parsley caterpillar - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 06-28-2005, 11:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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While gardening yesterday I came across a beautiful (but crazy looking) caterpillar on my parsley plant. I ran inside and googled for it and found out its a black swallowtail. went back out and there were six on my parsley plant. they're supposed to be really pretty once they turn into a butterfyly. the fact that they're eating my parsley plant isn't too big of a deal (i bought curley instead of italian by accident plus it's huge...way more than i can eat) my question is....they seem to poop ALOT!!!! i mean everywhere i look there's these dark green-black balls, all over my parsley. will just washing my parsley suffice? or will all the poop cause a problem? i really dont want to disturb them because butterflies can be so pretty!
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#2 of 8 Old 06-29-2005, 12:02 AM
 
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Yeah, I wouldntworry i guess you could wash it off.. just poop huh, basically what they just ate- the parsley-- the butterflys are worth it in my opinion.
~L
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#3 of 8 Old 06-30-2005, 12:01 PM
 
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i used to have tons of those caterpillers in my garden, they ate plants that i had plenty of there poop was never a problem, i just enjoyed them

mama to two amazing children son 10/27/07 and daughter 07/07/11

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#4 of 8 Old 07-02-2005, 09:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I went out to my garden today and they're ALL gone!! so sad becuase they were beautiful. maybe they cacooned somewhere that i just haven't found yet.
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#5 of 8 Old 07-02-2005, 10:11 PM
 
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We raised these same caterpillars last year. I found them on my parsley in October and took them inside because I figured they would just die in the cold. Just before they made cacoons they got really restless and wandered all over the place. One actually got out and I found it on the other side of my kitchen. Before this they never left the parlsey. I didn't even need a cage until the first one started wandering. So I think your caterpillars just went off to become butterflies.
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#6 of 8 Old 07-02-2005, 11:55 PM
 
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mine would just disapear like that also
i sometiems found cacoons but never as many as tehre where caterpillers, i had passion flowers, and fennel in my garden and they love both of those plants, also they where native to the area i lived, and a lot of people would put native plants to encurage them to live there, i dunno what native plants specifically though

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#7 of 8 Old 07-03-2005, 12:02 PM
 
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Hi Mama... I raise butterflies in my home, and was so excited to see your post. I'd LOVE to find some swallowtails on my parsley!
Parsley is a butterfly host....so they will lay their eggs on it - thus bringing you baby and adult caterpillars. If you turn the leaves up, you're likely to find more eggs which will bring you more catterpillars. Here's a link to see what the eggs look like: Butterflies, Cats, and Chrysalides If you scroll to about the middle of that page you will see a picture of what their cocoons look like - so maybe you can identify them.
Swallowtails do have quite a bit of enemies.... birds will eat the caterpillars...and ladybugs, ants, spiders, etc.. will eat their eggs... so if you have a bird feeder by your parsley - you might consider moving it to a different location to help protect the caterpillars. Here is another great website made by a man who raises swallowtails in his home: Berkeley's Anise Swallowtails

If you want to know how you can bring the next caterpillars you find into your home and watch them cocoon and turn into butterflies - PM me! I can help you do so successfully. I currently have about 15 cocoons in my home...and upteen cats, too. It's a wonderful learning experience for the kids! Oh, and there's something really beautiful about releasing a butterfly!

(The government even offers grants to raise butterflies because many types are becoming endagered with all of the increasing polution and an increase in enemies that eat them before they can become butterflies.)

Becca ~Mama to 3 (DD - 1/3/02) (DD - 2/16/04) (DS - 8/11/05)
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#8 of 8 Old 07-03-2005, 09:00 PM
 
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they DO poop a lot Black swallowtails were always brought inside in our house to pupate when we were kids - my mom had lots of parsley, so we'd go out and pick some for 'em every day. We loved those orange horns Since the poop is 100% parsely, a good wash is probably all you need to do - nothing that could really hurt you.
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