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Beginner Vegetables: Caterpillar on Parsley

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Syrumani
Whitsett, NC
(Zone 8a)

June 27, 2012
9:36 AM

Post #9183370

Am I a Good caterpillar, or a Bad caterpillar?

Thumbnail by Syrumani
Click the image for an enlarged view.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

June 27, 2012
9:45 AM

Post #9183390

In my opinion, ALL caterpillars are BAD!
cocoa_lulu
Grand Saline, TX
(Zone 7b)

June 27, 2012
9:54 AM

Post #9183403

It's a swallow tail, I can't remember which species likes parsley. Good or bad, depends on how much you like parsley.lol Personally, they get a pardon around here :0)
Syrumani
Whitsett, NC
(Zone 8a)

June 27, 2012
10:06 AM

Post #9183420

Well, to be honest, I like parsley, but I bought this one because a few years back, I got a parsley plant for my son (he was 5), and it had a caterpillar on it . . . kinda looked like this one. Ever since, he has asked me to get a caterpillar plant. I went to water it last night, and there it was! The heat and afternoon sun gets most of my plants, so they are mainly there to have "something" to water. So, I don't mind feeding a caterpillar. I just didn't want something that would destroy my 2 tomato plants.

cocoa_lulu
Grand Saline, TX
(Zone 7b)

June 27, 2012
10:29 AM

Post #9183463

That's a sweet story, if your son is still young enough to be interested..The butterfly or Texas forum will be able to instruct you on 'raising' the caterpillar to butterfly. We tried a few times when my kids were younger, but I have so many parasitic wasp that lay eggs in the caterpillars. It turned into a horror show, not quite the memories I had hoped to create.lol

Swallowtails won't bother tomatoes :0)

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

June 27, 2012
10:43 AM

Post #9183476

That caterpillar will turn into a BEAUTIFUL butterfly, if you let it... Next time, buy more parsley plants, and move the cat to it's own plant. Then, you can have some parsley, too.

speediebean

speediebean
Somewhere in, MD
(Zone 7b)

June 28, 2012
3:18 AM

Post #9184324

We've been getting tons of these on our parsley at work, and at a nursery, there really is no way to just let 'em be... we gotta sell the stuff!! I pluck 'em off daily and put them in the ivy! < =D
(mind you, not the ivy that we sell, but the stuff growing decoratively around the crape myrtle). ;)

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

June 28, 2012
7:48 AM

Post #9184556

Speediebean,

You've got the idea! They'll reward you with a beautiful showing when the time comes!
bellieg
Virginia Beach, VA

June 28, 2012
8:36 AM

Post #9184640

This type if caterpillar can devour a garden in few hours!!
sweetie77
Kankakee, IL
(Zone 5b)

June 28, 2012
11:00 AM

Post #9184848

This will be a beautiful butterfly, but it feeds on parsley family. I just moved him off my carrots and onto an overgrown parsley patch! He is happy there and I saved my carrots!

Thumbnail by sweetie77
Click the image for an enlarged view.

NatureLover1950
Vicksburg, MS
(Zone 8a)

June 28, 2012
12:41 PM

Post #9185020

Syrumani,
I just finished raising three Monarch cats. If you want to do that with your butterfly caterpillar, just clip some of your parsley, wrap it in a moist paper towel and put it in a clean quart jar. Then you can clip off the piece of parsley the caterpillar is on and add it to the jar and cover the top with a piece of cheese cloth or netting using a rubber band to secure it. Keep an eye on your caterpillar--when it has finished eating all the leaves off it's parsley, remove that piece and give it a fresh stalk (clean the caterpillars droppings out of the jar at this time). Shortly, it will attach itself either to the rim of the jar or the cheese cloth hanging in a "J" shape. It will shed it's skin for the final time and form it's chrysalis. After a week or two, your butterfly will emerge. When it has dried it's wings, it will be ready to release into your flowerbed. My grandkids love to watch this process. I had a cat like yours on my dill a week ago but I left it alone because the birds don't go onto my front porch so I felt like it was safe.
sweetie77
Kankakee, IL
(Zone 5b)

