Black Swallowtail Caterpillars and The Sacrificial Parsley

Pest control in the garden is a tough job. How do you find the balance between killing garden pests and letting beneficial insects eat the plants they desperately need for survival. Today I thought I would share with you my story of the sacrificial parsley and Black Swallowtail Caterpillars who call it home!

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Black Swallowtail Caterpillars and the Sacrificial Parsley Plant

I came back from vacation to discover that my parsley has been taken over by these little critters. Kind of cute, huh? Anyhow, further research has revealed that this is the Black Swallowtail Caterpillar and it REALLY likes parsley!

In fact, loads of caterpillars enjoy parsley and it is incredibly easy to grow. You could help them out by planting an extra pot full next spring!

Black Swallowtail Caterpillars and The Sacrificial Parsley

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Black Swallowtail Caterpillars and The Sacrificial Parsley

I decided to sacrifice the rest of the parsley plant and let them stay there because they turn into the really beautiful Black Swallowtail Butterfly seen below. Yes, caterpillars turn into butterflies. We knew this, right?

While it is tempting to kill the caterpillars that eat your crop, if you did that, you would have no butterflies at the end of the summer!

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Black Swallowtail Caterpillars and The Sacrificial ParsleyI feel slightly prejudiced for killing all those rose slugs back in May. They turn into icky wasp type critters! But I’m going to let these kids live because they turn into pretty butterflies.

See, being pretty gets you far in life…at least if you are a bug! Want more of these beautiful butterflies in your garden next year? Plant a butterfly garden or leave a butterfly watering station in your yard. Do you have any Black Swallowtail Caterpillars in the garden this month?

7 thoughts on “Black Swallowtail Caterpillars and The Sacrificial Parsley”

  1. I have these in my parsley and over the last day or two it has dwindled from 7 to 2, I’m wondering where did they go, at what stage today decide to chrysalis, where would they go to chrysalis, and anything else I could learn about it. I was considering putting one in a glass jar with some Burlap but I don’t want to kill it. It is sept 14 in zone 7. How long before they become butterflies?


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