16 Aug NPV – Nuclear Polyhedrosis Virus causes caterpillars to shrivel and die!
Nuclear Polyhedrosis Virus
Did your caterpillars crawl up in your rearing container, hang, and die? The stench is horrific and the caterpillars turn to dark black liquid? Chances are they have NPV, Nuclear Polyhedrosis Virus. Melt, Wilt, and Black Death are a few of the other names that are used for this virus.
Sadly, I have had caterpillars die from NPV various seasons. Once a milkweed plant starts carrying the virus, all the caterpillars on that particular plant shrivel and hang in an upside down ‘V’, shrivel and die.
The good news, as shared on https://butterfly-fun-facts.com/npv-nuclear-polyhedrosis-virus/
You didn’t cause it. It is natural in nature. But, we can stop the spread in a given season by following the cleaning recommendations in this article. 95% water and 5% bleach and/or 6 hours of direct sunlight. Also, wash your hands, wash everything you’ve touched with the water-bleach or disinfectant. It spreads easily. Read the info to be well-equipped to respond to NPV in your garden.
And, as the article shares,
Don’t become discouraged if NPV visits your yard. It can emotionally knock you down to the ground. Remember that it’s normal in nature. You didn’t do it. Nature did! Just pick yourself up, clean things up, and keep on growing!