They are beautiful caterpillars.
I have a very small herb garden. The first year I let the black
swallowtail caterpillars be and they ate my dill to a nub in no time.
The dill never recovered, as it gets VERY hot here in the summer. So,
the 2nd year I resorted to dusting the plants with BT :( BT is a
bacterium which is toxic to caterpillars, but not to people, so it's
safe for herbs.
The often-hated scrub jays keep mine non-existent. Love those birds.
They find a nest and it disappears.
One day when taking in groceries, I noticed a scrub jay was flying up to
the overhang then going back to the fence, sitting there for a minute or
so, then back up. I just watched until he was done and went over to see
what he was eating. There were fragments of paper-wasp nests all over the
ground! After that, whenever I have uncovered a wasp nest, I exit,
leaving it exposed; the next day all traces of it are gone. That applied
even to the one I exposed and was going to videotape the next morning
while it was cool before the wasps were active; oh, well, no videotape but
no wasps either!
I rarely have any wasps around while others in the area are plagued with
them. Most folks dislike the scrub jays but, just for the wasp control
alone, I love them!
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