Swallowtail caterpillars

A couple weeks ago, I noticed some little black caterpillars on my dill. I didn’t see any damage yet, and I had a hunch as to what they were, so I let them be. Sure enough, they’ve grown into what are clearly swallowtail caterpillars. They look pretty similar to monarch caterpillars, if you have any experience with those, but instead of milkweed, swallowtails are attracted to plants in the carrot family, like Queen Anne’s Lace, fennel, and dill. I’d have much preferred that they’d picked the Queen Anne’s Lace, but it’s fun to watch caterpillars grow up (we used to ‘raise’ monarch caterpillars sometimes when we were younger), and I like swallowtail butterflies.

Of course, since they’re growing so much, they’ve ravaged much of my dill, which I’m not too excited about, but I did pick some to dry when I noticed they were on the plants. I’ll probably replant a few and see if I get anything else before winter. I’m chalking this one up to an attempt to coexist with nature, and not fight it. And maybe one of the butterflies will stop by and visit next year. With rainbows. And unicorns.

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