Caterpillar transfer to other dill plant

17 Jun

Hi all,

Alison, Tom, Katie and I moved the 5 caterpillars from the first dill plant to the other one by the shed.  They do need to be watched closely though… when we first got out there one had found a carrot leaf – they also LOVE them and will eat them all.  They love parsley, too – anyone have a parsley plant they are willing to sacrifice or are able to get one so they don’t go for the carrots?  Last year it seemed they really didn’t want cut parsley, only a live plant.  I predict the dill they are on will only keep them busy for a day or 2 at most.  They should be close to chrysallis stage, then they can go into the butterfly house.  Here they are happily eating on their new spot. 

Image

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13 Responses to “Caterpillar transfer to other dill plant”

  1. wearybee June 17, 2012 at 7:56 PM #

    I’m so happy to learn this. I didn’t think to look for them on the other dill plant. I’ll pick up another plant for them at Tuesday’s farmers market. They are voracious.

    I spotted another beaufitul butterly in the gardren this afternoon – orange, with a periwinkle-color edge to the wings (dorsal side) and a fuzzy body. I think it was a Gulf Fritillary: http://www.duke.edu/~jspippen/butterflies/gulffritillary.htm

    Sorry I couldn’t get a photo of it. It was hanging out near the lettuces and all the new flowers.

    – Deb

    • sansley June 19, 2012 at 12:23 AM #

      That’s funny, we used to see these constantly in Tallahassee; a friend even dressed as one for Halloween. There was a migration time down there when they were particularly abundant, but now I can’t remember when it was . . .I’m going to check in with my botanist friend . . .

  2. alternahealthgrrrl June 17, 2012 at 9:53 PM #

    Thanks. Weren’t there six or seven on the other plant? Just wondering if a couple relocated themselves somewhere else…Glad to hear that they move was supervised. Benji and I were surprised to see them in another pot. I’m happy to pick up something for them. Benji is especially interested in them so now I feel invested…Do we think Tuesday is soon enough? -Denise

    • misssha June 18, 2012 at 10:21 AM #

      There were 4 that I saw this morning sleeping on the dill. Seems like there may be enough dill until tomorrow but if someone could check later today that would be great… I did leave a few parsley leaves there just in case they decide to look for other food. They are pretty large caterpillars now so they may eat faster than I think… Thanks all!

      • wearybee June 18, 2012 at 6:32 PM #

        Only four this afternoon, and I think they have enough munchies till tomorrow. Like Denise, I remember counting six or seven on Friday, so I checked all the carrots and parsley for strays, but no sign of them.

      • misssha June 19, 2012 at 12:00 AM #

        I also saw four when I was out earlier… And checked carrots as well but they were still happy on the dill. I did try to get some video, if it turned out I will post it tomorrow:) They will definitely need a new plant tomorrow probably sooner than later…

      • misssha June 19, 2012 at 9:20 AM #

        I found a 5th! It was under a sage leaf molting. I will post a pic if I can from my phone otherwise later tonight. And the other 4 were awake and eating this morning, dill is almost gone, one was already looking for new food…. Definitely need new food soon and to watch the carrots:) hopefully someone is around to do?

      • misssha June 19, 2012 at 11:09 AM #

        Thanks Ansley! I am pretty sure these are the same type we had last year, too. It’s great you added parsley to that pot, then they shouldn’t be wandering around the garden looking for food…

  3. sansley June 19, 2012 at 10:58 AM #

    Done. I added parsley plant to the pot with the almost completely denuded dill (hope that was okay. I found the sign I made for the eastern swallowtail butterfly caterpillars last year and put in the pot, too — looking at the pics, these seem pretty clearly to be the same thing we had last year, either black swallowtail or eastern swallowtail . . . we’ll see.

    I also added two red cabbage plants to the pot that had the first (now totally denuded) dill plant in it — and moved the cabbage white butterfly caterpillars from the butterfly cage to that pot (working on the assumption they’ll stay there as long as there’s food to eat). There are a TON, maybe 10 or more . . . some are buried in the mass of mustard greens and kale leaves I left in the pot as mulch (I hope) . . .mostly because I wasn’t confident I could find all the caterpillars and move them . . . but many are now nice and visible on the purple cabbage leaves. I was going to put the cabbage seedlings in the butterfly cage, but they were too big . . .

    • Deborah Van Wetering June 19, 2012 at 11:22 AM #

      I think we may have lost a few to predators (bird snacks).
      Watch out for those Cabbage Whites. I think they’ll go for that luscious kale, and the walk from where they are now is like going across the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan.

      I’ll be back later with another plant or two for the Swallowtails, NOT for the Cabbage Whites which you know I’d smash in a second if not for all of you.

      • sansley June 24, 2012 at 11:12 PM #

        In your defense, according to Warner’s new butterfly book, the Cabbage White is a relatively recent import to this country; it’s a Eurasian species first observed here in 1860. Some say that it’s notable success in spreading all over down here is at the expense of native species . . .

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Caterpillars are Here! | Concord Village EarthLab - June 22, 2013

    […] and other members of the plant family Apiaceae are host plants for swallowtail butterflies.  Last year we kept buying dill from the farmers’ market to keep our caterpillars in food.  I’m thinking maybe next year we could just plant a bunch of carrots; by the time there […]

  2. Can You Spy the Butterfly? | Concord Village EarthLab - June 6, 2014

    […] firsthand, these and other butterflies like to lay eggs on host plants like our carrot, fennel, and dill so the newly hatched caterpillars have food to eat. (Before they start their transformation into […]

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