Saturnia pavonia (emperor moth)
The ova or eggs take two to three weeks to hatch stored at room temperature. They should be kept in a small plastic tub or petri dish. Do not add any leaves as this can kill the eggs. On hatching leave the larvae to eat the eggs shell if they want.
Larval feed on bramble, hawthorn, willow
Place kitchen roll on bottom of container, and stand the food up. This way the caterpillars are not sitting in their poo.
Clean the tub daily removing any old food plants and replacing with new. Any food with caterpillars on place back into tub , do not try to pick them of , as this can hurt their legs.
By the time they have moulted to l3 they can be placed into a mesh pop up and the plant food placed into a jam jar with water and stones make sure the water does not come above the stones.
Larval moult usually around 4 times to instar 5. They will be still for several days before walking out of their old skins.
Before beginning to make their cocoon, they will wander around and do a watery faecal movement. They spin their cocoons in a leaf or just in a corner of the cage. These are single brooded and need to be placed in an outhouse or fridge. When spring comes the cocoon can be placed or hung up in a flight cage.
They will emerge after 4 to 6 weeks
Moths when they emerge will need to be able to climb up the inside of cage to inflate its wings. Do not disturb during this time. After a few hours the males will begin to fly around in search of females. They can mate from 30minutes up to 2 hours, after the female will lay around 300 eggs on the cage sides over a few days.
Please note if not mated the female will still lay eggs, but they will not hatch.
The adult moths do not feed and live for 10-14 days.
These are Britain’s only silkmoth.