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Relocating butterfly "kids"

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Relocating butterfly "kids"

Post  Retired Member 1 on 6/13/2010, 1:08 pm

I always plant two patches of dill -- one in the ornamental garden for swallowtail butterfy caterpillars to feast on and one in the herb garden for me. This year the swallowtails decided to devour the patch in the herb garden while leaving the ornamental garden alone. That was OK with me -- just so I had some dill. However, today while harvesting the basil that is growing next to the dill in the herb garden, I accidentally harvested 7 butterfly cocoons. They are still attached to the basil leaves. Can I just lay the leaves down on the soil, or do I need to pin them to something to keep them hanging? I'd hate for the buterflies-in-training to die.

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Re: Relocating butterfly "kids"

Post  Megan on 6/13/2010, 1:33 pm

A quick Google on "what do swallowtail caterpillars eat?" got me this.
http://www.biokids.umich.edu/critters/Papilionidae/
http://melanys.tripod.com/caterpillars.htm

It implies that the caterpillars eat plants in the carrot family, thus the dill, I guess. If you don't find any better info, I would try to pin them to your dill (parsley, fennel, carrots?) so they have something to eat once they hatch... and try to touch them as little as possible.

I will have to start looking for caterpillars myself, I just got some dill yesterday. Yay!

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Re: Relocating butterfly "kids"

Post  camprn on 6/13/2010, 2:45 pm

Might want to plant more dill too. Wink


I really have to plant mine! I am getting seriously behind. Embarassed


Last edited by camprn on 6/13/2010, 3:07 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Relocating butterfly "kids"

Post  Megan on 6/13/2010, 3:02 pm

I hadn't been planning on dill until I got my Ball blue book, I didn't realize the recipes called for dill heads!

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Re: Relocating butterfly "kids"

Post  nancy on 6/13/2010, 8:31 pm

belfrybat - are they eggs or chrysalises? If they are eggs, they can just be placed next to the stems and they will crawl up once they hatch. If they are chrysalises (which would be VERY COOL!!), then I would pin them up, or try tying the basil to a twig & suspend the chrysalises in a jar with a lid (with air holes). Eclosing or emerging is something I wish everyone could see at least once. Enjoy!! I haven't seen any swallowtails yet and I planted dill & fennel for them.

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Re: Relocating butterfly "kids"

Post  Retired Member 1 on 6/14/2010, 8:41 am

Thanks for the responses. These are chrysalises -- cocoons. The dill is only food for the caterpillars, not the emerging butterflies as they fly away as soon as they emerge. I decided since they had attached themselves to the basil, I would just pin the leaf back on the basil plants close to where they attached. I always plant dill for the swallowtails and one patch for me. Ditto for parsley, also a host plant, but this year they left the parsley alone.

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Re: Relocating butterfly "kids"

Post  Retired Member 1 on 6/14/2010, 8:44 am

@Megan wrote:A quick Google on "what do swallowtail caterpillars eat?" got me this.
http://www.biokids.umich.edu/critters/Papilionidae/
http://melanys.tripod.com/caterpillars.htm

It implies that the caterpillars eat plants in the carrot family, thus the dill, I guess. If you don't find any better info, I would try to pin them to your dill (parsley, fennel, carrots?) so they have something to eat once they hatch... and try to touch them as little as possible.

I will have to start looking for caterpillars myself, I just got some dill yesterday. Yay!

Yes, I know what they eat which is why I always plant a patch of dill and parsley for them. When they hatch, they no longer eat plants -- they suck nectar, so attaching them back on the dill wouldn't do any good. I ended up pinning the leaves they were attached to back on the basil close to where they were in the first place. A lot of trouble for 7 butterflies, but I do so love them.

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Re: Relocating butterfly "kids"

Post  nancy on 6/14/2010, 9:41 am

Yea! You'll have to let us know when they emerge. I think swallowtails take about 14 days (not 100% sure about that). Best wishes with the new butterflies!

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Re: Relocating butterfly "kids"

Post  Megan on 7/25/2010, 11:18 am

I just saw a beautiful eastern tiger swallowtail in my SFG. She was too quick for me to snap a picture, though... she sat there showing off, and by the time I got out my phone and brought up the camera, she was looping around the trellises. Just lovely!

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Re: Relocating butterfly "kids"

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