June 28, 2012
3:20 PM

Post #9185198

oh man! Awesome idea. I wish I would have done that! I have 2- 4 year old girls that would have loved to watch it turn! Oh well, Next time.

speediebean

speediebean
Somewhere in, MD
(Zone 7b)

June 29, 2012
3:23 AM

Post #9185750

NatureLover, what a WONDERFUL idea!!! If I see any more on the parsley at work I will collect and "save" them just like you said. I've got jars and cheese cloth around here somewhere, I'll take 'em to work with me. THANK YOU!!!

We get lots of customers with small children, it'd be a really cool "project" for them to check out when they come visit. =)
NatureLover1950
Vicksburg, MS
(Zone 8a)

June 29, 2012
9:30 AM

Post #9186135

It's a real thrill for the little kids as well as the "big kids." :-} I haven't met anyone yet who isn't a little awed when they realize we can raise butterfly caterpillars. I don't remember the percentage of caterpillars that survive without human intervention but it's pretty small. I never get tired of releasing a gorgeous butterfly--their colors are at their absolute best when they first emerge. Good luck to all who pursue raising caterpillars--it's very rewarding. One other thing--sometimes, if you leave the butterfly in the jar long enough for it to dry it's wings, you can get it to walk out onto your hand just before you release it. Little kids just squeal with delight if they get to do this. This kind of project beats the heck out of learning about nature from a book.

This message was edited Jun 29, 2012 1:17 PM
BCH521
Homeworth, OH
(Zone 5b)

June 29, 2012
4:00 PM

Post #9186694

NatureLover1950 wrote:Syrumani,
I just finished raising three Monarch cats. If you want to do that with your butterfly caterpillar, just clip some of your parsley, wrap it in a moist paper towel and put it in a clean quart jar. Then you can clip off the piece of parsley the caterpillar is on and add it to the jar and cover the top with a piece of cheese cloth or netting using a rubber band to secure it. Keep an eye on your caterpillar--when it has finished eating all the leaves off it's parsley, remove that piece and give it a fresh stalk (clean the caterpillars droppings out of the jar at this time). Shortly, it will attach itself either to the rim of the jar or the cheese cloth hanging in a "J" shape. It will shed it's skin for the final time and form it's chrysalis. After a week or two, your butterfly will emerge. When it has dried it's wings, it will be ready to release into your flowerbed. My grandkids love to watch this process. I had a cat like yours on my dill a week ago but I left it alone because the birds don't go onto my front porch so I felt like it was safe.


The black swallowtail caterpillars that use parsley as a host need a stick placed in the jar so they can form their chrysallis properly.
BCH521
Homeworth, OH
(Zone 5b)

June 29, 2012
4:02 PM

Post #9186696

Here is what their chrysalis looks like.

Thumbnail by BCH521
Click the image for an enlarged view.

flsusie
New Port Richey, FL

June 29, 2012
4:17 PM

Post #9186708

I plant fennell to keep them well fed and off my other plants. The foliage is beautiful in flower beds.
Syrumani
Whitsett, NC
(Zone 8a)

June 29, 2012
7:17 PM

Post #9186873

NatureLover1950 wrote:Syrumani,
I just finished raising three Monarch cats. If you want to do that with your butterfly caterpillar, just clip some of your parsley, wrap it in a moist paper towel and put it in a clean quart jar. Then you can clip off the piece of parsley the caterpillar is on and add it to the jar and cover the top with a piece of cheese cloth or netting using a rubber band to secure it. Keep an eye on your caterpillar--when it has finished eating all the leaves off it's parsley, remove that piece and give it a fresh stalk (clean the caterpillars droppings out of the jar at this time). Shortly, it will attach itself either to the rim of the jar or the cheese cloth hanging in a "J" shape. It will shed it's skin for the final time and form it's chrysalis. After a week or two, your butterfly will emerge. When it has dried it's wings, it will be ready to release into your flowerbed. My grandkids love to watch this process. I had a cat like yours on my dill a week ago but I left it alone because the birds don't go onto my front porch so I felt like it was safe.


