillars and protect the plants. No way. Spray spores away– spray milkweed plants and the surrounding soil with a hydrogen peroxide solution to kill fungus spores: Hydrogen Peroxide Mix for Sick or Fungusy Plants, Find a Garden Sprayer for your Hydrogen Peroxide Mix. Because it's so diluted, I don't think it would be an issue for monarch eggs or caterpillars, but you would have to test to know for sure. Hi Lynne, I’m not a plant disease expert. April 16 at 8:34 pm. This bacterial disease is spread mainly by leaf hoppers and is recognized by yellowing leaves with twisted shapes, and die back of branches. 2. Hi all, I know that bud washing is a pretty contentious process, but I had a heavy attack from caterpillars (and some bud rot that followed). Hi Brenda, you could always try spraying leaves with a hydrogen peroxide solution and/or removing affected leaves as is listed in the post…, Will the peroxide help with rust spots do the leaves and will it hurt the caterpillars . Will hydrogen peroxide kill bugs in soil? A strong enough bleach solution to kill all of the OE spores would also destroy the monarch … All of it is infected. Hi Todd, This hunter is a Predatory Stink Bug nymph in the subfamily Asopinae. Hi Tammy, I would just removed the affected leaves. 10% hydrogen peroxide will kill weeds. 2. For the first time, my milkweed is covered with rust fungus. Told me he trusted his vendor and told me he had a few calls with problems with the milkweed. This article mentions using a hydrogen peroxide mix to kill fungus. The herbicide kills all plants in its path, except for the GE crop. I’d also like to add that last year I had the worst aphid infestation imaginable. Help! They then told me because my plants were indoors that that was the problem. Hydrogen peroxide also helps your plants grow by putting more oxygen into the soil. of wetting agent (dishwashing liquid will do) Use this mixture as a foliar spray to keep your plants healthy and free from bugs. Hi Ralph, I only spray plants after I’ve checked for eggs and caterpillars. They couldn’t offer me a solution. I soak the soil with the solution before plants start coming up. I don’t know where to turn to an answer. Hello! If you’re having a lot of problems with this, you might want to consider rearing them in separate containers to see if you can avoid this problem in the future. I though maybe milkweed weevil eggs, but not sure…. I would focus on adding more pesticide-free milkweed plants to your garden, or there won’t be enough to feed them all. Will this dilute spray harm them if some hits them by accident? More info here: What is the best way to trim back my milkweed? Native milkweed typically looks pretty bad by the end of the season, so your milkweed may be … If i could offer a suggestion, find out who your local land grant university is for your state. I've wiped out the little bastards with BT, but now I'm wondering if a bud wash would be a good idea to clean off any residual BT and leftover caterpillar poop. Milkweeds can take full sun with some wilt if temp goes up to 110 , temp around 80-mid 90’s should be ok …they don’t need much water after the first year. I am thinking of cutting most of it down to stems and then spraying the stems and the ground and then hope there is new growth in August. … I don’t spray h202 on eggs/caterpillars so I can’t say for sure if it would harm them. Since these caterpillars like to hide during the heat of the day, they will find their way into and under the burlap bags, making it very easy for you to kill lots of them quickly. Should I just cut them all back and treat the ground and let them try to re-grow? I’m just wondering about future eggs/cats. I grew my seeds in 8 “cow pots” sitting in a plastic container sitting on heat mats and all under lights. 1. The only plants not infected are the family jewels plants. Several seemed to have tried to chrysallis to early since I see the silky black pile on the leaf and they were very small. Should I try and find new cuttings from a different source? Replenish their milk?– for fungi similar to blackspot, try this simple rose remedy after removing the affected leaves: note: If you’re spraying sickly milkweed and notice webbing on the plant, you’re probably dealing with microscopic (almost) spider mites and can check out our milkweed pests page for specific treatment options. I then explained that I had been doing things this way for a long time and never before had a problem. In Indiana it’s Purdue. Hi – I just noticed that my otherwise healthy looking Asclepias tuberosa – butterfly weed – has yellow-ish leaves with dark green veins. Please! Just break off yellow leaves and discard. Hydrogen peroxide also adds more oxygen to the soil to prevent root rot. Plants affected by this should be immediately removed and discarded. Is this something that happens to milkweed? The acceptance from the EPA is based on data from extensive testing on each product. I hope the disease pages link helps you figure out what’s going on…good luck! I would not spray while they are present. It’s the sort of thing I see when my blueberries need more acidic soil – sclerosis. Using the wrong spray technique can kill your caterpillars by launching them off the milkweed to places only seen by superheroes with x-ray vision… To avoid this tragedy: 1. It looks like tiny black / brown dots all over the underside and almost like bruised or wet spots on the top side. Leaves can also look mottled if infested with spider mites: Tony, do you have to use food grade hydrogen peroxide? The black spots on my curassavica look exactly like your picture so I’m going out right now to remove the unhealthy ones. I would post your photo in a facebook group like this: My swamp milkweed plants has reddish/purple edges on some of the leaves. Thoughts? Over the years, I’ve been less concerned about what’s ailing our milkweed, and more concerned about treating it early. This can be avoided by bringing in eggs. Hi Wheelz, this sounds like a potential virus (NPV) or bacterial disease. Funguses are often the result of too much rain or watering. Monarch caterpillars grow fast