Sunday, June 01, 2008

Black Swallowtail Caterpillars on dill...


I had picked up my last dill plant, planning to toss it into my compost barrel. Noticed just in time that it had Black Swallowtail caterpillars all over it. Thirteen, on a tiny, nearly-dead plant. They were making quick work of what was left of its vitality. I have plenty of Florence Fennel in the garden, so I stuck a couple long fronds into the pot, alongside the dill. Within seconds, the caterpillars were happily munching on the fennel.
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6 comments:

akeorlando said...

I know I should find these little creatures cute rather than creepy, but when I see them they send shivers down my spine! ICK!

Wicked Gardener said...

When do you plant dill down here? I'd like to attract some of these guys to my garden and dill seems to do the job, but it looks as if the season is about over for dill.

Anonymous said...

Common fennel works best in Florida. Once established it will self propagate. The black swallowtails will be all over it within 1.5 years or less.

Anonymous said...

I had two beautiful black swallowtails just today "hatch" from chyrsalises on a dill plant. Yes, the caterpillars did make quick work of the dill; but watching the butterflies develop was worth it. A beautiful sight to see them newly emerged.

Anonymous said...

We just found about 20 Black Swallowtail caterpillars on our parsley plant. They have nearly devoured the entire plant so I went out to buy some more plants for them today. We live in Oviedo and couldn't find any decent plants. We checked Home Depot, Lowes and Target (Lucas was closed already). I bought a plant at Lowes but it is barely alive and pretty pathetic. Hopefully Lucas will have some more plants when I call them in the morning. Thanks for the tip about dill. Those are fairly easy to find right now, so I'll buy some of that if things don't work out with the parsley. The caterpillars are quite large already and the yellow spots are very pronounced, so I expect they'll create their chrysallises soon. Thanks again for the information! :-)

Traci D. said...

I also have the catapillars all over my parsley. How long does it take once they are in their chrysallis to become butterflies?