OMG! That is a great idea! I can do that! I will go get more parsley plants tomorrow, so that I will have enough to continue feeding it. Does it need water? Or does it get that from the parsley too?

As for the stick, should it be any stick off the ground, or can I use one of the bamboo sticks I get for kabobs?
BCH521
Homeworth, OH
(Zone 5b)

June 29, 2012
7:23 PM

Post #9186887

kabob sticks would be wonderful, and it gets everything it needs from the parsley. Just make sure you keep it fresh, and keep the container clean.
NatureLover1950
Vicksburg, MS
(Zone 8a)

June 30, 2012
7:02 AM

Post #9187263

I had kabob sticks in all three jars for my Monarchs but they all chose to attach to either the cheese cloth or the upper neck of the jar. Of all the Monarchs I've raised, I've only had one choose to use the kabob stick. I did neglect to mention it simply because they seem to rarely use it but I always do include one just in case. Sorry about the omission--it was unintentional.
We finished building our current home eight years ago and I've been slowly planting plants that attract butterflies, hummers, and bees. I've had some swallowtails, Monarchs, zebras, and others but this year has been the best so far. I put parsley out on my front porch and, as mentioned above, had one black swallowtail caterpillar on it. I was excited but did leave it on the parsley because birds don't come onto our porch. I located it's chrysalis up under the eave of our house and I'm watching it carefully to see if I can see it emerge.
Syrumani--if you run a search for butterfly larval food, you'll find that there are several herbs they use. Most are easily raised in pots. I'm adding one new herb each spring to encourage my butterflies to lay their eggs on them. They're so beautiful to watch and it's so wonderful to have so many fluttering around all my flowers.

drthor

drthor
Irving, TX
(Zone 8a)

June 30, 2012
1:42 PM

Post #9187739

Those are some of the baby butterflies I have on my fennel plants ... soon to be beautiful butterflies in my garden

Thumbnail by drthor   Thumbnail by drthor   Thumbnail by drthor
Click an image for an enlarged view.

BCH521
Homeworth, OH
(Zone 5b)

June 30, 2012
3:06 PM

Post #9187866

[quote="NatureLover1950"]I had kabob sticks in all three jars for my Monarchs but they all chose to attach to either the cheese cloth or the upper neck of the jar. Of all the Monarchs I've raised, I've only had one choose to use the kabob stick. I did neglect to mention it simply because they seem to rarely use it but I always do include one just in case. Sorry about the omission--it was unintentional.

You are right about the monarchs they usually go to the lid, or to the side of the jar, but the black swallowtails need a stick, or branch to attach themselves to. I've never seen one attach to a jar or lid like the monarchs.

I definately like your suggestion about herbs for the butterflies, as even if they don't use them as a host they they love the nectar.
Syrumani
Whitsett, NC
(Zone 8a)

June 30, 2012
3:53 PM

Post #9187921

I think it's dead . . . this is where the caterpillar was yesterday, but it doesn' tlook like any of the pictures I've googled for butterfly life cycles . . .

Thumbnail by Syrumani
Click the image for an enlarged view.

BCH521
Homeworth, OH
(Zone 5b)

June 30, 2012
4:01 PM

Post #9187933

Syrumani wrote:I think it's dead . . . this is where the caterpillar was yesterday, but it doesn' tlook like any of the pictures I've googled for butterfly life cycles . . .


