Unknown Bug on Parsley

GreenThumb85(6b Illinois)June 29, 2013

I have no idea what bug this is so i was wondering if anyone could help me out!

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nickl(Z7a NJ)

The photo isn't very good but I'd say they look like some kind of ladybug larvae. I'd be inclined to leave them alone unless I could positively identify them as a pest.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 4:49PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

I agree!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 8:59PM
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surya55_gw

I disagree- what if it turns out to be a bug but then hatch and spread all over the "edible" plant? What then? I have parsley and won't have anything growing on it since I eat it quite often.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 10:02PM
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GreenThumb85(6b Illinois)

They seemed like a caterpillar sort of thing. Also, are they good or bad?

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 9:29AM
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nickl(Z7a NJ)

surya55:

We gave up on the "if it flies, it dies" approach many years ago.

Most plants - herbs included - have only a few significant pests. that you have to be most concerned about. I can count on one hand the times I've misidentified an insect as benign that later turned out to be a significantly damaging pest.. Much more often, the mistake was in the other direction.

You have to know your plants and their pests - that's what IPM is all about.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 1:18PM
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Ammaris

That definitely looks like ladybug larvae.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 2:19PM
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sandpapertongue(7a VA)

That's not a ladybug. That's a black swallowtail caterpillar -- a tiny one, probably only a few days old. I just found one on my dill and raised it inside. It loves dill, fennel, and parsley.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 5:08PM
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sandpapertongue(7a VA)

I just raised some ladybugs using an InsectLore kit with my kids. Ladybug larva look like tiny alligators, with an unmistakable tail and 6 distinct legs.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 7:14PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Absolutely an early instar of the Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillar....also called the parsley caterpillar, by the way. Good call, Sandpaper. Anyone growing parsley, dill, or fennel should be able to ID this insect in all stages.

They are fully capable of stripping your plant in a few days as they become larger....and they are usually present in gangs.

The butterflies are very lovely and many people plant parsley just to attract them. The older caterpillars are also beautiful.

Those who have mistaken this for a ladybug larva need to take another look. There is really no resemblance that I can see. But it is still VERY good advice to be certain of the ID before taking any kind of action. There are always very willing people in these forums who are happy to help.

This post was edited by rhizo_1 on Mon, Jul 1, 13 at 5:41

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 5:34AM
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nickl(Z7a NJ)

I stand corrected. It is a first instar of the black swallowtail.

Thank you all for the correction.

Here is a link that might be useful: Featured creature - Eastern Black Swallowtail

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 10:11AM
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zzackey(8b GA)

Sorry!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 3:18AM
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lenahall(7b)

cool, i saw some of these on my plants this week... and as the squash bugs and cuc. beetles have totally kicked my tail, i'm glad there is something not so sinister eating my plants!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 8:22PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Lena, get back to us in a couple of weeks and we'll see if you still feel the same way, lol! Wait til you see how pretty the fully developed caterpillars are.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 4:03PM
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lenahall(7b)

what about this one, i know the gray one in the background is a wheel beetle nymph (i've been following its development for a while)
maybe the small orangeish bug is also a wheel beetle nymph? either way, i'm worried for the little one as these wheel beetles are pretty voracious, carnivorous even!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 4:23PM
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mbhoneybee63(5)

Funny, I just bought over 20 lanky dill plants at my local Kroger just because they had the BST caterpillars on them. I keep them protected in screened large cages until they safely make it through metamorphosis then release them back out into the yard. I have over 30 that will emerge into beautiful Black swallowtails over the next 10 days or so. You will find these same caterpillars on parsley, just as you have and also on fennel.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 4:48PM
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terrene(5b MA)

I just picked up a couple of 6-packs of parsley and a little pot of fennel at a local farm (they do not spray their plants), along with 10 Black Swallowtail eggs to raise inside! They have all hatched and are munching on the fennel plant inside an aquarium tank.

With 12 parsley plants out in the garden there should be more than enough for both the caterpillars and for some tabouli. I also grow Rue, Dill, and Fennel which are Black Swallowtail host plants.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 12:55AM
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