Sunday, September 21, 2014

Black Swallowtail Caterpillars (2014)

This year's crop of Black Swallowtail Caterpillars is shaping up to be a nice one. I have at least 15 caterpillars all coming of age to form their chrysalises. The had ignored my yard all year until a month ago, despite having 8 full clumps of parsley and a patch of Golden Alexander going strong. And it all seems to be thanks to one female flying through the yard one day.

I'm going to leave these outside in a sheltered cage for the winter. Hopefully I'll have better luck than I did two years ago when I raised them in a cold basement room. They started emerging in February and in batches every two weeks after that. I doubt they'd like to fly when there's snow on the ground.

I have read that butterflies like Gatorade and will drink it in place of nectar or rotting fruit, however I was never able to get it to work. Captive butterflies just don't seem interested in feeding, though I'm sure I was doing something wrong.