and molt (shed their skin) five times during their growth. Hi Kathy, it sounds like you are having a major issue with tachinid flies. Hi Sara, this happens to milkweed in mid-late summer…most often on swamp milkweed. It was the 1st one I’ve seen this season here in Massachusetts. My success rate is really good. Today it’s wilting and almost looks like it’s rotting at the base. Spray well, and rinse well. Any pesticides/insecticides that kill milkweed bugs will also kill Monarch and Queen caterpillars. Alcohol, however, also is lethal to monarch eggs and larvae, so care must be taken when dabbing. I thought it was from the heat and lack of rain this summer, but now I’m going to remove all of the yellow mishapen plants and hope for some healthy ones to come back up. I suspect they came from the same butterfly and the sae thing would have happened in the wild, but it’s horrible to watch. Hi Ashlee, the plant disease shouldn’t affect the caterpillars. Hi Maureen, whenever your treating plants with anything whether it’s a pesticide or considered monarch-safe, it’s always good idea to apply when there are no monarch eggs or caterpillars on the plant. When plant leaves get fungus, I remove them so it won’t spread. It’s a simple three step method. hi Kat, if your plants are getting too much direct sun too quickly the leaves can burn. I sure would like to get some input so I can get back on the right track and stop killing all these caterpillars. I successfully raised over 50 butterflies at the beginning of the season and now the last 3 cages have been dying as the cats get nice size , they stop eating and just sit there for days and gradually die. If there are too many on a plant, do they try to go elsewhere? If an egg is on a problem leaf, you can cut off a small piece of the leaf (with the egg) and place it on a healthy cutting or leaf. Will they be fine having been on that plant? Thanks! I also use it for overwintering plants indoors. Hydrogen peroxide is a nontoxic alternative to chemical pest control and breaks down into water and oxygen. I have a gray film on the leaves of my plants. I have also noticed that the leaves on some plants (even in other locations) are very small. Hi Emily, ants are monarch predators. I’m not sure what triggers it…perhaps cooler temps or less sunlight? Hi Joanne, I’ve seen this before too and just removed the affected leaves. Hi Michelle, we use h202 preventatively (in spring before milkweed emerges) and to overwinter plants indoors. Do not compost diseased leaves/stems and risk spreading fungus spores into the soil. This strategy has worked well to keep our milkweed patches healthy and ready to support monarchs. Mix equal parts 3% hydrogen peroxide and distilled water. How do I know if the cuttings are ok for these caterpillars? We always turn over the soil a few times with a large shovel before planting. During that time I have raised a few hundred monarchs very successfully indoors. I’m not sure if foreign substances would affect their perception…again, you can always test. I don’t want to hurt them.. I’m in central Florida. I’ll look first, and remove any I find to safety, but of course I may miss some. Things here are in a mess. Thanks. Hi Karen, I would remove the affected leaves and try spraying the plants (and soil) with hydrogen peroxide after…good luck! At least I know what to do next year. Not sure I want to go there. I planted a butterfly and pollinator garden a couple of months ago. I’m new to the this and don’t want to do anything that is going to worsen the situation. ). Do you think this is fungal? Note that bleaching eggs can help prevent the transmission of viruses and bacteria to monarchs, and can lower the risk of OE transmission, but will not completely kill all of the OE spores. Hi! Any suggestions? I have not seen any aphids on them or other bugs for that matter. For info on specific plant pathogens: I have just begun raising monarchs. Remove sick leaves– Whenever you come across sickly milkweed leaves, remove and discard. Do you know if those bacteria based fungicides are safe to use around monarchs? How can we detect if a plant is infected with the parasite? I also need to know if it’s safe to spray with H2O2 solution when eggs and cats are present? I'm at the end of my healing and now stocked up on TTO, ACV, Hydrogen Peroxide for ever! I am so interested in the H2O2 thing. Mist the milkweed plants from above so water mist rains down on them. Is this a water or soil condition issue? The milkweed in my backyard raised bed is afflicted by this. Thanks! Every bit of my milkweed has the rust colored fungus and my catties are eating them, so I hope the fungus doesn’t hurt them either. Filed Under: Milkweed Garden Ideas, Milkweed Garden Pests and Guests, Organic Gardening. There are links in the post for how much to use…we use the chart for sick/fungusy plants. Tony, what peroxide mixture did you use to water your dirt before plants began to emerge? Of course, they accept no responsibility and told me they know nothing about caterpillars etc. This develops on the leaves then the leaf yellows and drops off. Spray the plants while they are inside the cage or have cutting containers on a boot tray where you can easily see them if they fall. I’ve not been successful with the last 80+ caterpillars. Yellowing leaves can be from too much or too little water…adjust water levels to see if this makes a difference. Thanks. All I do is remove the most affected leaves, which are usually at the bottom. I have 5 monarch chrysalises safe inside now. was it the 1 tablespoon of 3 % for each cup of water? They all have the problem. So I’m unsure why after many months it’s begun dying. I would research thoroughly…good luck! The wings that don’t open and deformed chrysalises would make me thing there has been an OE infestation. Hey Tony, will spraying my milkweed with the hydrogen peroxide mix for fungus hurt monarch eggs or cats. Thank you so much for this! Tony Gomez says. I wonder what the issue is. What could be causing this problem? Or is it not getting enough sun? 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