Caterpillar Forming a Chrysalis on Floral Tube Rack?
1. Floral Tube Racks with SHELVES
I recommend only installing the top shelf so it's easier to deal with this situation if it arises because a. it will be easier to get the chrysalis out b. you have a replacement shelf if you have to remove it.
If your caterpillar forms a chrysalis on the top shelf, it will have no problems forming a chrysalis there. Before doing anything, let the chrysalis dry for 48 hours. After that, you have a few options:
OPTION 1: Carefully remove the top shelf, and place it over a small styrofoam cooler. why styrofoam? If the butterfly falls, it can climb up this material.
OPTION 2: You can also use a food container, but would need to line it with a paper towel that goes up the side walls so the butterfly can crawl up to hang if it falls. These containers should be at least 4" in height to allow the butterfly to hang down properly.
OPTION 3: Turn the rack upside down and spray the chrysalis silk attached to the rack with water. Wait a few seconds and use a pin or toothpick on the silk button to detach the chrysalis. Once the chrysalis (with silk) is removed place it on a paper towel to dry for half an hour. Then rehang your chrysalis. Rehanging options here
OPTION 4: Same as #2 without rehanging. Just place the chrysalis on a paper towel on the cage floor and tape the chrysalis silk to the paper towel so it won't drag across the floor when a new butterfly emerges. See a butterfly emerge from the cage floor here
2. Floral Tube Racks with PEGS
1. Let the chrysalis dry for 48 hours before removing
2. Put down a towel or paper towels
3. Turn the rack upside down on top of the towel
4. Spray the silk above the chrysalis
5. Wait for one minute
6. Take a toothpick, or long needle and start gently pushing down the silk above the chrysalis
7. The silk will either wrap around the needle/toothpick or you can just gently lower it to the towel
8. Once the chrysalis (with silk) is removed place it on a paper towel to dry for half an hour.
9. Rehang your chrysalis. Rehanging options here.
3. Chrysalis on Rack PREVENTION
To prevent this from happening on either rack style you have a couple of good options. When large instar 4-5 caterpillars are getting close to forming a chrysalis:
1. Place a disposable shower cap around the rack carefully pierce the plastic where you want to insert a floral tube using a knife, scissors, floral pick, etc, and then stick the floral tubes through the plastic. The caterpillars have a ZERO chance of getting in either rack style.
2. Wrap saran wrap around the entire rack and repeat the same steps suggested above for the shower cap. Plastic wrap tears more easily, but it's something most of us have on hand.
3. To encourage caterpillars to crawl onto the cage roof (instead of down to racks) place racks close to cage walls so large caterpillars can easily crawl over.