Yellow Jackets killing Swallowtail caterpillars

Cleburne, TX(Zone 8a)

I planted an abundance of dill this year and had several very small Swallowtail caterpillars last week. Most of them disappeared. I observed a Yellow Jacket killing one and figure that's what happened to all of them. Any suggestions? Purchased a wasp trap a couple years ago and it was a complete waste of money.

At this time of year the last 4 years we have been blessed with lots of butterflies, especially Queens on blue mist, but this year the most we've seen at one time was 3. Wondering if the bad weather patterns we've had in Texas this year is to blame.






Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Then they blame farmers for lack of habitat for butterflies.

Cleburne, TX(Zone 8a)

Quote from CountryGardens :
Then they blame farmers for lack of habitat for butterflies.

I'm confused. I thought I was posting this on the Texas Gardening forum, hoping to get helpful feedback as to what others in my geographical area are experiencing, but you replied from Minnesota?

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

There are tons of butterflies here. I knew that wasps would kill cats but I didn't know yellow jackets did.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

This is a world wide site.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

I grow dill and have swallow tail caterpillars but there are many species. I also grow pipevines (Dutchman's pipes) to support Pipevine Swallowtail. What species are visiting your garden? We are more than familiar with yellow jackets what with that being the Ga. Tech mascot but, from what I see, my species swallow tails are being picked off by nesting birds.

Your post is a good question and, as mentioned by CG, is seen by people around the world. Many experienced gardeners like CountryGardens have sage advice. Sometimes even a humorous or ironic comment. I'm appreciative of that.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

And at Lisa...yellow jackets are predatory wasps. They'll go after any exposed earth worm, caterpillars or even snails with broken shells. They hunt fruit/nectar at certain times in their life cycle and are more carnivorous at others. Traps work well if, based on the season in your zone, you know where they are at in their cycle.

This message was edited May 27, 2016 8:17 PM

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Thank you Laurel, I didn't know that. I, for one, am having a fantastic butterfly season. I don't see many yellow jackets, more red wasps but they keep the tomato worm population down.

No, CG doesn't live in TX, but he's not stopping other Texans from posting. It's such a huge state there are tons of differences.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

The paper wasps are the main ones that sting and then carry off small caterpillars at my house. The put them down in the holes after laying an egg. They are for the larvae to feed on until it is mature. I do destroy their nests when I spot then.

Cleburne, TX(Zone 8a)

We are cursed with several kinds of wasps and also hornets that build nest in the ground. After comparing Google photos, it was a paper wasp that's killing our Swallowtail caterpillars. I guess my DH calls them yellowjackets because they look like the local high school football mascot. LOL.

I saw something last week that I've never seen before. Due to a knee problem recently, I've spent a lot of time in my recliner looking out the window. We have wicker furniture on our front porch and have had problems with wasps building nests underneath or on the back of it. I saw a male cardinal land on the back of a wicker chair and start pecking at something. There was a small wasp nest and he got a wasp and flew off and a while later came back and did the same thing. Since then I guess it is the same male that I've seen come back several times checking over the porch furniture. He's earning his keep -- or I guess earning all the black sunflower seed DH buys for the feeder.

Josephine, Arlington, TX(Zone 8a)

Yes, butterflies have many predators and wasps are one of them.
That is why it is such a good idea to raise them indoors, it gives them a much better chance at keeping their numbers up.
We have a big shortage of butterflies this year, although some people who live in the country don't seem to have a shortage.
I think that the general spraying for mosquitos here in the cities has a lot to do with the decline, They spray for the Zika virus, and west Nile virus, that spray falls on everything, and I think it is killing a lot of our pollinators. What can we do?

Magnolia, TX(Zone 9a)

Red wasps are supposedly afraid of paperwasps, those pprwasps are deadly. We mixed up a peppermint spray last summer that doesn't kill them, but wasps don't like it. My little lizards also hunt the wasps and bees, but they can't stay ahead of how fast the wasps hatch.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

We have a small vestibule with an ill-fitting screen door at the cottage. After an extended absence we returned to see streams of paper wasps entering and exiting at the base of the screen door. We entered around the side of the house, opened the kitchen door and bombed the vestibule. When it was all said and done I went to clean out the nest and discovered they had eaten straight through the sheet rock! So now we have a quirky decorative accessory in the vestibule. :>)

Also sharing photos of my pipevines.

Josephine, Arlington, TX(Zone 8a)

Amazing what insects can do.
Also beautiful Pipevines there, I hope you will get some caterpillars.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

We've already had caterpillars and usually have lots of swallowtails come June and July. We also have rampant milkweeds for Monarchs and others. Skippers, etc. love the zinnias. Luna moths are on our screen doors in late summer. They and hawk moths like our moonflowers. I felt guilty about bushogging a pasture full of milkweed but the invasives were getting out of hand. Still plenty to keep Monarchs happy.

Fort Worth, TX

I make wasp traps with 2 liter bottles. The recipe to go inside was on Beesource, I think it is sugar, water, vinegar and banana peel. Let sit on the counter a day or 2 before hanging out. put your hook in the cap and drill a 1 inch hole in the vertical side of the bottle. If you want to catch more hang a piece of hot dog on a string from the bottle cap.

Josephine, Arlington, TX(Zone 8a)

Maypop, that is wonderful, I am so jealous, we would love to have all those milkweeds.
They are very difficult to grow in the garden around here.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

A good day for swallowtails at the all you can eat pipevine buffet. So many are munching that it's the sound, not the sight, that caught my attention. All ages and stages and when they grow up they join me in the kitchen garden.

Magnolia, TX(Zone 9a)

This thread is showing the IB not upgrading issues... beautiful cats!

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

It's updating for me....

San Marcos, TX(Zone 8b)

For those of you who would like to know of a safe way to deal with yellowjacket nests without using pesticides I offer this remedy that I have used for years without ever getting stung. I fill a glass container with what I feel is an adequate amount of rubbing alcohol and simply slosh it up on the nest. No buzz; no being chased. They just die immediately and fall to the ground. Just be sure to use enough to cover the whole nest. Doing this during cooler parts of the day gives an added measure of safety since they will be more sluggish.

This message was edited Mar 30, 2017 1:07 PM

Fort Worth, TX

My giant swallowtails are out and about already, all over my chinaberry tree in bloom. It's a BIG tree.

Post a Reply to this Thread

You cannot post until you , sign up and subscribe. to post.
BACK TO TOP