Friday, June 13, 2008

War or Peace?

I'm growing caterpillars in my garden. Usually when I see a caterpillar in the garden I go into war mode and get my favorite implement of destruction - a rock. I leave the smooshed caterpillars out for the birds to eat. But when I see caterpillars on my dill, I change tactics. I leave them. "Why" do you ask? Swallowtails love my dill. I wasn't sure that the little larvae I saw three days ago was a swallowtail larva. It looked nothing like it. It was about 1/4" long and its front and back where black and had a white ring around its middle. But I let it live, just in case.

Now in just three days he is an inch long. In the photo, the one at the top is about two days old and the one at the bottom is about three days old. And as you can see, the older one has his true colors (at least I think he won't change too much) . He looks like a black swallowtail.

Right now I have about 10 caterpillars eating my dill and more keep hatching. I'm hoping the birds don't get them. I love the swallowtails flittering around my garden. They are more than worth the price of a little dill.


  1. Your so lucky to have swallowtail babies! The last two years in a row I have grown dill in hopes of seeing some swallowtail cats but to no avail sadly. Good luck with them.

  2. I am lucky. They keep changing from day to day. More green less black. They send out little orange horns when they get disturbed.

  3. I'm going to plant dill today. I love it that you pamper your butterflies. Do you still get a good crop? (Of dill, not swallowtails.)

  4. Oh I get a huge crop of both the leaves and seeds. But then I have way too much dill in my garden. It doesn't take over like my cilantro, but it really pops up everywhere. Dill is definitely a weed, albeit a welcome one.