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Discussion in 'Diseases & Pests' started by OldGuy43, Nov 11, 2012.
Don't kill caterpillars!
I like some butterflies. I always have a caterpillar on my dill that makes a nice swallowtail butterfly. I don't know which swallowtail. The closest I can find to it is the Anise Swallowtail but that's not in my area. Those caterpillars live unless a bird finds them.
I always have some caterpillars on my broccoli and cabbage that makes a white butterfly with dark circles on its wings. It's called a cabbagemoth butterfly. It's kind of pretty but I don't wait on the birds to find those. And I've gotten enough practice that maybe 30% of the time I can knock that butterfly out of the air with my cap.
I plant enough parsley to sacrifice some to those little green and black caterpillars. They turn into black swallowtails, I think.
Birds seldom eat swallowtail caterpillars. If you tap one they will pop out what look like horns. They are actually scent glands that spray out a repellant that keeps most predators from eating them.
This year when I picked off the dill flowers for pickles, 8 or 9 of those caterpillars disappeared. They were really exposed when those flowers came off. They were different sizes so I did not think they had all pupated at the same time. Besides, I could not find any chrysalis.
I did not see it myself, but I figured it was birds. What do you think it might have been?
They may have simply wandered off looking for a secondary host plant. Their preferred food is actually anise. We have a lot of wild anise in our area so swallotails are pretty common around here but they are dormant right now and swallowtail caterpillars have been showing up on my lovage which is probably pretty low on their preferred food list but they make do with what they can find to eat. No doubt there are predators which are not deterred by their repellant. When other insects are scarce birds may well eat them.
If you like butterflies. Take a look at the video I posted yesterday. Absolutely amazing footage of hummingbirds and butterflies.
I do love butterflies of all kinds.
Thanks for saying the same thing, please don't kill them..
The Monarchs are in trouble right now due to loss of Winter habitat to illegal logging in Mexico and monocropping in the US. All that weed spraying is taking away the milkweed the caterpollars need. If you want to help them out plant some milkweed in your flower garden.
Can you buy milkweed seed?
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