Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Garden Visitors

I was weeding my garden because that is all I do these days and I found thirty plus of these dill munching caterpillars. At first I called the children to come look, then I started picking them off because who wants to have crops mown to the ground. I felt like I had seen the species, but couldn't identify it. Then, my son decided he wanted them to see what the transformation would bring.

As can happen with so many things, we found a teaching moment. We went to one of my favorite buggy sites. The caterpillar in my dill is none other than a black swallowtail butterfly. Another site said "Really, they don't eat that much." So we left about half of them in the dill. I have a lot of dill so don't mind sharing with something so beautiful and Pink Panther captured the other half, harvested some dill, put them in a screened bee box, and took them inside.

About a quarter of what he captured escaped and are wandering around the house and the other quarter have already started making chrysalises. I haven't checked the progress of the ones in the garden because it is finally raining!!!!! Raining!!! Raining!!! We have been so dry that any spritzing is as welcome as a porch swing which is where you will be able to find me.


ZBTzahBTzoo said...

Rain!!! Good for you!

I'm fighting the impulse to dig up a plot & plant some dill. (Does dill, specifically, attract this species? If so, I might stop fighting the impulse.)

I drove my mother nuts when the elder two were young, dragging caterpillars & milkweed stalks into the summer cottage. Mom thought once I was an adult all of my messy little science projects would be behind her :-) Anyway, one caterpillar escaped and made its chrysalis on one of the drapery pleats. We were able to take the rest of them home when vacation was over. My brother was kind enough to free the butterfly that emerged from the drapes, and the first thing I did the following summer was pick the chrysalis off, thereby proving to my mother that I have, after all, learned to clean up after myself :-)

Have fun with this one, Wisteria. Your kids are lucky to have a mom who latches onto life's teachable moments, even after school's out!

Angela, MotherCrone said...

I suspect he is trying to give the term "butterfly house" a whole new meaning? ;) That is very exciting, and I would have shared my dill as well! It is so exciting when the kids get into nature like that. Enjoy the rain!

wisteria said...

According to What's That Bug, the black swallowtail eats both parsley and dill, yet I didn't see any on the parsley. I am so thrilled by the possibility of having a yard full of butterflies that I will plant more dill next year, a lot more.

Kate in NJ said...

Gorgeous! Enjoy the rain(or free water as we call it here)we're supposed to get some next and I could
use a good excuse to stop weeding!