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Overwintering caterpillars

Not often have I tried to overwinter caterpillars but when I have, I've failed. This year, not exactly intentional, I'm trying to rear various eggs collected in August. Last night (09-28-18) we had a first frost so a hard frost will be coming.
What do I do with the cats?
I can't just suddenly cut off their food (because there isn't any) and stick them in the fridge as I would pupae (usually end of October).
Thank you for any advice and help.

Just wondering how things turned out....
Did you end up trying several options?

What I did
was clean out the rotting plants and excess frass but leave some plant material (as moisture?), add some milled peat, move them to the garage (which was colder than the house) for a week or so, took a look at them, still cats, and then put them into the fridge. I "plan" (best laid plans you know) to check them again this winter, take them out in the spring and see what happened/happens. If nothing else I'll learn how this doesn't work.

I did the same thing to each batch (different species). I would have liked to vary what I did but actually couldn't think of other ways to handle it. What was new this time was leaving plant material in the container.

Your post reminded me to wipe out extra moisture in the jars. In one there were 2 pupae that were not there when they went into the fridge. In another a couple of larvae that looked alive. In another, a larva laying ventral side up, not good. And in another tiny larvae, when touched with a brush, did more, albeit ever so slowly.

In all the egg containers the pieces of sponges were completely dry so I moistened them.

Thanks for the reminder!

sorry I didn't see this
I've overwintered plenty of caterpillars (and other critters), but don't know what species you are raising or if you were trying to keep them alive? Now I'm curious. :)

I didn't know what species I had either. I collected lep eggs from a live trap over the course of a few weeks of summer, divided them up by "looks" and date collected, gave them various foods, some cats ate and lived, some did not. But come winter some were still caterpillars and as I said, I've never been able to overwinter cats even when I knew what they were.

I put pretty much all of my rearings into the fridge for winter as I've gotten better success doing that than in a cool room in the basement or even the garage.

We had good snow cover this year, 1' to 4', temperatures dipping to about -15F.

I didn't quite check the jars every few weeks for moisture, too much, too little, but this spring all cats were dead, as per previous years.

oh, sorry :(
I'm very sorry to hear that your caterpillars died. For me, that's always heartbreaking because I put my heart and soul into keeping them happy and healthy.
Since I'm down here in Texas, if I get overwintering caterpillars, I just bring them inside in a butterfly cage and try to provide whatever they are eating, as potted plants or cuttings in floral tubes. However, I never tried to bring eggs in other than Monarchs/Queens, Swallowtail varieties, and other species where I always knew what to feed them.
Right now I'm trying to care for three moth species, all new to me, and doing my best.
It's always a joy to hear about what you are rearing, and I hope you continue posting.

that you are rearing (ok, trying to rear) some species you've not previously reared. It's hard when a target adult doesn't emerge but some of the information you get could be interesting, like this unsuccessful rearing (thanks to J&J):

So that one pupated, but never eclosed? It makes me wonder if my Hemileuca will ever eclose (I have three chrysalides right now).

I also grabbed two black fuzzy mystery caterpillars that I mistakenly thought were prepupal. One vanished in thin air (or unzipped the cage from the inside, got out, and zipped it back)(or burrowed in the dish of loose soil in his cage, but he doesn't strike me as a burrowing fellow).

And the third is a Psychomorpha epimenis, but I've got plenty of mustang grape here to feed him.
All three are completely new to me. Fortunately, I'm not madly in love with them as I am with my Oecanthus and katydid nymph.

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