Overwintering Techniques > Refrigerator--Speyeria unfed First Instars
The following presentation provides a step-by-step tutorial of one successful strategy of how to keep Speyeria unfed first instar larvae alive for up to 180 days in the refrigerator.
Special thanks to Abe Homan for providing this detailed information as well as photographs.
Step #1--Once a Speyeria ovum hatches into a first instar and eats its eggshell, it is ready to be placed on a moist paper towel to hydrate itself. It will drink and absorb sufficient water to maintain hydration during the wintering process.
Step #2--Place unfed first instars in a pill bottle with a floating rubber seal that is attached to the lid. These pill bottles are available at Rite Aid. Place no moisture inside the pill bottles. Small amounts of moisture enters and escapes these bottles through the external environment.
Step #3--Place the pill bottles either in a small squat tub to insure that they remain vertical in the refrigerator (it is important that they do not fall over) or place directly inside your large storage container.
Step #4--Pour a small amount of water into the bottom of the storage container. Place lid on loosely to insure that the environment within the storage container is 100 percent humid. This humidity will subtly enter and exit the pill bottles in such a fashion that larvae will neither mold nor dessicate; but remain healthy. Tweak water levels as needed to maintain proper balance.