Before the Butterfly

We find a lot of these little swallowtail butterfly caterpillars in our gardens. They can make a pretty good dent in the foliage of the plant they feed on, but I’ve found they usually choose plants that grow quickly, so they don’t bother me at all. If I find them on a slow-growing plant (like one of my potted citrus trees), I usually use a leaf to move them to another plant. Some caterpillars sting (yes, it’s happened to me!), but I prefer not to touch even the harmless ones.

These two were in a large pot with several plants, but the flat-leaf parsley was their favorite.

Since we share our garden with the hungry caterpillars, we are rewarded with many butterflies and moths. Below is a swallowtail butterfly that Tice and I watched dancing around the red pintas from the front porch last summer.

It will be fun to teach him with all the wonderful lessons nature provides in our yard. Last year I tried not to let him see too many of the caterpillars because I was afraid he would squish them. I think this year he will be a little more understanding. Hopefully.

What do you do with the caterpillars in your garden?


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One Response to Before the Butterfly

  1. LaRena says:

    It’s best not to touch them. (Maybe you already know this.) They have sickly-sweet, stinky little antennae-type things that they poke out when they feel threatened. If they touch you with it, the smell is almost impossible to wash off. You can gently touch one on the back WITH A STICK to show Tice…

    I love your blog!

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