Raising caterpillars in a container is great, but you have to put fresh leaves in daily. If you have a busy schedule, but still want to protect your caterpillars this enclosure will work well for you. All you have to do is tighten it around the branch of your host plant with your caterpillars inside. It is easy to make and low cost.
To make my netted sock enclosure I used scraps of window screening. You can cut out a square of any size depending on the branches size. This window screening square measures 19” x 17”.
After cutting out your square you will need to fold it. To sew around the edges I used clear fishing line. It is strong and blends in well. You can use thread if you don’t have any. Because you fold your window screening over you only have to sew the top and side. Leave the bottom open so you can slide your enclosure over the host plant.
After you sew both sides, you can turn it inside out so in looks better. The last step is weaving in the string to tighten the enclosure. After picking out your yarn, insert the string at the bottom of the bag. Next, sew all around the bottom until you come back to where you started. When you are finished don’t tie a knot so you can tighten the bottom of the bag and reopen it.
This small bag I made can protect small caterpillars and eggs from predators.
1. Make sure the branch you enclose has enough leaves for hungry caterpillars. You can move them to another branch when the food is eaten. If the caterpillars don’t have enough food they will eat each other.
2. I’ve learned from experience that if you don’t tighten the enclosure very well, the caterpillars will squeeze through the space to get out and wasps can get inside. They are sneaky!
3. The window screening bag can get weighed down by rain so securing it to another branch or wooden pole will make it more sturdy.
4. After collecting chrysalises out of the sock enclosure, you can sanitize it to use again.