Caterpillars on my Dill

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I have four dill plants, all about 16" tall. Yesterday, I noticed for the first time tiny (1/4" or so) black with a yellow band caterpillars on my Dill.
Should I pick them off? How much damage will they do?
I wouldn't mind have more butterflys, but not at the expense of dill.
Tim
"The words of the songue should have three gatekeepers: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?" -Arab proverb
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Tim wrote:

They're probably black swallow tail butterfly caterpillars. If you want to save your dill move them over to some parsley that is ready to bolt.
George
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| Tim wrote: | > I have four dill plants, all about 16" tall. Yesterday, I noticed for the | > first time tiny (1/4" or so) black with a yellow band caterpillars on my | > Dill. | > | > Should I pick them off? How much damage will they do? | > | > I wouldn't mind have more butterflys, but not at the expense of dill. | > | > Tim | > | > "The words of the songue should have three gatekeepers: | > Is it true? | > Is it kind? | > Is it necessary?" | > -Arab proverb | > | > | They're probably black swallow tail butterfly caterpillars. If you want | to save your dill move them over to some parsley that is ready to bolt. | | George |
I always plant extra dill. It grows like a weed. ;)
Kimberly
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wrote:

George is right. I have them on mine. I plant extra for them.
BTW...if you touch them, they will exude a gawd-awful pungent scent on your fingers.
Charlie
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Or it might be anise swallowtail.
Wait til those caterpillars get bigger--they're really gorgeous. And so are the butterflies--flying flowers.
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On Wed, 20 Jun 2007 08:08:58 -0700, "tuckermor"

Black Swallowtail http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/johnson/hort/Butterfly/BlackSwallowtail.htm
Anise Swallowtail http://bugguide.net/node/view/83572
Pretty similar. The ones I see are the Blacks. I see them working the dill.
Thanks Charlie
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Charlie expounded:

Thanx, Charlie, for the links. I'll check mine out tomorrow, although I think they're the Anise Swallowtails here.
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Ann
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I'm curious. Maybe I'm the only one to have done this. I smell a lot of things, I mean I sniff things.
The Black Swallowtail catepillars, when gently touched, poke out their antennae, or whatever they are called, get all kinds of defensive and leave a smell on your finger that is really .......pungent.
Have you done this, and does the Anise Swallowtail react (and smell) this way?
Care Charlie
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Self-defense against predators. :-) Those antennae things exude a nasty tasting (and smelling) substance.
No, I've never tasted it!
Monarch butterflies are also toxic and will make birds sick if they eat them. It teaches them to avoid brightly colored things.
Toxicity seems to come with bright colors in some animals. The poison arrow treefrog is a perfect example.
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Charlie expounded:

I was wrong. I found smaller ones that look exactly like the younger ones on the Black Swallowtail page. So I can't tell you if they smell or react like the Anise Swallowtail. Sorry!
But I do enjoy them! <G>
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Ann wrote:

It's called an osmeterium, and all swallowtails have one.
get all kinds of defensive and

The reason that they get defensive is because the wasps that want to parasitize them like to lay their eggs on the back of the caterpillar's head, where it can't reach around and pick the parasite egg off. The osmeterium (the orange forked organ) is on the back of the caterpillar's head where it has the best shot of deterring the wasps with its pungent parsley fart. In my experience it's not a very effective way to deter wasps. Unless I find the pillars by the 2nd instar, latest, when they still look like a tiny bit of bird poop, there's almost no chance that a wasp hasn't got to it. I found one in my parsley and put it in a bug box with as much food as it wanted. It's pupating now. Should be out in a week or two. Then, after a photo op, I will release it, of course.

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Hope it hatches for you!
Any chance at controlling the wasps in your area? You can get wasp traps!
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That's probably the same wasp that parasitizes the tomato hornworm. So, I think I'd leave it be. Steve
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Steve Peek wrote:

We have lots of Ichneumon wasps which are the man parasite in this neck of the garden. I don't tend to interfere unless the balance is way out of kilter. Most years things are in balance.

Thanks. It's still pupating. It's one of the brown type EBS chrysalids.

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I get them every year. They're gorgeous!

They'll eat them down to the nubs. They'll resprout leaves after the caterpillars leave (which they will)

You need to grow more dill <G> Seriously, I've got it sprouting all over the place (because I let it set seed), I just pull it from where I don't want it. This way they get all the dill they want, and so do I. I think I counted six out there yesterday.
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If you don't reward beauty, it disappears.
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Thanks all for the knowledge. I definitely think they are the Black Swallow caterpillers (very young). I'll leave them be on three of the plants and see if they'll leave the fourth alone.
Tim
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Just move them gently. :-)
Wear gloves.
See if you can find some parsley plants at the nursery. They do just fine on those. I never have allowed them to stay on the dill weed as I use too much of it, but moving them won't hurt them.
And Like I said, Anise works too.
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Plant some parsley or Anise and move them. They are most likely Tiger Swallowtails.
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I really need to get out more...I totally misread the 'Dill' when I first glanced at this thread...

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