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
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.
"The words of the songue should have three gatekeepers:
Is it true?
Is it kind?
Is it necessary?"
| Tim wrote:
| > I have four dill plants, all about 16" tall. Yesterday, I noticed for
| > 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.
I always plant extra dill. It grows like a weed. ;)
Pretty similar. The ones I see are the Blacks. I see them working the
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)
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.
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>
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.
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.
Just move them gently. :-)
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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