i have some zebra-striped catepillars who are all over my parsley -- like a
whole family just appeared one day and began camping out. they are eating
the be-geesis out of the parsley, too. are they likely to move on to other
plants? should i be concerned? should i pluck 'em off and git rid of 'em?
thanks for any help.
Stephen Snow, MA, National Certified Counselor
Larva of black swallowtail butterflies most likely. Parsley can take
quite a lot of damage and will come back, but if you object to them,
the easiest way is to just pick them off and squash them. The will
also eat parsley relatives, dill, anise, fennel, Queen Anne's Lace,
and the like. If you don't have the right food, they will not be
there. Their relatives, the giant swallowtail (yellow where the other
one is black) munch on my citrus. Usually the mockingbirds and the
wasps get them before they grow more than 1/2 in. long.
Yup. I grow dill just for them. This year they must have laid dozens of eggs
on my dill and there wasn't enough. Some I moved over to my Queen Ann's lace,
but I was surprised that a few moved on over to the cilantro I had near by and
seemed happy munching it. I never knew they liked cilantro. Next year I will
have to remember to sow the dill every couple of weeks so there will be plenty
of them for the caterpillars.
Augh! No! Wait Please! Don't hurt em! They're beautiful butterflies...try
floating row covers if you want your parsley! These little caterpillars are
about to give you a greater gift than fresh breath and a garnish for your
"Where love stops, power
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