Parsley worms...

mjc_molie(z6 CT)June 25, 2014

Okay, not really worms....I know they're caterpillars of some sort. I'm not a vegetable gardener and so these are new to me, but I'm sure that someone on the NE Forum will recognize them.

I found these two on parsley that I went to pick for tonight's dinner. This parsley grows in a pot on my deck. And right above the parsley is a birdhouse, occupied by a pair of house wrens with hungry babies that they're feeding. Maybe the wrens don't like these?

Thanks for any information,
Molie

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corunum z6 CT(6)

Ackkk...I hope they live. They look like Eastern Black Swallowtails to me. (butterflies) Click below Molie and see what you think.

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: Black Swallowtail

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 6:48PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I think Jane got it - I just found an old thread on the Herbs Forum about one person's dilemma: Parsley - anyone else have this problem?

Claire

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 7:25PM
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bernergrrl(z5 IL)

Definitely Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillars--beautiful butterfly!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 7:33PM
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theforgottenone1013(MI zone 5b/6a)

Agree with the others. They are parsley worms aka Black Swallowtail caterpillars (either term is accurate). They will feed on any plant in the carrot family. They don't usually do much damage. I love seeing them on my fennel because I know that they will turn into beautiful butterflies.

Rodney, who doesn't live in New England but saw this post on the side of the web page under "Most Recent Posts" and couldn't resist.

This post was edited by theforgottenone1013 on Wed, Jun 25, 14 at 19:36

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 7:34PM
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mjc_molie(z6 CT)

Thanks, all, including Rodney-who-doesn't-live-in-NE, for your quick responses!

I took the parsley springs that I had cut off and put them on a dill plant that's growing along the side of our deck stairs. It's fairly isolated there and perhaps they'd get more shelter than on that tiny parsley plant on my deck. I followed all the links and so now realize that they are not tasty to birds.... no fear of the wrens. I'll keep an eye out to see if they each form a chrysalis.

Molie

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 8:05PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

And if they do nearby, then photograph them. Okay, so you now have a morning job...check the parsley worms.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 8:29PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

Nice photos! DH loves these since when startled they shoot up little orange protrusions from near one end. We seem to have a few every year, both the butterflies and the caterpillars.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 8:55PM
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mjc_molie(z6 CT)

Right on it, Jane! Checked on the girls this morning.

Here they are....Thelma, still huddled at the bottom of the frame on the parsley sprig, while Louise explores their new home.

and Louise, up close.

Nhbabs, I couldn't get a shot of her little orange protrusions, even though I tried gently blowing on her. Still, Louise is darn cute!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 10:18AM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Atta Girl, Molie! Thelma and Louise are on the road to winging away.

Here's a site below that shows the stages they go through. When I raised Monarchs, holy cow, nearly every morning I searched for milkweed leaves then after a month, there were darkened chrysalises every morning which meant somebody was getting their wings within a few hours. It was a job, but they all made it.

Not a Black Swallowtail, but a newly hatched Monarch on a silk flower with his chrysalis underneath him. (He was named Moses) Well worth the care to watch this magical event. So glad you planted parsley. I plant it in with geraniums. It works. Looking forward to more pictures of T&L.
Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: pbase.com

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 11:08AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

When I worked at the organic farm up the street awhile back, when we harvested parsley for market (by hand) we would always look out for these guys and cut around them. Plenty of parsley for everyone!

I do the same in my home garden. I grow enough parsley for all of us. :)

Dee

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 5:35PM
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siennact

I had a bunch on my dill but as soon as I got attached, they disappeared! I don't see any chrysalises. Your pics are great! They are such good subjects, nice and still.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 9:48PM
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mjc_molie(z6 CT)

Update: Drats, Louise is gone! I searched everywhere around and on the large dill plant but just Thelma is there... still nibbling. I fear a bird may have found Louise and dined.

I guess sinnact's fate was also mine... getting too attached to these little critters. However, I have seen a female E.B. Swallowtail flitting around the yard so maybe that one also deposited some eggs.

Molie

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 10:00AM
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sandysoil_2008(6 MA)

I had about a dozen on my dill and I was so excited. Yesterday morning, I noticed a bird land on a tomato cage and was checking out the dill plants. I ran over, the bird flew away and I found that all of the caterpillars except for two were gone. I made a net house with a hoop structure and a mosquito screen panel from the gazebo. I'm hoping these survivors make it to being butterflys. Next year I'll definitely be quicker to protect them.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 11:31AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I planted more parsley this year, especially for butterflies but we suddenly have an influx of birds and they are all over the vegetable garden. I guess that's not going to work, unless I build it a little cage too.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 7:58PM
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mjc_molie(z6 CT)

Thanks, Sandysoil and PM2, for the cage tips because both of mine are gone. We feed the birds and have so many in our yard that I fear Thelma and Louise became dinner.

Sandysoil... could you post a photo of the cage you created? Definitely I'll do the same next time I find them in my gardens.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 6:28PM
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sandysoil_2008(6 MA)

mjc, I used a plant support cage with some netting over it. A tomato cage would probably work well too.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 11:34AM
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mjc_molie(z6 CT)

Thanks, sandysoil, for the tips/pics. We will definitely have to get on this.
Molie

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 3:12PM
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