Doesn't look good, but don't know for sure what happened. Post it on the hummingbird and butterfly gardening forum, and someone will know what it is, and what happened.

steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

June 30, 2012
4:05 PM

Post #9187937

ask Lepfarmer on the Texas forum. He will know.
NatureLover1950
Vicksburg, MS
(Zone 8a)

July 1, 2012
1:45 PM

Post #9188895

BCH521
Until this year when I had the black swallowtail show up on my dill, I didn't have any experience with that particular butterfly. I did notice that the cat's chrysalis was formed on the rim (or side) of our eaves, not on the flat underside like I've seen Monarch do. Nature is so interesting and I never get tired of learning new things about it.
Syrumani--I actually had four Monarch's I raised recently but, while three made it to full maturity, I had one that turned black in it's chrysalis like that. I haven't had time to run a search to see what happened to it--been way too busy canning veggies from the garden. If you find out, please post here so I can know too. Thanks.
Nature
Syrumani
Whitsett, NC
(Zone 8a)

July 1, 2012
2:43 PM

Post #9188961

Well, I am thinking also that I will go to that website that sells the butterfly caterpillars . . . that one with the net cage - it comes with the food, etc. That way, we will still have the netted enclosure after . . .
BCH521
Homeworth, OH
(Zone 5b)

July 5, 2012
4:28 PM

Post #9194464

I posted a photo of a black swallowtail chrysallis here a few days ago; here is the butterfly that eclosed today.

Thumbnail by BCH521
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Easybake
Arlington, TX

July 5, 2012
5:05 PM

Post #9194508

Very nice.

speediebean

speediebean
Somewhere in, MD
(Zone 7b)

July 6, 2012
2:31 AM

Post #9194919

How beautiful! Gives ya a warm and fuzzy Mommy-type feeling, huh? =)
steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

July 6, 2012
2:42 PM

Post #9195642

Beautiful. So rewarding to provide for them, isn't it.
BCH521
Homeworth, OH
(Zone 5b)

July 6, 2012
3:40 PM

Post #9195695

speediebean wrote:How beautiful! Gives ya a warm and fuzzy Mommy-type feeling, huh? =)


In my case a Daddy-type feeling, but yes u r right.

speediebean

speediebean
Somewhere in, MD
(Zone 7b)

July 7, 2012
5:10 AM

Post #9196188

Oh my goodness BCH, I am so sorry, my apologies!! **blush** Well, you have one splendid black swallowtail there, Sir. =)
BCH521
Homeworth, OH
(Zone 5b)

July 7, 2012
5:46 AM

Post #9196221

speediebean wrote:Oh my goodness BCH, I am so sorry, my apologies!! **blush** Well, you have one splendid black swallowtail there, Sir. =)


lol, no problem, glad you enjoyed the photo!

Bruce
Syrumani
Whitsett, NC
(Zone 8a)

July 8, 2012
4:15 PM

Post #9198129

I have a theory on what may have happened . . . Well, morning glory seeds are supposed to be "poisonous" if ingested. The way I have some pots hanging on the wall are parsley on bottem, then a loofa vine, then a morning glory pot on top. When I water, I water from the top pot, so the drainage could water the pots below. Do you think it possible that residue from the morning glory made it down to the parsley pot, and the bad stuff was absorbed into the roots that way? Poor caterpillar - yours is very pretty, BCH521!
BCH521
Homeworth, OH
(Zone 5b)

July 8, 2012
6:10 PM

Post #9198230

I'm thinking it just got a parasite, or disease of some sort. I don't know if morning glories are poisonous enough to do that.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

July 11, 2012
8:23 AM

Post #9201519

This thread is simply fascinating, and I am soooooooooooooooooooo glad the tide has turned toward doing what we can to preserve and foster the beauty that God has given us the opportunity to...^:-)^

Hugs!

Linda



This message was edited Jul 12, 2012 5:45 PM
BCH521
Homeworth, OH
(Zone 5b)

July 12, 2012
3:42 PM

Post #9203073

Gymgirl wrote:This thread is simply fascinating, and I am soooooooooooooooooooo glad the tide has turned toward doing what we can to preserve and foster the beauty that God has given us the opportunity to do...^:-)^

Hugs!

Linda



Definitely, especially this particular type as they are real easy to move off of our parsley, dill, & fennell. They love queen ann's lace, and we all probably have some of that around!!

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