September 28, 2012
Please Don't Squash the Catapillars!
I found these beautiful Black Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars on my Bronze Fennel this week. I have really enjoyed this herb all summer and this was the icing on the cake. It brought back a very painful memory for me though, Many years ago, I lived out in the country and was happily watching over a patch of bright orange butterfly weed (Milk Weed). You know, I should have gotten a clue from the name - BUTTERFLY WEED! Duh! Anyway, on that particular day I went to visit my patch of butterfly weed that was in full bloom. The plants were covered with these awful green, orange and black caterpillars! Not only that but they were destroying my pretty flowers! Well, I began picking them off and squashing them flat. No telling how many I killed. It makes me so sad now to even think about it. I found out later that they were Monarch butterflies. I still wonder if I am responsible for the decline in this beautiful insect.
So plant plenty of fennel, parsley, butterfly weed, butterfly bushes and other host plants and don't squash the caterpillars!
Remember too, that Sevin Dust kills all the good bugs as well as the bad! I figure that I don't have a single plant that will not recover from a bug attack and I want to have the honey bees and butterflies around for a long time.