***2023 season is complete. Pre-ordering will open in January 2024 for Spring 2024 shipping.
****SHIPPING to ALL 50 States.
Polyphemus is the largest giant silk moth in the Pacific Northwest. They can also be found throughout the contiguous United States. Coming in a variety of brown tones, the adult moths are known for their distinctive dark eyespots and graceful grey and pink markings. You can read more on this blog post about why they're one of our favorite species.
Polyphemus caterpillars get HUGE. They start off as tiny, adorable green caterpillars and grow into giant, adorable green caterpillars with yellow tubercles. Be prepared for the caterpillars to eat a LOT! They need a tremendous amount of mass and energy to metamorphose into giant moths. Not only that, but they won't eat as adults (having only vestigial mouth parts), so they rely on stored body fat for the energy that the males need to find a mate and the females need to produce eggs.
This species is fairly simple for beginners. Keep in clean conditions, replacing host plant every few days and remove frass from sealed rearing container. From the third skin shedding onwards, rear on cut hostplant in water and an airy pop-up tent or outside conditions sleeved on live plant to prevent disease. (if rearing indoors in pop-up mist daily) Make sure you have a good supply of fresh, pesticide-free food (list below).
You will receive ten (10) or twenty (20) Polyphemus Silkmoth eggs per order
Eggs will hatch about 2 weeks after they are laid by the female.
We guarantee live eggs, and check for egg fertility by keeping some reserve ova.
Make sure that your mail arrives in a cool location, or that someone is there to meet them on arrival. (Eggs can cook in the sun, and we only refund if our reserve eggs don't hatch)
If temperatures in your area are expected to be over 85F, protect your eggs in transit with the insulated box and ice pack option.
Caterpillars will need plenty of leaves to munch on after hatching. There is a long list of possible hardwoods leaves that they may accept. (See truncated list at the bottom), and make sure to have several options available and see which leaves they choose. Here, we raise them on Willow, but they accept many hardwoods. Oak is considered a universal host plant for them.
If you have additional questions, please email. We will do our best to reply to questions as time permits. Please be patient, as we're busy rearing large quantities of hungry caterpillars all season, and sometimes will be out collecting for days at a time too.
Possible hostplants to try:
Oak (best choice if you have only one choice) Birch Alder Walnut Willow Apple Bittercherry Wild cherry Chokecherry Maple